It only took one encounter with Marilyn Martin to know she was a force of nature, not to be trifled with. She spoke with authority, let her thoughts be known without hesitation, but never without consideration. She was also deeply caring and always willing to put in the work to make things move forward. This was especially true of the Desert Explorers. Teamed with her husband Bob, she helped the former Backroad Explorers become the Desert Explorers of the Mojave River Valley Museum that we enjoy today. She never let up on that high level of involvement in our group.
When I first met Bob and Marilyn, I wondered “When does Bob get to talk?” It didn’t take too long to find out that this was a tag-team duo who didn’t worry about things like that. Together they never missed a beat.
When Bob passed suddenly in 2005, Marilyn picked herself up and took over the Newsletter building duties he had handled for three years and went on to put our newsletter together for another six, learning the software, cursing at her keyboard and crashing computers on a semi-regular basis. In her spare time, she also managed to go on DE trips solo and with friends right up through this year.
Marilyn was intrepid, camping with Bob and her boys in a converted WWII military truck all over the southwest, and in the Sierras, then later in more comfort in their 4x4 Toyota Skamper as well as their motorhome. They threw in a Mexico trip now and then too.
When you had a chance to chat, she wanted to know everything about you, your whole family, where they came from, what they are doing and what was coming up. She would share tales of her family and Bob’s, both rich in history. She even let it slip that she might be a shirt-tail relative of Neal Johns, not something many of us would be willing to admit.
She laughed easily. She always had an opinion. She was brash and kind and warm and fierce and ornery and outspoken but would hesitate to ask for personal help. Quite a beautiful person and one of a kind. And missed. She passed this June.