I have been devastated by dear Martin’s seemingly sudden death, when i was beginning to believe that he would actually survive me. His love of life, extraordinary physical stamina and life-force that enabled him to even survive the accident that would have killed most of us (any of us?). His great sense of humor, sometimes quite dry, that helped him survive in a world that does not necessarily treat those of us w/disabilities w/kindness. I had recently sent him a belated birthday card, (he was born on March 28-an early Aries) w/a picture of a handsome hunk on the front, but kept calling him when I had not heard back from my emails and phone calls, and his ex-wife, Nancy, answered w/the sad news. Let us also support her in what must also be a very difficult time for her, they were best friends. He was certainly one of my very best friends ever. I will continue to play music for you, Martin, Love, forever
Joe Balestreri writes:
In honor of Martin Jones who died last week while enjoying the sun at Johnson’s Beach in Monte Rio on the Russian River. Martin surprised us all when he got on stage for a “no-talent” show many years back and performed this dry but very funny British monologue – “Albert and the Lion”. Martin was able to speak in the exact dialect of this piece because it was his own childhood brogue. I wish I had footage of Martin doing this, he came out in a matching tweed coat and knickers with a tweet cap and an old walking stick. His performance got a standing ovation. I’ve included the words in print below for those who struggle to understand the video. Albert and the Lion was written by the Scottish wordsmith Marriott Edgar and performed to great acclaim in the 1930s by the comedian, singer and actor Stanley Holloway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Putw3by4-e8
There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool
That’s noted for fresh air and fun
And Mr. and Mrs. Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son
A fine little lad were young Albert
All dressed in his best, quite a swell
He’d a stick with an ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle;
The finest that Woolworth’s could sell
They didn’t think much to the ocean
The waves they were piddlin’ and small
There were no wrecks and nobody drownded
‘Fact, nothin’ to laugh at at all!
So, seeking for further amusement
They paid, and went into the zoo
Where they’d lions and tigers and camels
And cold ale and sandwiches, too
There were one great big lion called Wallace
Whose nose was all covered with scars;
He lay in a som-no-lent posture
With the side of ‘is face on the bars
Now Albert ‘ad ‘eard about lions-
‘Ow they was ferocious and wild;
To see lion lyin’ so peaceful
Just didn’t seem right to the child
So straightway the brave little feller
Not showin’ a morsel of fear
Took ‘is stick with the ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle
And stuck it in Wallace’s ear
You could see that the lion din’t like it
For givin’ a kind of a roll
‘E pulled Albert inside the cage with ‘im
And swallered the little lad – ‘ole!
Now Mother ‘ad seen this occurrence
And not knowin’ what to do next
She ‘ollered “Yon lion’s et Albert!”
An’ Father said “Ee, I am vexed.”
They complained to an animal keeper
Who said “My, wot a nasty mis’ap;
Are you sure it’s your boy ‘e’s eaten?”
Pa said, “Am I sure? There’s ‘is cap!”
The manager ‘ad to be sent for;
‘E came and ‘e said “Wot’s to-do?”
Ma said “Yon lion’s et Albert
And ‘im in ‘is Sunday clothes, too!”
Father said “Right’s right, young feller-
I think it’s a shame and a sin
To ‘ave our son et by a lion
And after we paid to come in.”
The manager wanted no trouble;
He took out his purse right away
Sayin’ “‘Ow much to settle the matter?”
Pa said “Wot do you usually pay?”
But Mother ‘ad turned a bit awkward
When she saw where ‘er Albert ‘ad gone
She said “No, someone’s got to be summonsed!”
So that was decided upon
And off they all went to p’lice station
In front of a Magistrate chap;
They told what ‘ad ‘appened to Albert
And proved it by showing ‘is cap
The Magistrate gave ‘is opinion
That no one was really to blame
And ‘e said that ‘e ‘oped the Ramsbottoms
Would ‘ave further sons to their name
At that Mother got proper blazin’:
“And thank you, sir, kindly,” said she-
“Wot, spend all our lives raisin’ children
To feed ruddy lions? Not me!”
