Guillermo Martinez died unexpectedly at his home on Monday, July 20, 2020. He was born August 15, 1950 in Donna, Texas, son to Roman and Juana Alejandra (Garcia) Martinez.
The son of migrant farmworkers, Guillermo spent most of his childhood migrating with his family from Texas to Michigan. When he was eight years old, Roman and Alejandra decided to "plant roots" and stay in Fennville, Michigan.
At a young age, Guillermo's brother, Lorenzo, taught him to play the drums. His brothers also taught him to play, accordion, guitar and keyboard. He began playing/touring in the Midwest with a family band, Los Zinco Magnifikos. And so began his musical career!
After graduating from Fennville High School in 1970, he went on to attend Kalamazoo Valley Community College. During this time, he began his lifetime's passion of advocating for migrant farmworkers as a recruiter for the Fennville Migrant Summer school program.
He met Alicia, got married and started a family in 1973. They had 4 children and 7 grandchildren. While raising his family, Guillermo played the musical genres of Tejano, Norteño, and TexMex as a member of; The Outsiders, The Low Riders, Karizma Band, Suave Band and Los Bandits de Michigan.
Over the years, Guillermo worked with the state of Michigan in various positions, including the Commission of Spanish Speaking Affairs (now HLCom), the United Way Hispanic American Council, and Michigan Works as an Agricultural Employment Specialist.
Guillermo gave his time to many groups and organizations advocating for farmworker rights, immigration reform, and cultural diversity. He was a poet and singer/songwriter who gave lessons to aspiring guitar and accordion players. He also gave performances at area schools promoting cultural diversity and remembering Cesar Chavez.
Guillermo was well known for his hard work, kind heart and encouraging words. He was a great friend, a wonderful father and always instilled the importance of familia. Immediate and extended family alike, Guillermo always had an understanding ear, sound advice and words of encouragement.
"NEVER LET ANYONE STEAL YOUR DREAM".
Guillermo was preceded in death by his parents; five siblings, Jesus Martinez, Santiaga Almanza, Maria de los Angeles Rodriguez, Ignacia Martinez, and Maria de la Paz Hernandez and her husband, Tiburcio Hernandez; grandson, Cesar Roman Martinez-Serratos; extended son-in-law, Carnell "Bootsy" Jackson. He is survived by four children, Patricia Martinez-Serratos and her husband, Arturo Serratos, Vincente Martinez, Soluna Martinez, and Celeste Martinez and her partner, Karl Krapf; seven grandchildren, Emilio, Amarissa (Efren), Aryana, Alejandra, Zequías, Karlee, and Génesis; three brothers, Lorenzo (Lola) Martinez, Alejo (Calletana) Martinez, and Jose (Sally) Martinez; bother-in-law Maximino Rodriguez; sister-in-law, Amparo Martinez; many nieces and nephews; former wife, Alicia Gomez Martinez; partner, Melody Pott; extended family, Lauren and her husband, Gerardo Hernandez, Allison Pott; three extended grandsons Damon, Evan and Rowin; and his dog, "Tui".
Cremation has taken place at Langeland Family Cremation Center, 6628 Tall Oaks Dr., Kalamazoo, MI 49009. A service to celebrate Guillermo's life will be held later. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to VOCES. Make checks payable to VOCES- memo: SWM Cesar Chavez Committee. Addressed to VOCES- ATTN: SWM Cesar Chavez Committee, 520 W Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, MI 49037. Services entrusted to Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St., Kalamazoo MI 49009. To view Guillermo's personalized web page, please visit https://www.langelands.com
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