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David Martin

June 15, 1939 - October 4, 2019


After a sudden and short illness, on Friday, October 4, 2019, David Grant Martin, 80 years young, cherished husband of Patti, beloved brother of Peter (Monica), beloved father of Joel (Nancy), Laura (Troy), Kathy (Charles), Mark (Bhuvan), Kristen (Andre), Melissa (Greg), and Michael, loving grandfather to Hayley (John), Ian, Courtney, Abby, Chelsea, Susan, Ryan, Sona and Esa.

David was born in Mt Pleasant, Michigan, on June 15, 1939 to Sylva and Kerswell Martin. His memories of childhood are good ones. He enjoyed school, Boy Scouts, and his iconic dog Skippy. His sister, Nancy, was 3 ½ years younger, and his brother, Peter, was born when David was 14 ½.


In Junior High and High School David was a good student and active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship and school politics: he was class president in grade 11 and president of student council in grade 12. At Albion College in Michigan, David majored in psychology before, in 1961, going to graduate school in Human Development at the University of Chicago. He planned to teach general psychology in a small liberal arts college but, after some serendipitous turns, he discovered that what he liked most was psychotherapy and focused on the clinical psychology stream in the Human Development program.


In 1965, David received his PH.D. and took his first job as assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Iowa, where he discovered that he loved teaching as much as he loved psychotherapy. In 1969, he joined the psychology department of the University of Manitoba, where he taught and practiced until he retired in 2013 – although “retired” isn’t entirely accurate, as he continued to write and to teach occasionally, especially when there was an opportunity to teach therapy. He used to tell his children and grandchildren to figure out what they loved to do and then figure out some way to get paid for it, and he definitely followed his own advice. 


Over his career, David received three teaching awards and was named Distinguished Psychologist in Manitoba in 1997. In 2007, the Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs gave him a national award for clinical teaching. He published numerous psychology research articles, seven books, and a psychotherapy DVD. He was proudest of his book, Counseling and Therapy Skills, which is used in many training programs and is currently in its fourth edition.

While at Albion College, David met Nona Ann Roush and they married in 1960. David knew from an early age that he very much wanted to be a dad, and it became of the most important aspects of his life. Joel David, Laura Ann, and Kathy Lynn were all born while David was still in his twenties. After he moved to Winnipeg in 1969, Mark Colin, Kristen Lee, and Melissa Amy joined the family. David continued to be an enthusiastic, caring, and skillful father to his lucky children, even though he and Nona parted in 1987. Apparently not finished with parenting, he became an enthusiastic and caring stepfather to Michael Maksimovich at the age of sixty eight. David was also blessed with nine grandchildren: Hayley, Ian, Courtney, Abby, Chelsea, Susan, Ryan, Sona, and Esa.


At the age of 65, David met Patricia (Patti) Barss and they began a relationship they both felt lucky and blessed to have found so late in life; which is why David played the guitar and sang the song I am the Luckiest at their wedding in 2007. They retired in 2013 and, in David’s words, “we talked and listened, shared our love of reading and learning, enjoyed time with our friends and traveling, participated in yoga and fitness together, and spent time in Victoria with our much loved family there almost every winter”. Because of David’s general good health, fitness, and youthful attitude and energy (many people had trouble believing he was 80), David and Patti believed they had many more years to enjoy together.Their happiness was cut far too short. The message to all of us is be present in your life now, love and be good to each other now; none of us know what tomorrow brings.


David, we your family and friends, students, colleagues, and clients, thank you for the gift and the blessing you were to us, for the lasting impact you made on our lives and in the world, for everything you taught us about how to love and how to care for others. We feel truly blessed to have known you.

The family would like to thank Dr. Kroeker, Dr. Dillon, and the staff of St. Boniface Hospital, particularly the staff of the Intensive Care Unit, for their care of David and support of the family in the last few weeks of David’s life.

Friends and relatives are encouraged to share in stories and condolences for the family by commenting in the comments section.

A private family burial has taken place. A celebration of life will be held 2:00pm on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at The Gates on Roblin. 

In David’s memory, please pay a visit to the elderly or lonely, or make a donation to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (, The International Wolf Centre (, or any organization that supports wolves or the environment, two causes David cared about. 

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