Celebration of Life service for Belinder teacher Larry Martin set for Saturday at school

Larry Martin taught at Belinder Elementary for nearly 30 years.

Larry Dean Martin, 61, of Kansas City, Mo., passed away Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Rebecca, and daughter, Cricket, as well as his brother George Martin (Lani) of Franklin, Kentucky, his sisters Susan Brown (Terry) of Mobile, Alabama, and Debbie Butterfield (Kenny) of Kidder, Missouri, plus numerous nieces, nephews, and other loving family members who will miss him greatly. He was preceded in death by his parents George and Mary Martin, and his beloved Border Collie, Jenny.

Mr. Martin was a graduate of North Kansas City High School and of UMKC, where he took two Bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s. He taught second grade at Belinder Elementary School for almost 30 years. He left a positive stamp on many lives thanks to his gentle kindness, sharp intellect, good humor, creativity, patience and gracious perseverance. He created The Marvel News, a fortnightly printed newspaper, editions of which were conceived, executed, sold and delivered by his pupils, Martin’s Marvels. The 7- and 8-year-olds published hand-illustrated articles, book reviews, puzzles and jokes, but the real treat was always the feature interview. Over the years, cub reporters landed Q&A sessions with President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Barbara Bush, Alex Trebek, Dave Barry, and many other inspiring figures. Mr. Martin wanted more than anything to teach each child that he or she was a marvel with enormous potential who should dream big. At the end of every school year, he gave each student a keepsake, having drawn caricatures of each, showing them as adults living their dreams, working in their dream professions under the banner “Follow Your Dreams!”

A lifelong Jeopardy! enthusiast, Mr. Martin was the grand-prize winner of the 2018 Jeopardy! Teachers’ Tournament. As a bonus, the program invited him to do a caricature of host Alex Trebek living his dream life as a handyman, under the banner “Follow Your Dreams, Alex!”

Celebration of Life service will take place on Saturday, May 18 at 3 pm at Belinder Elementary School, 7230 Belinder Avenue, Prairie Village. For more information, go to https://belinder.smsd.org/. Share condolences and remembrances: https://polandthompson.com/

Donations in lieu of flowers will help support The Marvel News into the future. Donate at GoFundMe, or make checks payable to Rebecca Bell (Larry Martin Memorial in the memo), c/o Shawnee Mission Post, PO Box 8005, Prairie Village, KS 66208.