My name is Carla Dahl Jones. My husband and I have lived in Olympia, WA for over 40 years. I am Martin’s cousin and we grew up together.
We grew up in Park Rapids, a lovely, homey small town in northern Minnesota – (Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes). Families came to Park Rapids to vacation at the many resorts on surrounding lakes. In summer our town was filled with people – a fun time.
Everyone in the family always called him “Hap.” I understand that when he was born, the nurses in the hospital thought he was such a happy baby that they named him Hap. That nickname stayed with him.
In many ways we all had an idyllic childhood. There was me, I’m the oldest, then Hap, he was 1 year younger than me, my sister Linda, and my brother Mel.
In the summertime all of the adults in our family were busy working and the kids were footloose and fancy free! We had endless days of freedom and play. The only rule was “be sure to be home by suppertime.” The first day of summer vacation we took off our shoes and went barefoot until school started in the fall and we had to put them back on.
Because we were the oldest, Hap and I spent hours together every day. He always made me laugh and we had such fun exploring and going places and doing things that we shouldn’t do. Hiding seemed to be such fun.
There was a beautiful river right in town and that’s where the swimming beach was. We spent hours there, most of the time being intimidated by the big kids.
Of course we went to school together throughout the years. He was kind of a “geeky” kid with a quirky sense of humor. As he grew older, he became quite quick witted, sometimes droll, and comical in his way of thinking about the world. It was quite endearing.
He got those characteristics from his father, a very intelligent man. His mother was a warm, loving, kind person.
After high school, he attended the University of Minnesota and got a degree in education. That’s where he met Julie Barnes and they stayed close friends throughout his life.
Because there were no teaching jobs in Minneapolis after he graduated, he decided to move to Australia. I always thought that was a very adventurous and brave thing for him to do. There he got a teaching job and continued teaching until he retired.
Many times he spoke so fondly of his favorite students, which have continued to be his friends until the end. His birthday was March 15th and he told me that his favorite student came to his house with a birthday gift and spent time visiting with him that day.
Over the years Hap has visited several times, both in Park Rapids and in Olympia. In recent years we’ve enjoyed skyping or using messenger to stay in contact. In fact, even though he was in his hospital bed, we had a nice visit on the 12th, just 6 days before he died.
We’ve had such fun reminiscing about our childhood together all these years.
I feel so grateful that we shared our lives both as children and adults.
I will forever miss him.
August 26, 2021