Dan Martin, 05/05/1937 – 04/14/2023

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Dan’s Obituary from his Sonia Martin

Daniel Clay Martin peacefully joined his Heavenly Father on April 14, 2023. Born on May 5, 1937, in Fort Worth, Texas, Dan was the second son of the late S.R. (Sennie Rudolph) Martin and Primrose O. Martin. He embarked on a remarkable journey filled with love, passion, and dedication.

Dan’s early years were spent in Fort Worth until his family eventually settled in Seaside, CA. In 1943, his father founded the Victory Temple Church of God in Christ, which became a cherished part of their lives. Alongside his brother, Rudy, Dan gained recognition as a member of the renowned quartet, The Seaside Harmony Four.

Upon graduating from Monterey High School in 1955, Dan’s commitment to serving others led him to join the Air Force the very next day. While this decision caused some anxiety for his parents, he served honorably until his discharge in 1959. Returning to Seaside, Dan worked alongside his father and Deacon B.F. Neal, engaging in various tasks such as building and painting houses. He even owned a gas station during this time.

Dan’s thirst for knowledge and personal growth led him to pursue education at Monterey Peninsula College. Excelling in his classes, particularly in Administration of Justice, he began his career with the Seaside Police in 1962. From 1965 to 1968, he served as the Juvenile officer, forging close ties with the local schools. It was during this period that he met and fell in love with his wife, Sonia Missirlian, a teacher at M.L. King Jr. High. They joined in marriage in 1971.

While working as a police officer, Dan continued his education at Monterey Peninsula College, where one of his instructors encouraged him to pursue higher education. Determined, he established a five-year plan to earn his degree at San Jose State and subsequently attend law school, aspiring to teach Administration of Justice courses. Despite having completed only 40 units at MPC, Dan demonstrated exceptional commitment and excelled, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

To support his college education, Dan seized an opportunity to work with Catholic Charities, overseeing the development of a Youth Center in San Jose. He also collaborated with the San Jose Police Department as a civilian member of a neighborhood task force, alongside two SJPD officers. Eventually, he was accepted into Santa Clara University law school, aided by Judge Edwin Owens, whom he had met through Catholic Charities. In 1973, Dan proudly graduated from law school.

During a police conference, Dan encountered instructors from Diablo Valley College (DVC) who encouraged him to apply as a replacement for an Administration of Justice instructor on sabbatical. This marked the beginning of his remarkable career at DVC, spanning nearly 30 years. In 1993, he was honored as a Kellogg Fellow and participated in a training cohort for future administrators. Later that year, Dan assumed the role of Dean of Student Services, overseeing the construction of the Student Union building. He was known as an advocate for teachers and students. He concluded his educational journey at DVC as the vice-president of Student Services in 2002.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Dan possessed a deep passion for football. When his sons, DC and Dontay, expressed an interest in playing, he eagerly volunteered as a coach, leading their teams to consistent victories. He was an avid supporter of the San Francisco 49ers, holding season tickets since 1971. Tailgates with family and friends at Candlestick and later Levi’s Stadium were always a source of joy and camaraderie.

In his leisure time, Dan cherished opportunities to fish, hunt, and camp. He embarked on memorable trips across Canada, the United States, and various locations throughout California, accompanied by his beloved wife, Sonia, their daughter, Beth, and sons, DC and Dontay. These adventures allowed them to forge precious family memories.

While Dan found immense pleasure in his possessions, such as his motorhome, new pontoon boat, and cars, he regarded them merely as tools to share with loved ones. Countless individuals considered him a mentor and father figure, seeking his guidance and looking up to him as a leader. Although he was ordained as an Elder in the Church of God in Christ in 2012, Dan believed his calling was best fulfilled through less visible leadership roles.

Dan’s legacy lives on through his cherished family, who find solace in the joyful memories of his extraordinary life. He is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 52 years, Sonia (Missirlian), a daughter, Beth Paul (Tony), and their son, Jaden; two sons, Daniel Clay Martin III (DC), Amber and daughter, Dallas; and Dontay Pernell, Melissa and their son, Julian, also carry his memory in their hearts.

Additionally, Dan leaves behind two brothers-in-law, a sister-in-law, numerous nephews and nieces, a wide array of cousins, countless dear friends, fishing and hunting buddies, and former colleagues at Diablo Valley College. Together, they will celebrate the remarkable life he led and the treasured friendships he cultivated.


In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests considering donations in Dan’s name to the GVT Youth Group, honoring Dan’s commitment to empowering and supporting young individuals.