Monday, November 28, 2011

C. Dean Martin

"That's just crazy!"

These are the words I'd often hear from C. Dean Martin when talking about Whatcom County Planning these past two years.  Dean passed away in his sleep last night.  The cause of death is unknown, but Dean was hit by a car the day before Thanksgiving while crossing Northwest and Illinois.  He suffered four fractures from that accident.

I was fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of working with Dean at Whatcom County.  Dean was hired on in early 2008 as the Senior Planner responsible for the county's agricultural program.  Dean had a great career already, having been a lead conservationist in the State of Missouri (if memory serves me well) and was an elected official.  Dean was passionate about agriculture and passionate about conservation.

And he was passionate about local conservation and good planning.  Since being laid off by the County in June 2010, Dean had volunteered his time through his church (Unitarian), neighborhood (Columbia) and with several local election campaigns.  Dean could be seen answering the door in Christina Maginnis' campaign video, and was a regular volunteer knocking on doors for candidates that supported conservation efforts. 

Dean also challenged Whatcom County on several growth management cases -- and I believe won every one of them.  Last Monday, if Dean was there at the latest Growth Management Hearings Board case, he would have just shook his head when the County said that "rural lands ARE the buffer to agriculture."  That's just crazy. 

Dean's lovely wife, Carol, resides here in Bellingham.  Dean is also survived by two accomplished daughters.  He was a great man, committed conservationist, and friend.  In signing out of any email, this is what Dean had to say:

"The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land"

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and the beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac. 1949.

Thanks for all you did, Dean.  We'll keep up the good fight for conservation, because "its just crazy" not to.