Cover photo for Walter E. Martens, Jr.'s Obituary
Walter E. Martens, Jr. Profile Photo
1945 Walter 2024

Walter E. Martens, Jr.

December 22, 1945 — January 7, 2024

Cleveland

 
When through one man, a little more love and goodness, a little more light and truth come into the world-then that man's life has had meaning. 
 
Walter Edward Martens, Jr. or Wally to everyone, life had meaning when he passed away suddenly, but peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, January 7, 2024. He was 78 years old. 
 
He was born on December 22, 1945, in Cleveland, Ohio, to his parents, the late Walter and Pauline Martens, Sr. and the oldest brother of Edward and Michael. As a young child growing up, Wally was exposed to his father's funeral home, and by the time he was in college, he decided to follow in his father's footsteps and joined the family business, where he would eventually become the second generation of Martens to run Walter E. Martens and Sons Funeral Home. 
 
Wally attended St. Ignatius of Antioch grade school, where he made many life-long friends. He was an altar server, frequently serving funerals, and spoke often about server picnics; playing sports in the parking lot when he wasn't supposed to; and how much his time at Ignatius meant to him. He graduated from there in 1959. In his later years, he would continue to remain active at the parish, serving on numerous committees including the Alumni Association and Finance Council, as well as being an usher at mass. He was also inducted into the 2008 class of the St. Ignatius of Antioch Sports Hall of Fame. 
 
He would attend St. Ignatius of Loyola High School, graduating in 1963. He was always proud of being a Wildcat and never wasted a moment to share his experiences with the students of the St. Joseph of Arimathea pallbearers. (He also had no problem letting the St. Edward's High School chapter know that he was an Ignatius grad- all in good fun). He spent many years working with the Alumni Association, serving as Past President among other positions. 
 
Following high school, he attended John Carroll University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in History in 1967. He would again meet another life-long friend, funeral director, and colleague, Joseph Mosinski. While at JCU, he excelled in sharpshooting during ROTC; and served as the Senior Editor for the yearbook, "Carillon." 
 
Wally finally attend the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, graduating in September 1968. He was honored by his classmates being named Class President, and he worked his hardest to make sure that his classmates had an enjoyable time. He was responsible for creating a PIMS bowling league and making sure that there were activities lined up all the time. He was known for his nightly walks through Shadeside and the other neighborhoods surrounding the college; enjoyed Happy Hour at Gus's and the Checkmate Lounge; and was part of a very memorable Halloween party involving an ape walking down the street with bananas around his neck with George Washington. He enjoyed trips back to Pittsburgh throughout his life for various CEUS and loved sharing the memories of his time there. 
 
In October 1971, Wally married his late wife, Bernadine Marie Zub, and together they had five children. Together, along with Wally's brother Ed,  they ran the Walter Martens and Sons Funeral Home, located on Denison Avenue, after their father died in 1989. Bernadine sadly passed away in April 1997. 
 
He was always proud of his involvement with numerous community organizations, including being a 3rd generation member of the West Park Knights of Columbus Council 2790, as an Honorary Life Member and where he proudly served as Grand Knight from 1982 to 1984, and served in numerous offices and chairmanships. In 2022, he also became 3rd generation to become a 4th Degree member of the Bishop O'Reilly Assembly. 
 
Wally was also a dedicated member of Cudell Improvement, a neighborhood redevelopment organization, where he served as treasurer and board member. 
 
