Born and raised in Honolulu, Ronald Peter Martin (1933-1976) — the man for whom the Kapaa High School Athletic Field is named — excelled as a four-sport athlete at Kamehameha Schools, Class of 1951
He went on to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard before earning a B.Sc. degree in education from Oregon College of Education in 1958.
While in Oregon, he coached football, basketball, softball, swimming and track at several schools, prior to returning home to Hawaii in 1966 to accept the position of vice principal of Kapaa Elementary School.
Later, he became principal of Waimea Elementary School, and from 1969 to 1976 — the year of his untimely death from cancer at age 42 — he served as principal of Kapaa High and Intermediate School.
His home, where he and his wife, Jill Martin, and their children, Pualani and Peter Martin, and his stepdaughters, Pamela and Darcy lived, was a lovely teacher’s cottage overlooking the bluff above Kealia Beach near where the Kapaa High School football field is now located.
“He was so loved by his students,” his daughter, Pualani Rezentes, recently recalled.
“He was firm but had such a soft heart to help students succeed. There were so many stories of people telling me how they would get into trouble at school and he would help them out and turn them around just by showing them he cared.”
For the 10 months he lived after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer — all the while knowing that his days were truly numbered — he continued to devote his time to his students.
When his illness got the best of him and he could no longer walk, he could be seen driving a golf cart around campus, taking the time to stop and speak with students until his very last days.
Ron Martin loved life and loved people. When he died in the prime of life, he was deeply mourned by many.