Martin M. Herzog, Jr. died in Fairbanks on Tuesday morning, June 18, 2019. He packed a lot of life in his 90 ½ years. He represented the American melting pot when he was born in Stockton, California on October 8, 1928 to a Hungarian-immigrant father and a California pioneer mother. Martin, or Marty, grew up with three brothers and four sisters in a neighborhood made up of first-generation Americans. He apprenticed to an auto-mechanic at an early age and went on to repair, own, and sell many cars that are now considered classics. He was a charter member of the Porsche Club of America. Martin was also a lifelong enthusiast of motorcycles, hunting, and fishing.
In 1951, he met and married Alice Silva. Together they had one daughter, Joanna, in Riverside, California. Martin later moved back to Stockton and went to work in the sound business, providing sound equipment for events and installing audio equipment in various businesses. After marrying Jean Ann Bryan in 1962, they took their honeymoon trip to Alaska where they hunted caribou at Butcher’s Hunting Camp at Tangle Lakes on the Denali Highway. The old joke was that Jean’s caribou was larger than Martin’s. They fell in love with the outdoor opportunities in 1960s Alaska and moved there for good shortly after the birth of their daughter, Denise.
Martin and Jean made their home in Anchorage, where Martin continued working in the audio business and later as a mechanic. Every Friday afternoon, they would pack their gear and Denise in their truck and head for the rivers and streams of the Kenai Peninsula, mainly the Moose River. During this time, Martin also found the time to learn how to fly and he went on to own several small planes. In 1976, Martin and Jean bought a placer claim on Cache Creek in the Yentna Mining District. There they mined every summer until 1999. In about 1990, they decided to spend the winters in Carson City, but they always headed north every spring to spend the summer mining. They eventually decided that the annual commute was a little long and moved back to Alaska, settling in Fairbanks to be near Denise. Using his superb auto body skills, he restored a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger, which he took to many car shows. He had a whole wall of trophies to show for his efforts.
After Jean died of cancer in 2001, Martin soothed his grief with new adventures. He bought a new truck, a camper, and a C-Dory boat where he treated many of his family and friends to adventures in Prince William Sound. When his world became a little smaller, due to Parkinson’s Disease, he moved to Raven Landing. He loved the community there and made himself a volunteer groundskeeper and horseshoe champion. In January 2018, Martin moved to his last home at the Fairbanks Pioneers Home. Even while suffering from dementia, Dad’s skill at making lasting friendships was remarkable.
Martin is survived by his daughters Joanna London (Gary) and Denise Herzog Cook (John), grandchildren Christina Winters, Tracey Harbo, Jack Cook, and Jeannie Cook, three great-grandchildren, brother Jerry Herzog (Melvie), and many nieces and nephews. We wish to thank the loving staff at Raven Landing, the Fairbanks Pioneers Home, and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. Martin created a sense of family wherever he went and we are forever grateful for your kindness.
A memorial will be held in the Rec Hall at the Pioneers Home on Wednesday, July 31 at 3pm.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Outdoor Heritage Foundation of Alaska (http://www.ohfak.org/). He would be very pleased to know that he was helping a whole new generation love the Alaskan outdoors.