Alfred “Al” Martinez passed peacefully at his home Tuesday, Feb. 7. He was born on Dec. 15, 1925 in San Francisco to Spanish immigrants Anthony and Esperanza Martinez. He was the seventh born of eight children and the youngest son.
Al grew up in the city and would tell tales of riding horseback and in buggies around the city prior to many of the roads being paved, among many other early San Francisco memories. He was born in a house on Mansell Street, just across the street from what is now Phillip Burton High School. Coming from a family of poverty, Al, like his other brothers, left school after the 6th grade to get a job and help provide for his family. This mindset stayed with Al as he remained a hard worker his entire life.
During World War II, Al enlisted in the U.S. Army. During his physical, they realized that he was deaf in one ear and he was assigned to the United States National Guard where he served locally until March of 1950, when he received an honorable discharge. Al was also an avid hot-rodder back in the day and belonged to a car club based in San Francisco prior to settling down to marriage and children. He still loved to talk about old hot rods until the day he died.
After working as a union cement finisher for a number of years, Al got a job with the City of San Francisco where he worked for over 38 years as a landscape and maintenance worker in the housing authority department. Al made many friends in his long career there. It is also there where Al would find old bicycles and bike parts that others had discarded. He would take these parts home and build good riding bicycles for kids around his Linda Mar neighborhood. He did that for any kid who needed a bike and at this point in his life he did not have any children of his own.
Alfred married his wife Thelma Patricia (Weldon) Martinez in 1959 and bought his home in Pacifica that same year. There he raised his two children, Brian Martinez Sr. and Micheale Martinez.
Al was the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back, as any of his friends and neighbors would attest. He was one of those guys everyone called for help. Whether your car had problems, your drains wouldn’t flow or you needed someone to watch your child, Al was there. Al was a very proud grandfather and would boast of his grandchildren’s accomplishments whenever he had a chance. He will truly be missed by all who knew him. They don’t make them like Al anymore: tough as nails but sweet as sugar.
Al was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years in 2006 and his siblings Ralph, Madelyn and Andy. He is survived by his brother Anthony Martinez, his sisters Armelita Carbajal and Irene (Dolly) Fanucchi, his son Brian Martinez Sr., his daughter Micheale Martinez, grandchildren Angelina Piccolotti & Brian Martinez Jr., daughter-in-law Barbara Martinez, niece Rose Adami and nephews Ken and James Adami.
A memorial services is set for Friday, Feb. 17 at 11a.m. at , located at 801 Oceana Boulevard in Pacifica. Following the service we will drive to Skylawn Memorial Park for committal and then gather at the American Legion Hall Post 474 in Princeton for food, stories and drink.
--Brian Martinez, Al's son