Daniel A. “Danny” Martinez, 95, of Palatka, passed from this life peacefully on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at his home. Danny was born in Tampa, Florida and following graduation from Hillsborough High School in 1946, entered the United States Army receiving an Honorable Discharge as a Sergeant in 1948. He attended the University of Florida where he was awarded a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree in 1952. He moved to Palatka with his wife Katie on June 23, 1952 where he began his professional career as a Research Chemical Engineer at Hudson Pulp & Paper Corporation.
He had numerous responsible positions at Hudson, progressing from Research Chemical Engineer to Technical Assistant to Mr. W.L. Jones, Sr., General Superintendent of the Palatka Operations. He subsequently was named Converting and Shipping Manager, Tissue Manufacturing Manager, Assistant Vice President, Staff Services and Vice President, Palatka Operations from 1973-1979. In January 1979, Hudson was acquired by Georgia Pacific Corporation who then named him the General Manager of the Palatka Operations.
In 1982 he was promoted to Vice President of the Palatka Operations and given additional responsibilities of the Port Hudson, Louisiana Operations. In 1983 he was named Vice President, Southern Pulp and Paper Manufacturing Division which included the Palatka and Port Hudson plus the Crossett, Arkansas Operation. In 1984 he also assumed responsibility for the Monticello, Mississippi Liner Board Operations. In January 1985, he relocated to Georgia Pacific’s new headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1987 he was promoted Senior Vice President, Pulp and Paper Manufacturing with the responsibility for all of GP’s 13 plants in the United States and 4 in Great Britain. Three Division Vice Presidents reported to him. In 1990 GP reorganized along product lines and he assumed responsibility for the sales and manufacturing of Bleached Pulp and Board Businesses. His direct reports were a VP of Sales, VP of manufacturing, controller and a Director of Human Resources for the business unit. He retired on October 31, 1992 and became a full time Consultant for Georgia Pacific in Latin America from 1992 to 1995. After 1995, he continued as a Consultant to Latin America Tissue Manufacturing Companies until 2017 when he retired permanently, at age 90, to be a caregiver for his wife, Katie, who had developed Alzheimer’s.
In Civic and Community Affairs he was active over the years in the following organizations:
Member and Shareholder of the Board of Atlantic National Bank, Palatka from 1980-1987.
Member of the Putnam Community Medical Center Board of Trustees on five separate terms since 1982 and in 2022 was named Trustee Emeritus.
Appointed by Governor Bob Graham to the St. Johns River Water Management District in 1983.
Member of the Advisory Board of First Union Bank from 1987 to 1998.
Member of the Advisory Board of Capital City Bank from 1998 to 2021.
Chairman of the Palatka Housing Authority Board for 21 years.
Chairman of the Putnam County Nursing Home Authority for 9 years.
Past Executive Committee Member, Florida Chamber
Past Executive Committee Member, North Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Past Board Member, ARC
Past Executive Board Member, St. Augustine Technical Center
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Hall of Fame Inductee 2013.
Recognized in 2018 by the Putnam County Chamber with the Wes Larson Living Legacy Award.
Received the Silver Beaver Award from the North Florida District Boy Scouts of America in 2020.
Trustee Emeritus, University of North Florida Foundation.
He was presently serving in the following organizations:
Past President and Director, nonprofit Rodeheaver Boys Ranch
Trustee and Executive Committee Member, St. Johns River State College Foundation.
President, nonprofit Rodeheaver Foundation since 2002.
Advisory Board Member, Haven Hospice – Roberts Care Center, Palatka.
Director and Past President, Rotary Club of Palatka.
Past President and Member, Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.
Appointed Chairman of the newly organized nonprofit Haven Hospice Foundation in 2021.
On October 14, 2022, was awarded an honorary Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Johns River State College.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Catherine G. “Katie” Martinez and his parents, Jose Martinez and Marina Hevia Martinez.
Danny is survived by his children, David Martinez and wife Kris of St. Simons Island, GA, Bruce Martinez of Palm Beach Gardens and Arlene Col and husband Doug of Johns Creek, GA, 6 Grandchildren, Kyle Martinez and wife Ellen, Caitlin Burge and husband Jason, Daniel Carter Martinez and wife Michaela, Jacob Martinez, Taylor Haines and husband Carter and Anna Col and 2 great-grandchildren, Elliot Daniel Martinez and Lily Martinez.
Services honoring the life of Danny Martinez will be at 11:00 A.M. Friday, October 13, 2023 at the Florida School of the Arts Auditorium on the Campus of St. Johns River State College in Palatka. Speaking at the services will be President Joe Pickens, Ben Bates, Wayne McClain and the Honorable Edward Hedstrom. Entombment will follow at Palatka Memorial Gardens with the United States Army conducting military honors and Chaplain Michelle Lawson officiating the committal service.
In lieu of flowers, it was Danny’s request that memorial donations be sent to the Haven Hospice Foundation, 4200 NW 90th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32606 or to the Rodeheaver Foundation, 380 Boys Ranch Road, Palatka, FL 32177.
Memories and condolences may be expressed to the family at Danny’s Book of Memories page at www.johnsonoverturffunerals.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka.