Martin Cupic, 87, of Everett, passed away on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. He had battled congestive heart failure for the past couple of years.
Martin was the oldest child of Croatian immigrants Steve and Kata Cupic. Martin had a wonderful childhood growing up on Grand Avenue in Everett alongside his brother Pete and sister Helen. “Garlic Avenue,” as the neighborhood came to be known among locals, was a close-knit community of Croatians from the Dalmatian Coast who treasured food, song, dance and laughter.
Martin attended Immaculate Conception School and Everett High School, where he excelled at typing and shorthand – two skills that would serve him well when he joined the Navy.
After graduating from Everett High School in 1952, Martin attended Everett Community College for about a year and a half, then entered the Navy where he was stationed on the USS O’BRIEN in Long Beach, California. Martin’s sister, Helen, remembers the day that Martin left for the Navy. The entire family was sobbing and kissing Martin, “Like he was going off to war.” In fact, she said, because of his typing and shorthand skills, he was the secretary to the captain of the USS O’BRIEN during his two years of active service. That meant, she said, “he didn’t have to swab decks.”
After completing his stint in the Navy, Martin worked in commercial fishing for a couple of years and then became a longshoreman with ILWU Local 32. As a stevedore, Martin had a reputation for being one of the hardest working longshoremen in the union. Although his home port was Everett, he would frequently take jobs in other ports all along the coast – from Anacortes down to Portland – “doubling back,” working back-to-back jobs when he could.
Martin had to retire at around the age of 60 after suffering a stroke.
Martin was very close with his entire family. After his parents passed away, he was especially close to his sister Helen and her children, Marija and Vince, all of whom lived on adjoining or nearby houses on Grand Avenue.
Marija said that the majority of her childhood memories involve Martin. “He would take us everywhere,” she said. That included boat trips and long drives.
Martin owned several boats over his lifetime. He made his own small sailboat when he was young, then later bought a sailboat and finally became the owner of a motorized boat that was at least a 35-footer. He would take family and friends on cruises around Port Gardner and other locations around Puget Sound. Marija remembers trips to Rosario Beach, San Juan Island and Hat Island.
Martin was also an avid road tripper. After he retired from longshoring, he would take regular trips on Thursdays and Sundays throughout Washington. “He knew every highway, every byway, even gravel roads,” Helen said.
When Marija and Vince were still children, Martin would often rent a camper or motor home in the summer and head south to California. He took numerous trips to Disneyland with Marija and Vince. Sometimes Kata (“Baba”) was with them.
For many years, Martin was also well known in Everett for the elaborate nativity scenes he would build at Christmas time. His nativity scenes consistently won local awards. A piece in the Everett Herald reminisced about the nativity scenes Martin had built, saying Martin “was virtually invincible in early Christmas decorating contests as his Nativity Scene grew more elaborate each year, eventually filling the lawns of his neighbors.” The nativity scenes included a heavy, hand-built manger complete with stained glass, real hay, and mannequins for all of the principal players.
Martin was preceded in death by his parents Steve and Kata Cupic and brother Peter. Although a lifelong bachelor, Martin leaves behind a large extended family, including his devoted sister Helen, who was also his caregiver in his last years, and niece and nephew Marija and Vince Stone, and Vince’s wife, Paula Zuanich Stone. Other nieces and nephews include his brother Pete’s children, Steve Cupic, Renae Cupic, Michael Cupic and Peter Cupic, and several grandnephews.
Services for Martin Clement Cupic are pending.
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