In memoriam: Professor Emerita Marian Martinello dies at age 79

San Antonio Riverwalk

UTSA Professor Emerita Marian Martinello (Photo by Mark McClendon)

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(Aug. 3, 2015) -- UTSA has lost a long-time friend and supporter. Marian Letitia Martinello, UTSA professor emerita and a retired faculty member with the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD), died Friday, July 24. She was 79 years old.

Born in Manhattan, N.Y. on August 12, 1935, Martinello was a first-generation college student who went on to have a celebrated career of more than 40 years in education. She graduated with degrees from Queen’s College and Columbia University, and taught at several prestigious universities across the country prior to joining UTSA in 1975.
 
While at UTSA, Martinello was an influential and valued voice for the College of Education and Human Development. In her first years with COEHD, she helped create and lead what would become the college’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and its certification program for elementary and middle school teachers.

As a researcher, Martinello’s work focused on learning through research, interdisciplinary curriculum and teaching. She formed close working relationships with many schools in and around south Texas.

Martinello’s career as a full-time faculty member lasted 25 years until her retirement in 2000, which came out of a desire to spend more time on her writing and with her family, including her husband, Thomas H. Robinson, who later passed away in 2003. She also spent much of her retirement caring for her retired thoroughbred racehorse.

Throughout retirement, Martinello was an active member of the UTSA community. She briefly returned to UTSA to serve as associate dean for research before retiring a second time. She regularly attended COEHD events, particularly the annual welcome receptions for new faculty, and was a long-time donor to the university.

"Dr. Martinello was loved and respected by all who knew her. She was a gracious and enthusiastic educator whose work reflected scholarly precision, continuous exploration and true joy," said Betty Merchant, dean of the UTSA College of Education and Human Development. "Dr. Marinello will be remembered for her generosity of spirit, her commitment to the COEHD and UTSA, her scholarly work, and her conviction that respectful and creative interdisciplinary collaboration focused on important issues could transform lives. Her beloved horse, Ready Lady, always brought a smile to her face, and she will do the same for us, as we remember her genuine beauty and consummate grace."

Martinello was one of the founding members of the UTSA Retired Faculty Association (RFA) and served as its first president for many years. Established in 2011, the RFA provides retired faculty with opportunities for continued interaction with the UTSA community and serves as the voice of retired faculty to the university administration.

Martinello was also a long-time student of history, particularly the history of San Antonio. In her retirement, she pursued that interest to write several award-winning young adult and historical inquiry books, including “The Search for Emma’s Story” (1987), “The Search for Pedro’s Story” (2006), “The Search for a Chili Queen: On the Fringes of a Rebozo” (2009) and, mostly recently, “Chili Queen: Mi Historia” (2015). In 2012, three of her works were chosen as core books for the inaugural “Menard Reads Together” community reading program hosted by the city of Menard, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, Martinello’s family encourages her friends and colleagues to contribute to the Marian Martinello Memorial Fund in care of the UTSA Office of External Relations.

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Learn more about Marian Martinello’s contributions to UTSA by reading the UTSA Libraries’ Top Shelf blog post.

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