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Martin Garren Jr. 1925 — 2011 | Passages

WWII and Korean War pilot Marty Garren, Jr., an adopted islander, died Nov. 22, at age 86. A memorial service was held at his home in Eugene, Ore., Dec 1.  - Contributed photo
WWII and Korean War pilot Marty Garren, Jr., an adopted islander, died Nov. 22, at age 86. A memorial service was held at his home in Eugene, Ore., Dec 1.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Martin Garren Jr. died peacefully of age-related causes Nov. 22, 2011 at his home in The Tate Condominium, Eugene, Ore.

He was 86.

Marty was born in New York City April 9, 1925 to Martin Garren and Lucille Brown Garren.

Upon graduation from White Plains High School, White Plains, N.Y. in 1942, he fulfilled his boyhood dream of becoming a pilot, serving as 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was assigned to B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 8th Air Force in England and was the youngest pilot to complete 35 missions against the German Luftwaffe.

Marty flew the first mission of D-Day, and was most proud of dropping food, ammunition and medical supplies to the French resistance fighters, who were on a two-mile long plateau surrounded by the enemy.

In June 2001, while attending nine memorial services over a three-day weekend in the Vercors section of southern France near Grenoble, Marty was thrilled to finally meet the middle-aged men who, in their teens, lit the three bonfires and excitedly waved their hands to guide the planes. His wife Mona Meeker, whom he married in 1985, remembers Marty, as he walked through the receiving line after the first memorial service, saying with his ever-present sense of humor, “I recognize your faces from years ago.”

His unit was awarded the Presidential Citation on two occasions. For valor, he personally was awarded five Air Medals and The Distinguished Flying Cross. He also served during the Korean War, achieving the rank of captain.

He was sales manager for E. Robison Inc., Hartsdale, N.Y., and retired in 1983 from American Title Insurance Company as assistant vice-president, northeastern sales manager.

Marty, with his wife Mona, moved to Friday Harbor, Wash. in 1992 and, after being there for a short time, claimed to be the happiest man on the island. He was a member of the San Juan Pilots Association and an enthusiastic volunteer for the Friday Harbor Chamber of Commerce and the San Juan Historical Museum.

An avid boater and member of the San Juan Island Yacht Club, he published a 15-page booklet, Pocket Cruise Planner for the Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands and Puget Sound, and a boating guide DVD San Juans Navigator; A Pleasure Boater’s Guide to the San Juan Islands of Washington State before moving to Eugene in 2008.

Marty is survived by his wife, Mona Meeker of Eugene, Ore.; a son and daughter-in-law, Bruce Garren and Katherine Garren of Newport Coast, Calif. and Damariscotta, Maine; daughters and sons-in-law, Susan Schweigard and Stephen Schweigard of Wiscassett, Maine; Janet Morecraft and Dana Morecraft of Madison, Ind.; a stepdaughter and stepson-in-law, Melanie Meeker and Maurice Simard of Kingston, Mass.; stepsons and stepdaughters-in-law, Jeffrey Meeker and Linda Meeker of Longmont, Colo., Christopher Meeker and Erika Leaf, Tim James and Faith James of Eugene, Ore.; grandchildren Kristen Gilbank, Melissa Jones, David Walker, Jessica Garren, Timothy Powers; step-grandchildren Rebecca LeafMeeker, Jessica LeafMeeker, Benjamin LeafMeeker, Raja James, and many nieces and nephews. An earlier marriage to Lois Kutcher ended in divorce in 1978.

Parts of this obituary were excerpted from one that Marty wrote in July 2010, which he ended by saying, “Following the above service I would like to have friends call at a place to be selected and served a round of champagne! Thank you. You know how much I have loved you all.”

On Dec. 1, 2011, a gathering to honor Marty was held in The Tate common room followed by champagne (at his request) and assorted chocolates (because he loved chocolate so much) at his and Mona’s home.

— Family of Marty Garren, Jr.

 

 

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