Obituaries, Week of May 11, 2024

Deacon German Martinez, a retired deacon of the Diocese of Brooklyn who served at Transfiguration Church, Williamsburg, was born on Oct. 11, 1937, was ordained to the diaconate on June 14, 1975, and died Tuesday, April 23, 2024. 

Deacon Martinez was considered by his peers to be a pioneer, having been ordained in 1975 as the first Latino deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn. It was not until 1977 that the first class of a Latino diaconate was formed in the diocese by then-Bishop of Brooklyn Francis Mugavero. 

Deacon Martinez was assigned to Transfiguration in Williamsburg, where he spent his entire service as a deacon. 

“Deacon German Martinez served his Church for over 40 years,” said Father Jeremias Castillo, current pastor of Transfiguration Church, who delivered the homily at the funeral Mass for Deacon Martinez. “In his 40 years of service, he performed over 1,000 baptisms and married many couples.” 

“He worked and retired from Casa Betsaida (part of Catholic Charities) where he cared for homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS, providing a stable, peaceful, and spiritual environment,” Father Castillo said. 

The priest added that Deacon Martinez was a humble and simple man who came from humble beginnings. He took pride in his Puerto Rican heritage. He loved his wife of 57 years, Edith, who passed away in 2017. She too was dedicated to serving the Church. 

Together they had two children, including German Jr., who passed away in 1981. Their daughter, Edith Bartels, cared for Deacon Martinez until his passing on April 23. He’s survived by his daughter Edith, grandchildren Victor, Jason, Hailey, and Robert, and his great-grandchildren John, Sophia, Brandon, and Charlotte. 

Being the first Hispanic deacon ordained in Brooklyn, he related to the Hispanic community, whom he loved dearly, and the love was returned, according to Father Castillo. 

Deacon Martinez’s Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Transfiguration Church in Williamsburg on Saturday, April 27. 

The celebrant was Bishop Witold Mroziewski, and Father Castillo was the homilist. Burial followed at Evergreens Cemetery, Brooklyn.