Tuesday, March 10, 2015
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
Life Story / Obituary
A hardworking, honorable, no frills sort of man, Martin Been was an inspiration to everyone he met. He was accompanied by an unwavering work ethic, but he was never one to worry about building wealth, rather, the drive behind his desire to succeed was providing for the family he treasured. Martin has been described as the nicest man anyone could ever meet, and his genuine concern and compassion for others was what drew others near. Guided by an unwavering faith, there was no greater gift on this side of heaven than his family, and he just may have argued that becoming a grandfather and great-grandfather was life’s richest reward. Generous, selfless, and ever mindful of others, there was no one who met Martin and wasn’t blessed beyond measure. He will never for forgotten by all who were within his reach.
It was great to be an American during the decade that is commonly recalled as the Roaring Twenties. The success of WWI ushered in a time of great prosperity that was fueled by innovation that was transforming the way we lived our daily lives. Radios, refrigerators, and motion pictures in both color and sound were signs of the time while legends like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb made baseball America’s favorite pastime. Amidst this eventful time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of Frederick and Catherine (Lamond) Been as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their fifth child as the holiday season dawned in the city of Chicago, Illinois, in 1928. The big day finally arrived on November 28th when the baby boy they named Martin drew his first breath. He was the fifth of six children in his family as he was raised alongside his siblings, Winnie, Grace, Fred, Jack, and Carol. While he was still a young boy Martin and his family moved to the Bangor, Michigan, area. Sadly, Martin’s father died when Martin was very young.
In many ways Martin experienced a typical childhood for the youth of his generation. He attended school in Bloomingdale through the 9th grade, which was fairly common for young people at that time. It was while growing up that Martin established his strong work ethic as he started off picking up trash as a young adult. He later shoveled coal for awhile as well.
As a young man, Martin went into the Army just after WWII came to an end in the mid-forties. However, it was his personal life that grew quite exciting as he developed a blossoming romance with the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Bernice Scott, and they had attended a country school together while also running around in the same circle of friends. Over time their relationship grew deeper, and they found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Martin and Bernice were married in 1951. They settled out in the country near Bangor, and it was there that they raised their two daughters, Linda and Deborah. Martin and his wife also had a baby who sadly died at birth. To support his family, he drove truck for James River for what became 47 years before retiring. Martin was dedicated to his work, and he worked overtime nearly every day.
Throughout his life Martin loved being out in a rural setting. He was a true outdoorsman who felt truly at home out in nature. Martin was a fisherman and hunter who could often be found out working in his garden. In fact, it has been said that he had the best garden around. They also had horses, and with a heart of compassion toward animals it was not uncommon for Martin to head out to the barn to be with the horses during a thunderstorm to keep them from getting spooked. He also loved dogs, and over the years there were several dogs at their place, and they also had some pigs and cows as well. Martin took great pride in all his old tractors, too.
When he wasn’t outside, Martin also enjoyed pursuing some of his other interests. For years he and Bernice went out square dancing, and he also frequently played cards. Martin attended Alamo Congregational Church for years where he was very actively involved. Although he loved being at home, he also enjoyed traveling with trips to Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, and Mexico in addition to a couple of trips to Hawaii being among some of his favorite times. Martin loved boxing beginning from the time he was a young boy, and in 1955 he had fun racing motorcycles. He liked classic country music including Conway Twitty, and his Hawaiian records were also favorites. When it came to his favorite foods it has been said that Martin didn’t really have any as he never met a food he didn’t like, but since he was such an easy going and easy to please kind of guy it really isn’t all that surprising. If he was forced to choose, Martin did love eating sauerkraut on hot dogs! Of course nothing was better than welcoming grandchildren, and later great-grandchildren, into the family. Martin savored every moment they were together, and he played a vital role in their lives.
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Martin Been made a significant impact in the lives of everyone he met. He was a true patriot and the sort of person who would give the shirt off his back to someone in need, never looking for anything in return. He was honest, had a great sense of humor, and was a man of his word who believed that anything worth having is worth working hard to achieve. Martin will be deeply missed while his memory is forever remembered by all who were blessed to know and love him.
Martin Been, of Plainwell, died on March 6, 2015. Martin’s family includes his wife, Bernice; child, Deborah Been; five grandchildren: Tom (Jessica) Pickett, Angie (Rodger) Peebles, Chad (Maggie) Bronson, Berangila (Juan) Gonzalez, Lorelei (Geoff) Denton; fifteen great grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews. Martin was preceded in death by his daughter, Linda, and five siblings. Visit with his family and friends and view his life story film on Tuesday, March 10 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Plainwell; 120 Woodhams St. (685-5881). A funeral will follow at 1:00 p.m. at the same location. Please visit Martin’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online before coming to funeral home.