I am so sorry to hear that Martin has died. I had lost touch with him in recent years, since we moved away, but I have so many fond memories: hanging out with him at numerous gatherings, working with him on the design of his house, evenings shared at Positive Images, Boxing Day Sonomen potlucks at his home, helping him build our deck in Valley Ford, so many dinners together with Billy friends, and finally, renting his little apartment for a month after we sold our house and before we moved away. He was a good man, and I know he loved the Billys. I will miss him.
Rosario Fernandes writes:
I’m feeling very sorry to read about the passing of dear Martin.
I too have numerous fond memories of Martin from many Billy gatherings and visiting him at his home on the Russian River.
He was so vibrant and full of life and energy, running and biking. The motorcycle accident was shocking. I lost many nights sleep worrying about this after his accident, especially as his balance was so poor and he his blood pressure dropped etc. It’s been a decade or more since I saw him, and lost touch after I moved to Vancouver. I’m glad to see he marched in SR Parade and had a recumbent trike.
Happy Trails Martin. See you at the end of the Rainbow Bridge. Xoxo. Rosario
Dave Brown writes:
My first memory of Martin was meeting him at my first heart circle ever (at Camp and Sons), which was also my first Billy gathering, during Labor Day 1999— My lover Jerry had just died in May 1999 & I remember Martin was very supportive. I just recently gave Martin a hug on June 2, 2018 (19 years later) at Santa Rosa gay Pride the other day and he had such a nice smile on his face. I will miss him.
Joe Balestreri writes:
The pictures of Martin building an arbor near Sebastopol at Dan’s and Jack’s were taken about 2006. He had been a jeweler in the Sonoma area if I remember right. When I first got to know him well he was doing some amazing wood working. We spent a lot of time together- Martin and I with Dan and Jack. Martin was doing the fancy wood work inside and out and I was doing the revitalization of the garden. We would have long lunches. Dan would usually go to Koslawski’s to get lunch for all of us. We enjoyed each other’s company and talked of the work we were doing or politics or who was dating, etc
Bruce MacDonald writes:
Very sad indeed. I will always treasure my memories of Martin. He was one of the first hunks I fell in lust with in the Billys and later became what I think was very close. What a wonderful spirit and incredible wit! I’m very sad I won’t get to sit with him except in my mind. Rest peaceful dear friend.
Ed Wolf writes:
He was such a “model citizen” so to speak. I remember him at one of my very first Billy gatherings. He appeared in the Talent-No Talent Show as Stanley Holloway, kilt and all, singing a wonderfully comic song that I could barely understand because of his accent. He was always running and cycling and staying fit. It made his accident that much more poignant when he couldn’t do that anymore. Then his l-o-n-g slow recovery and returning to the low riding bike. He was always so real and honest about his situation after the accident. As I moved thru my own challenges of knee replacements he never compared his incredibly more awful situation to mine. Ever thoughtful, mindful, quiet. So inspiring and funny and honest. Here’s to Martin and the model citizen that he was.
Bill Blackburn writes:
I’m so sad for Martin, so sad his life was what it was these past many years. He went from a triathlete and a Gay Olympics swimming medal winner to, after his motorcycle accident, what he felt was a shell of his former self.
It’s comforting that he spent his last afternoon in the presence of Billy community.
Rest in Peace, Martin, our Brother! Rest in peace.
Mike Goldstein writes:
I’m heartbroken. Just a week & a half ago Martin & I were walking arm-in-arm at the pride celebration in Santa Rosa. I remember that we had a sort of potluck where he was in rehab after his surgeries, in Healdsburg if I remember correctly. I remember his beautiful form as he would run naked at gatherings, the first one at Camp & Sons comes vividly to mind. He would ride his recumbent bike with joy, it was a contribution from his many friends. One time I saw him pedaling on Guerneville Road into Santa Rosa, a long way from his Guerneville home. A mixture of fond memories runs through my mind, as does anger & a deep sense of loss. I’m grateful to have known him.
Ruven Hannah writes:
What a courageous and sweet man. I remember long walks we took at Camp and Sons 200 years ago and funny performance pieces he did in a British accent and his volunteer work with kids – a loving man and then his terrible bike accident and he still kept coming to gatherings even when he was so limited in his movements.
Hope he had a peaceful death on the beach…may he rest in peace
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.