It wasn’t until she read Jose Martinez’s obituary that Libby Arnold even knew how much he had achieved in his life.
The director of Community Care-Prayer Outreach had known Martinez through the Rotary Club of Port Arthur before returning to his hometown of San Antonio.
But bragging was not something the former director of the Port Arthur Public Library was known to do.
“He was a very nice person,” Arnold said. “He was the kind of person who didn’t need to be the brightest light in the room. He didn’t want to take anything away from others.”
When Martinez’s sister called Arnold on Wednesday to tell him of his death, she was shocked.
“When he was here he was never sick,” she said.
Although the nature of his death is not known, Arnold said he felt unwell and went to the doctor. From there he was placed in hospice care and died two weeks later on March 19. He was 67 years old.
Arnold recalled Martinez’s spirit of generosity and how each year he contributed to his organization’s annual stocking stuffer program.
“He always did things like that,” she said. “He was calm, he was kind and he was really smart.”
She said the two shared a mutual investment in opening the Bob Hope School and the educational opportunities it would bring to Hispanic students so they could pursue a college education.
Martinez served on the Bob Hope School Board. According to his obituary, he also served with the Kiwanis Club, Communities in Schools Southeast Texas, Salvation Army, Texas Library Association, Knights of Columbus, Guadalupano Society of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, and was a recipient of the 2013 MLK Support Group Award for Community Service.
In addition to working for the City of Port Arthur, he also worked for the City of San Antonio.
Services were held Thursday in San Antonio.
This week, Mayor Thurman Bartie signed a resolution celebrating Martinez’s life.