Larry D. Martin was the uncle of Curt Bright.
Larry D. Martin, 69, Lawrence, KS, died 9 March, 2013, Rochester, MN. He was born 8 Dec., 1943 in Bartlett, NE, the son of Orval and Nellie (Frye) Martin. Larry attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln where he earned his B.S. and Master’s degrees. He earned his PhD from the University of Kansas and was Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the KU Natural History Museum and KU Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Larry’s eclectic interests and adventuresome spirit set the stage for a life filled with collaborations in paleontology, as well as science fiction, linguistics, astrophysics, anthropology, and art, which included work with the dead language Linear A, solar mechanics, and science fiction as a source of scientific discovery.
As a child, he loved to collect natural objects and antiques, an avocation he continued throughout his life, resulting in a home reminiscent of the historical cabinets of curiosity. Larry was an excellent student, entering NU as a State Merit Scholar. As a young adult, he played high school football, was a college wrestler, and worked as a cowboy on a cattle ranch in NE. Paleontology moved him from the cattle ranch into the field, collecting fossils and conducting research. Eventually, his interests shifted from extinct mammals to avian paleontology, which in an ironic twist, led him to dinosaurs. This marked the beginning of his world travels, which he had dreamed of as a small boy as he listened to missionaries’ stories. He spent his last decades fulfilling a lifelong curiosity about people and places through his research travels to Europe, South America, and Asia.
He often spoke of the importance of strong mentors and how they contributed to his later successes. For example, after learning that the young Larry had read everything in the town library (encyclopedias and dictionaries included), a local attorney made sure that he had plenty of reading material by sharing the journals to which he subscribed. One of Larry’s favorite memories was of his dear friend Dr. Bertrand Schultz, Director of the NU State Museum, personally driving him to KU to get him settled in his PhD program. Being a mentor himself was a priority for Larry, and he took great pride in his students’ and family’s accomplishments.
He married Jean A. Bright in 1967, and they shared over 46 years of marriage. She survives of the home. Other survivors include two daughters, Amanda Martin Hamon and husband Troy Hamon, Lecompton, KS and Mary Martin Almsberger and husband Troy Almsberger, Olathe, KS; two sisters, Verna May Baldwin and Wanda Diesner, and husband Mike Diesner, all of Arizona and one brother Kenneth Martin, and wife Lillian Martin, of Nebraska; four grandchildren, Tory and Teagan Hamon, Jade and Kira Almsberger; and his two pugs Brutus and Fiona.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Betty Nell Moody and Gloria Pibel; and his pugs Pugsy and Munchkin.
Memorial gathering will be from 6:30-9 pm with a short program at 7 pm on Friday, 24 May at the University of KS Union Ballroom. In lieu of flowers, a memorial scholarship fund is being established in Larry’s name.
Please sign this guestbook at Obituaries.LJWorld.com.
Published in Lawrence Journal-World on May 22, 2013