In the summer of 2010, Wally hired his "pest" Victoria, whom he spent the first six months of her employment calling her "Veronica." As they continued to work together, Wally and Victoria would begin dating which was one of the rare best-kept secrets in the funeral profession. After dating for several years, Wally asked Victoria to marry him in the least formal way possible (casually saying that they should marry the week between Christmas and New Year if Victoria would have him). She agreed without question. They would marry at the home Wally's parents built during their retirement on March 20, 2021, surrounded by those they loved after Wally recovered from COVID-19. They would become pregnant with a son, Carter James, whom they sadly lost several months into Victoria's pregnancy. They would renew their wedding vows twice in 2022-on their first anniversary at Abram Creek Baptist Church by Pastor James Beight, a good friend of the couple who had married them at home, and then on Victoria's grandparent's wedding anniversary in May at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church. During their numerous years together, Victoria helped take care of Wally and his growing health concerns including frequent bouts of lymphodema, long-term COVID symptoms, and most recently a below-the-knee amputation. Despite the age difference between the couple, their love was deep and passionate for each other. 
 
Professionally, Wally was a member of the Ohio Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association, Cuyahoga County Funeral Directors Association, Ohio Embalmers Association and the Cleveland Embalmers Association. He was also part of and one of the founding members of Foresight Family Funeral Homes, an organization promoting family-owned funeral homes within Northeast Ohio. 
 
In 2020, he celebrated his 50th anniversary of being a licensed funeral director and embalmer. 
 
In 2023, Wally and Victoria decided to close their Denison Avenue location and were fortunate enough to partner with their colleague Charles Slone and operate Walter Martens and Sons Funeral Home at Slone and Company Funeral Directors. Wally was always proud of leading the way within the funeral profession for friendship among competitors and never speaking ill of those in the same profession as him. He would believe passionately in this until his passing. 
 
Wally's passing has left numerous people saddened and heartbroken. He was always known as a kind, generous, and loving man to so many and helped so many in their time of need. He had a mind like an elephant, loved beyond any describable words, and always saw the good in everyone and in every situation. He stayed tried and true to the Cleveland Browns, and always referred to the Guardians as the Indians. He enjoyed watching the movies on TCM with the Marx Brothers always being some of his favorites, and It's a Wonderful Life being the most-watched Christmas movie of the season. He always knew when the Hallmark channel's Countdown to Christmas started and even though the family teased him, they would still sit down and watch the movies with him. He listened to numerous hours of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Martin and his favorite, Perry Como. All of those touched by his life will forever be grateful that we had him in our lives and will remain faithful to his memory and the lessons he taught all. 
 
Wally, we forever love you. 
 
 Wally is survived by his beloved wife, Victoria; five children; three grandchildren; his two brothers, Edward and Michael (Susan); his nephews, Avery and David Martens and Joshua and Jason Swann; in-laws, William and Pat Shea, Sr; brothers-in-law, William, Jr. (Randi) and Martin Shea; and sister-in-law, MaryAnn Shea (Dan Stregl); his godson, Scott David; as well as numerous other family members and friends that he loved and adored. 
 
His passing reunites him with his beloved first wife, Bernadine; his son, Carter James; his parents, Walter and Pauline; and numerous family and friends. 
 
Family and friends are welcomed SUNDAY, JANUARY 14TH FROM 2:00 ~ 8:00 PM AT SLONE AND COMPANY LIFE CELEBRATION CENTER (the former West Park Knights of Columbus Hall) at 3556 West 130th Street, where a Prayer Service will start at approximately 7:45 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place Monday, January 15th at 11:00 AM at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, 10205 Lorain Avenue (at West Blvd). Everyone is asked to meet directly at church. A Private Interment will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery.
 
The family suggests memorial donations to St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, 10205 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44111 or St.Ignatius High School, 1911 West 30th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113. 
 
Arrangements were entrusted jointly to the family and staff of Walter Martens and Sons and Slone and Company Funeral Directors. 
 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter E. Martens, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Sunday, January 14, 2024

2:00 - 7:45 pm (Eastern time)

Slone & Co Life Celebration Center

3556 W 130th St, Cleveland, OH 44111

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Prayer Service

Sunday, January 14, 2024

7:45 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Slone & Co Life Celebration Center

3556 W 130th St, Cleveland, OH 44111

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Monday, January 15, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Ignatius of Antioch Church

10205 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44111

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 684

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree