Joanne Martinez—1929-2021

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle      May 14, 2021

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Joanne Martinez—1929-2021
A life well lived is a life worth living and that is what she did. She loved life even unto the end. Joanne Cinelli was born on December 11,1929, in Tacoma, Washington, where she and her twin sisters were raised by their aunt and uncle until they moved to San Diego during Joanne’s last year of high school. Joanne met Al Martinez while attending the same college in San Francisco. They fell in love and were married on July 31,1949. Joanne was a supportive and devoted wife. She encouraged Al while he worked as a reporter for several newspapers and Al contributed his success to the unselfish support that Joanne gave him while developing his career as a columnist and writer. They had three children, Cindy, Linda, and Marty. They lived in the Bay area of California until 1972 when Al accepted a newspaper job with the L.A. Times and they moved to southern California. Joanne enjoyed life to the fullest. One of our favorite memories was when the family went out to a very nice restaurant on New Year’s Eve. When it was time to stand up and shout “Happy New Year!” Joanne stood up and, in front of everyone, her pants dropped to the floor. It didn’t bother her in the least. She just pulled her pants back up and continued celebrating. Joanne and Al fell in love with Topanga Canyon and there they bought a small two-bedroom home that has since gone through many transformations. One of the biggest transformations was Joanne’s garden. She was an avid gardener and belonged to a local Topanga Garden Club. She delighted in her garden and admitted that one of her greatest weaknesses was stopping at any nursery that she could find and buying as many plants as her car could hold. Many strangers walking by mistook her garden for a park. Another transformation was the size of the house. Joanne’s dream came to fruition when a remodel included a bookshelf two stories high where the many books she read, including the ones Al wrote, were kept. Joanne was an avid reader, she read everything she could get her hands on, and was a member of the Topanga Book Club. If you were lucky enough to know Joanne as a family member, neighbor, friend, worker, or anyone who came to her door; she always made you feel welcome and most likely you would have attended one of the countless dinners, holiday celebrations, or parties that Joanne loved hosting in their home. Joanne was a gourmet cook and it didn’t faze her to throw a party for 150 people or more and do all the cooking herself. She continued a busy life after the death of her husband in 2015. Her schedule included visiting with friends and family, entertaining, volunteering, and traveling. Joanne had a heart of gold and a generous spirit that thought about the welfare of others and she donated much of her time and resources to countless charities and organizations. She believed that you could learn something new every day and wanted to share her knowledge with others by volunteering as a docent for Topanga State Park, and several museums in the LA area, where she led groups of visitors and taught them about the beauty of nature, history, and art. She donated her time to cooking meals and feeding the workers in Topanga. Up until a few months before her passing, she picked up her friend Barry on a weekly basis and took him grocery shopping. Joanne couldn’t stand the thought of someone going hungry. Another transformation of the Topanga house was the number of rooms that went from a two-bedroom home to five bedrooms. Each room was filled with the many keepsakes and relics that testified to Joanne’s and Al’s passion for travel and the many adventures they enjoyed together during their 64 years of marriage. Her home always brimmed with life whether it be humans or animals. Once their children were raised and on their own, leaving the rooms unoccupied, Joanne’s generous and loving nature would not let them stay that way for very long. She made it known that her family meant the very most to her. When their eldest daughter, Cindy, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Joanne brought Cindy to live with them in the Topanga home where she took care of her until her passing in 2011. Then she welcomed another generation of grandkids, in-laws and even a great-grandchild to fill the bedrooms. On April 5, 2021, Joanne’s short battle with lung cancer ended and she died peacefully at home surrounded by her family. We thank you for your life well lived. We will miss you. Love, Ruth, Linda, Russ, Travis, Shana, Josh, Marty, Lisa, Nicole, Adam, Fox, Jeffrey, Joshua, Grace, and many, many others. The family invites those who wish to send their condolences and memories to the memorial Facebook page named Cinelli Martinez.
The Canyon Chronicle

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