Resident Spotlight: Steve & Jeanette Martin


Jeanette and Stevens (Steve) Martin are good examples of the axiom that life begins after retirement. Although both were active early in life, traveling and experiencing new things continue to be a priority in their lives.

In a capsule, Jeanette and Steve have been to all fifty states and many of the Canadian provinces. They have visited most of the national and smaller parks in the United States, making many visits over a ten-year period in their motor home. According to Jeannette, “Parking a motor home in places it can’t possibly fit and living in such close quarters can really test a marriage. When Steve and I married, the naysayers said it wouldn’t last because of our different personalities. Our marriage has lasted over forty-six years. I guess we proved them wrong!”

The Martins have enjoyed extensive international travel as well. They honeymooned in Tahiti, which continues to be a favorite memory although they consider Portugal to be a close second. As seasoned travelers, the Martins usually plan their visits. Sometimes, misadventures occur. On one of their trips to France, after driving circles around their hotel for an hour, they finally discovered the entrance proved to look like a sidewalk. Another time, a faulty GPS took them to a dead end and a river they could not cross.

Both Jeanette and Steve are considered to be “Yankees” by birth. Jeanette was born in Lansing, Michigan, and Steve in Fort Dix, New Jersey. Jeanette’s father was a business owner, and her mother was a homemaker. She says she grew up in a family of practical jokers and learned early to laugh at herself. Her family owned a cottage on a lake; the family visited every weekend except during the winter. “That is why I fell in love with water,” says Jeanette. “I learned to water ski and swim, specializing in synchronized swimming.”

Following high school, Jeanette earned a B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and eventually an Ed.D. from the University of Memphis. She worked as secretary of the Driver Education Division, Michigan Department of Education; inventory control for Quaker Oates and Robert Bosch Corporation; and finally, twenty-five years as a professor at the University of Mississippi, retiring in 2016.

Steve says he had a happy and normal childhood. His father was an anesthesiologist, and his mother was a legal secretary and once served as secretary to the Governor of Wisconsin. Steve has worked his entire life, starting with a paper route and becoming a golf caddy.

While in high school, Steve played football and baseball but eventually realized he needed to alter his career options. He graduated from Hillsdale College with a B.S. in Business Administration. Following college, Steve taught high school mathematics for four years while also beginning a five-year racing career driving in the Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned events. After becoming the New England Region champion, Steve became an instructor. This interest led him to open a foreign car repair shop which eventually led him to be hired by the Robert Bosch Corporation in 1974. This just happened to be where a young lady by the name of Jeanette St. Claire was also working. At first, they were only friends, and then someone suggested she should consider dating Steve because he was a “teddy bear.” They were married in July 1976. 

Growing tired of ice and snow, Jeanette and Steve, along with their one-year-old daughter Andrea, moved to Memphis in 1979. This began for Steve a nineteen-year career with the Hunter Fan Company. During a vendor luncheon, he was approached with an opportunity to create a Marketing Communications Department with AOC, LLC (Alpha Corporation). In 2011, Steve retired as Director of Global Communications and Marketing Research. 

Jeanette and Steve joined the Discovery Club at Kirby Pines in 2016. However, in 2019, a serious kidney condition for Steve was diagnosed that required dialysis. Having already sold their home, the decision was made to move to Kirby Pines. They brought with them their cat Noire, who, according to Jeanette, “rules the roost.”

Since the move, Jeanette and Steve have continued many outside interests while also becoming very involved with the activities at Kirby Pines. No one could be any busier than the Martins! Much of their activity involves church. Previously as members of Holy Communion Episcopal Church, both were members of the Vestry; Steve served as an usher and stewardship chairman. Both completed the four-year Education for Ministry program. Now, as members of St. John’s Episcopal Church, they continue to be active. 

Wedding Day 1976

According to Jeanette, “Steve loves anything competitive. He believes if a score is kept, he wants to win.” Currently, this involves board games, golf, bridge, and poker. Steven also enjoys the Oasis, Men’s Saturday morning fellowship, and volunteering for the Theatre Group. He and Jeanette head up the duplicate and week-night bridge groups. Jeanette loves learning new things. In 2013, she learned to quilt, and her quilts are displayed on the Art Wall. She is now learning to quilt wool. 

As the New Year begins, the Martins are busy planning their activities for next year. Although they enjoy traveling, they also enjoy living at Kirby Pines. According to Jeanette, “We like the people and staff here and all the activities.” The Martins join me in wishing everyone a healthy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines