Cover photo for Martin John King's Obituary

Martin John King

February 9, 1941 — April 29, 2024


Martin John King

Martin John King, a resident of Chatham Ontario, passed away on Monday April 29, 2024 in his sleep at his home in Chatham.

Martin, who liked to be called Marty as he found Martin too stuffy and formal, was born in Chatham on February 9, 1941, son of the late Alton and Ruth King.

Marty is survived by his three sisters, Sandra and her husband Tom Kendall of Point Edward, Elizabeth Buschemeyer of Toronto, and (Wesleen) Ellen King of London, his brother Lawrence King and wife Anne of Leamington and Marty’s three children Martin Glen King, Ross Allen King and Tammy Lynn Witherstone. Marty also has two grandchildren Ryan Glen King and Chantell Thurrien.

Marty predeceased his brother James “Jim” King who passed sadly in 2016 in Chatham and James’ wife Glenda still resides in Chatham, Ontario.

Marty did not want a funeral, or any visitation ceremonies. His wish was to be cremated and have his ashes strewn in the forest or streams where he could hunt and fish.

Marty had a unique sense of humor. He was quick to turn an awkward moment, or a different perspective on something that would make a person laugh and he was quick with his little quips…they just kept coming, until he had you laughing so hard you almost cried. He was also a good listener. If you needed someone to talk with, about anything, whether he knew the subject or not he’d let you vent your frustrations and listen, for hours if that’s what you needed.

Marty loved to dance and sing. He had a lovely voice and at karaoke night that he went to a couple times a week his favorite songs were those of Elvis. Watching public television with oldies but goldies, be it Elvis or history of country music made him sing to the songs and cry at the wonderful memories. Most days at some point you could hear him play his harmonica, which sat beside him on the table. He would tell stories of how there was always singing, music and instruments in his family, which he loved.

Marty had several interests in his lifetime. When he took an interest in something he tended to get very passionate about it and take it to the next level. Marty loved to fish whether it was in a boat or off the side of the water or dock. Panfried fresh fish at the side of a river was a delight he cherished. He was all in when he took up shooting, be it hunting with his buddies or when he got into muzzle loading black powder guns. He had a nice collection that he proudly kept in a triple locked, barred, temperature controlled safe.

Marty’s passion for black powder muzzle loading took him not just to the next level but landed him on Team Canada and with that he travelled extensively throughout Europe and North America on shooting competitions. His home is full of trophy’s, medals, certificates and newspaper write ups of his prowess as a top-notch shooting competitor. Marty was a respected founding member of the Kent Cloverleaf Conservation gun club in Chatham. He helped to promote and introduce gun safety to those interested in getting into the sport. He was a big advocate of helping to raise money for charitable events through the Kent Cloverleaf club as well and has many newspaper articles of his accomplishments in this area.

Through his shooting competitions around the world Marty made friends wherever he went. One of those connections turned into a lifelong friendship that most of us only dream of. This friendship was with a man from Indiana named Victor Felgar. Marty and Vic helped each other through good and bad times. Always available to the other for chats, visits or making each other home made guns as gifts that would rival anything that was available on a retail level. Theirs was custom and Marty still proudly displays the gun Vic presented to him with both their names on it. One of Marty’s’ favorite memories that he would talk of often were his trips to Friendship Indiana where shooting competitions took place, as well as a huge swap meet and lots of comradery around campfires with others that shared his passion.

Marty was a truck driver as his primary job, but always had things on the side like his shooting and fishing that kept him busy.

Marty took a leather workshop at a community college and did very well. As if his hunting and fishing weren’t enough, he then got very passionate about working with leather. He started slowly, doing everything by hand so as to learn the trade slow and easy but quickly scaled up to buying machines that would make his job not only easier but made it possible to do more, like his splitter that could cut a cowhide to the width he needed. As a customer you could come into Marty’s shop and he would design and make whatever you wanted…., truly a custom piece for you. His prices were reasonable, his hours flexible. Just call him ahead and he would be more than happy to accommodate your time-frame. His customers came from all walks of life… a police officer needing a special add on to his belt or a brand new wide custom belt to fit everything hanging from it. A rock climber that needed a special harness, or someone that has horses - like TJ Stables where it wasn’t only tack, but making custom flag holders for parades. Then the motorcycle people would pull up to get their saddle bags or some other piece of leather repaired. A woman, that needed a custom dog leash or her designer handbag repaired, or a new one that Marty would design for her, or a custom belt for a woman that liked to add a little bling to her custom designed Longhorn Leather belt. Then the musicians that wanted a custom strap for their guitar….it was an endless parade of people from all walks of life that enjoyed Marty’s special skilled leather work.

While still working full time Marty set up a custom trailer as a mobile leather repair shop and would go to horse shows on the weekends and do custom repairs on the spot. He became well known for his prowess as “The leather guy”. His leather shop also supported different teams and he would sponsor what he could.

Marty’s leather shop came into play when most people were looking for retirement. Instead, Marty wanted to start a new business that again, he was passionate about and did very well at. His shop was his comfort zone. He would be in it most days and into the evening. Working on custom leather items for people, but he’d also make custom knives with a custom leather sheath from scratch as well as a custom gun from scratch if that’s what the customer wanted. He’d also do repair jobs on broken knives and guns if that’s what was required. If he wasn’t too sure how to do it, he’d eventually figure it out and make what the customer wanted. He loved his shop and would often say that it was his identity, but we all know he was so much more.

Marty King was truly a multi talented individual with a good sense of humor that will leave an empty space with everyone that knew him. He had a special knack of dropping things that were negative on his life, putting them away and forgetting about them so it wasn’t dwelled on….and then, moving on to happier things.

Marty….You will be missed. Rest well on your journey my friend….brother….uncle….father….grandfather….

Please Note* - in Lieu of flowers please donate in Marty’s name to CCFR. Marty would have appreciated this much more than flowers. Thank you All.


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