Joseph LaMartina, 89, died Saturday at home in Garden City. He was born Feb. 1, 1925, in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Thomas and Josephine LaMartina, who came to America from Sicily, Italy, through Ellis Island. Joe had eight brothers and sisters who were all first generation Americans.
Joe came to Texas at the age of 21 when he was stationed at Good Fellow Air Force Base in San Angelo. There, he met and married Trilby Cook, then moved to Brooklyn where their two daughters, Linda and Suzie were born. They stayed there for about 5 Â˝ years when Trilby said she wanted to come back to Texas. Joe lasted about the same amount of time in Texas and he moved back to Brooklyn. He was an accomplished carpenter and worked in a lumber yard during his years in San Angelo and back in Brooklyn. Everyone learned real quick not to leave any wood lying around or even a piece of unused furniture without a â€śDo Not Touchâ€ť sign, because Joe would build or create something else out of it.
His greatest love besides family was baseball with the New York Yankees being his favorite all-time team. He played from when he was a boy, with any group of kids that were around and on any lot they could find. This went on until he came back to Texas at the age of 68. Joeâ€™s passion for baseball was so strong that he built a baseball diamond outside his backdoor and taught all four of his great-grandsons in Garden City how to play and love the game. He watched his oldest great-grandson Dylan play every year from t-ball to college and this year was able to watch his youngest great-grandson start his first year of t-ball.
He also loved watching the birds and made several types of feeders to attract them. Planting vegetables also became a pastime for him and he loved sharing the finished products. Joe grew up during the depression and was very self-sufficient. He was very resourceful and spent his money wisely with the exception of a few lottery tickets every week. For those who were privileged to know him and were able to spend any time with him, you heard lots of stories and unbelievable things that he had lived through growing up in Brooklyn. To hear Joe tell it, he went to â€śThe School of Opportunity!â€ť
Funny story on Joe, he never had a driverâ€™s license. We West Texans know how important it is to have one. When Joeâ€™s daughters were about 4 and 6 years-old, he bought an old car and took it apart in the backyard. Somehow or another he was able to put it back together where it did actually run. They loaded the family up, went around the block to celebrate and he hit a telephone pole. Everyone was OK, but Joe said, â€śI will never drive again!â€ť
Joe is survived by one daughter, Josephine Linda Cypert and husband John Wayne Cypert of Garden City, Texas, a step-daughter, Rhonda Sue Treadaway of San Angelo, Texas, one sister, Dorothy Smith of Pennsylvania, one brother and Rudy Lamartina of Florida. He is also survived by two grandsons, Ed Wayne Cypert of Garden City and Richard Cypert of Big Spring; two granddaughters, Leasa Lowery and husband Kenny Lowery of Garden City, granddaughter Kristen Jones Gaithright and husband Melvin of Alice, Texas. Joeâ€™s great-grandchildren are Dylan Lowery and fiancĂ©e Emily Adams of Lubbock, Texas, Austen, Ragan and Karson Lowery of Garden City, along with Jayce, Taryn and Collin Gaithright of Alice, Texas, and also many nieces, nephews and friends.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents Thomas and Josephine LaMartina, sisters: Louise Manolio, Camille Sortino, Maryanne Montanino and Loretta Dehner, Brothers: Lee LaMartina and Mike LaMartina and one daughter, Susan O. Jones.
Arrangements are by Myers & Smith Funeral Home. Please pay your respects online at http://www.myersandsmith.com/