IN MEMORIAM: John Martin, 72, organized programs for at-risk kids

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By John Rice

Columnist / Staff reporter

John Joseph Martin, 72, of Forest Park, died on May 22, 2017. Born on March 12, 1945, he earned an M.A. in Special Education from Loyola University. He served as executive director at Chicago Area Alternative Education League (CAAEL) since 1980 and was also a longtime coach of youth sports in his hometown of Forest Park.

His daughter, Sarah Lorenzi, said, "The world lost one heck of a guy today, just three weeks after we found out he had melanoma. We are shocked and devastated by this loss and will forever have a huge hole in our hearts. Our dad was larger than life and lived his life with integrity, honesty and character. He taught us that being kind without expectation is the truest form of kindness, to give without expecting anything in return. He taught us what's important in life — people, not things. He spent his years helping others and to say that he's done his part in changing the lives of some of the neediest kids in Illinois would be an understatement. We are humbled and proud to be able to carry on his CAAEL legacy. He was the most amazing father to us, coaching our teams, being present at every single event or game we participated in. He was a simple, laid back and easy-going guy who loved his Cubbies."

John is survived by Andrea, his partner of 40 years; his daughters, Sarah T. Lorenzi (Gerry) and Katy Martin (Ken). He was the proud grandfather of Madison, Olivia, Laila, Brynna and Grant. 

His wake will be held on Wednesday, May 24, from 3 to 9 p.m., at Woodlawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park, 7750 W. Cermak Road, Forest Park. A service will be held there on Thursday, May 25 at 10:15 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m., at St. Bernardine's Catholic Church, 7246 Harrison, Forest Park. Interment will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf, Hillside. 

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to carry on the legacy of CAAEL at 

John Rice

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Art Kazar from Forest Park  

Posted: May 26th, 2017 11:39 AM

This is sad news. I first met John several years ago at Circle Inn. We immediately got into a good natured love/hate relationship because he was a die hard Cubs fan and I was a die hard White Sox fan. Went to several of the CAAEL events, but missed the last few years. My deepest condolences to his family.

Terri Sansone  

Posted: May 23rd, 2017 6:55 PM

One of the good guys..he will be missed. Rest in Peace John.

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