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Ramon Anthony Martinez age 85 passed away Friday, January 26, 2024. Ramon was born to Simon and Kathleen (O’Connor) Martinez on January 28, 1938 on the McGee Lambing Camp located in Cold Creek/Hanford area. Ramon was the second of six children.
He grew up on the family farm in Sunnyside where he attended school and graduated from Sunnyside High School in 1956. He was active in 4-H and FFA and showed sheep and worked for his family. He attended Yakima Valley College for 2 years and then entered the U.S. Air Force Reserve and proudly served his country for 4 years.
He returned to work along side his brothers and family at S. Martinez Livestock and the sheep, cattle and farming operations kept everyone busy year-around. With his brother Simon, they negotiated several hundred thousand acres in grazing rights and land leases for sheep and cattle all over the state with the Yakimas, US Forest Service, BLM, DNR, Boise Cascade and timber companies, private leases and the Yakima Training Center. At one time he ran 700 range cows and yearlings across the Yakima Firing Center and Ellensburg.He cared for the cows, the range he was entrusted with and his cow handling crew, which was often sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and their wives, and top notch cow cunning riders such as Chet Emmons, Ralph Sherrard from Ellensburg and Sharon Glenn from Tampico. There was also the occasional fresh face. Yes, it was well know Ramon Martinez was a handsome, successful and charming bachelor rancher. Several cowgirls would give chase but after working spring calves all week in the searing cold and biting wind on the Yakima Fire Center they and their horse trailers wouldn’t be seen again. Running range cows was arduous and all-encompassing: the cows, the range and his crew were always his primary focus.
Later in years he was an oil and gas landman for a natural resource company and was sent out to lease mineral rights. Being trustworthy, good-natured and arriving with a box of Martinez apples or lamb chops, he would help get their needs met and mineral leases signed, often when no one else could figure out how to seal the deal.
Ramon spoke Spanish fluently and enjoyed traveling back to Burgos, Spain to visit the homeland where his father and uncle were raised. He was a consummate family historian and collected hundreds of pictures and documents that he would frame and share with the next generation. He was passionate about cultivating a respect for his father and uncle immigrating from Spain with the future generations.
When Ramon’s sister Delores needed her brother later in life, he stepped up as her guardian and protector. He made sure she had what she needed and what she deserved to live out her best life in the family home where she grew up.
His memory was awe-inspiring and his Martinez farm-history-encyclopedia-brain was often called upon, like when someone needed the depth of a well, or the year of that range fire, the weaning weights of the steers in 1986, or when the Yakima Training Center missed their target and blew up an unattended sheep camp.
Ramon met Harriet Berg in 2nd grade then reconnected at the Sunnyside High School 45th Class Reunion and they became partners. Harriet was a kind and special friend in his life and they lived many years together in Sunnyside and Pasco. Together they enjoyed many Berg family gatherings, especially birthdays parties at their house.
Ramon’s nephew Andy Candanedo, and his wife Martha were always there for Ramon and they ran cattle and farmed together. Ramon’s niece Lisa Hunt, and her family also shared lots of time with Ramon on his farm.
He is survived by his brothers Daniel (wife Susie), Michael (wife Bunny); sister, Martina (husband Henry Charvet); as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by parents Simon and Kathleen Martinez, his brother Simon Martinez, Jr., his sister Delores Candanedo, and his nephew Dan Martinez, Jr.
He will be missed by many in many different ways.
Viewing and visitation will be held on Sunday, Feb. 4th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with recitation of the Holy Rosary at 3:00 p.m. at the Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside, WA. Funeral Liturgy will be held on Monday, Feb. 5th at 1:30 p.m. at the Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside, WA with Military Honors. Private Family burial will be at Terrace Heights Memorial Park in Yakima, WA. In lieu of flowers, feel free to donate to the Yakima Valley Fair. Those wishing to sign Ramon's online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Home is in care of arrangements.