October 11, 1937 – November 16, 2017
Herculano Martinez, 80, left this world in the early morning hours of Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. The longtime Warden resident was surrounded by his family as he began the next phase of his life in God’s good care.
Herculano was born Oct. 11, 1937, in Corpus Christi, Texas. He remained in school as long as he could before necessity forced him into the fields at age 9 to earn a working man’s wage to help support his family. The family traveled the country as migrant workers, following the various harvest seasons across the country.
The family ultimately settled in Eastern Washington in the mid-1950s, because, as Herculano put it, “It was where we were treated best.”
Herculano was not an easy name for Anglos to pronounce or remember, so he went by Carlos. To family and friends, he was often referred to as Flaco, which means skinny.
He married Dolores Hernandez in 1961. They have made Warden their home for the past 56 years, raising six children: Benjamin, Jose, Marina, Martha, Deanna and Marco.
Herculano worked for a number of Warden-area farmers over the years doing a variety of duties, including driving truck. He also worked for Columbia Producers in Warden and Full Circle/CENEX in Bruce.
In 1983, he became his own boss when he bought his own truck with the help of his brother Damian. He hauled mostly potatoes alongside his brothers Damian and Pedro and brother-in-law Jose Elizalde.
His sons Jose and Benjamin joined him in the business in 1984 and 1989 respectively. Together they expanded H. Martinez & Sons to 13 trucks at its largest, hauling mostly potatoes, onions and wheat over the years.
He semi-retired from the business in 2002, but routinely contributed to the business by picking up parts, fueling trucks, relieving drivers and taking lunch to his boys.
Herculano was bi-cultural. While he enjoyed the movies of Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema, he equally liked watching the movies of John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Humphrey Bogart and the like. The same held true for his music, with his tastes ranging from Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, Javier Solis, Los Panchos and Vicente Fernandez to Sam Cooke, Neil Diamond and Ricky Nelson.
He taught himself to play guitar and accordion. When his family was young, he regularly played and sang songs for his children, doing his own renditions of his favorite songs. At family parties, he often played the guitar and accordion, jamming with other family members and friends.
He was an avid fisherman, dropping a line in the water from shore for most of his adult life, fishing the Potholes Reservoir. He would often take his six kids to the lake to fish while Mom stayed home to get some peace and quiet. About 20 years ago, he bought a small boat and explored more of the Potholes fishing area.
Later in life, he lovingly accepted the role of grandfather and great-grandfather. He excelled at it, developing special relationships with each of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Herculano enjoyed walking and having lunch daily at his sister Benita’s home. He also enjoyed watching boxing title fights on TV at his brother Damian’s home.
The spring, summer and fall months found him outside most of the day, spending time in his vegetable and flower gardens and mowing and watering his lawn.
Much to the chagrin of his family, Herculano was a Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders fan. Ultimately, he became a Seahawks fan like the rest of his family. Thankfully, he shared in the family’s joy and pain of being Seattle Mariners fans, watching most games on TV.
Herculano became strong in his faith in God later in life. He attended Mass weekly at Queen of All Saints Church in Warden. He loved the faith community at his church. He also read the Bible devoutly and prayed regularly.
His family’s great sorrow is eased slightly with the knowledge that Herculano has joined his heavenly Father.
Herculano was preceded in death by his parents Francisca and Anselmo Martinez, his Tia Santa, his brother Pedro Martinez and his sister Maria Gonzales.
Survivors include his wife Dolores; his children Benjamin, Jose, Marina, Martha, Deanna and Marco; his grandchildren Benjamin, Rebecca, Roman, Neil, Andréa, Raquel, Gabriela, Zulem, Thomas and Ashley; great-grandchildren Seth and Theo; sister Benita and brothers Damian and Mario.
Visitation is planned for Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 3 to 7 p.m., at Kayser’s Chapel of Memories, and 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22 at Queen of All Saints Church in Warden. The rosary will be prayed at 10 a.m., with a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. at the church. Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens. A reception and meal will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the Warden school cafeteria. Sign online guestbook at www.kayserschapel.com.
The family extends its gratitude to Herculano’s extended family and friends who visited him in his last days and gave him support.