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Remembering Dr. Martinello, A Friend of Special Collections

August 3, 2015
Image from Office of University Communications Photographs, UA 16.01.01

Image from Office of University Communications Photographs, UA 16.01.01

The members of the Special Collections department were saddened to hear the news that Dr. Marian Martinello passed away on July 24, 2015. A significant figure in the development of UTSA, she served as a professor in the College of Education and Human Development from 1975 to 2000. In 2011 she became a founding member of the UTSA Retired Faculty Association (RFA) and served as its president beginning in 2014. Dr. Martinello worked on several projects that connected Special Collections and UTSA Libraries to her work with the RFA. This past March she had the idea to stage a chili tasting and presentation for members of the association, introducing them to the staff who developed and created the Gebhardt Mexican Foods Company virtual exhibit.

Dr. Martinello was an enthusiastic advocate for documenting, preserving, and sharing UTSA history. She encouraged her fellow retired faculty colleagues to contribute their own memories of the early days on campus to the RFA’s Oral History Project, which documents the history of UTSA. Last year she presented at the 2014 Texas State Historical Association annual meeting in San Antonio. She spoke on “Photographic Evidence of Change in the University’s Development,” a project in which she gathered photographs of significant events in the university’s history. Many of the photographs were from our University Archives and historical San Antonio photograph collections.

Her excitement for local history was a catalyst for her extensive use of historical materials from our collections. Dr. Martinello was a familiar sight in our reading rooms, using our primary sources for her books, particularly our Mexican Cookbook and our photograph collections. She published more than a dozen books throughout her career, including Chili Queen: Mi historia, a novel that was released earlier this year.

Dr. Martinello made an impression on our department on a personal level; we considered her a friend. Special Collections staff member Melissa Gohlke had frequent contact with Dr. Martinello as a reading room patron. She had this to say:

“Punctual, polite, and a delight to be around, she spent many hours in the JPL reading room. Dr. Martinello always thanked us for our assistance; she made everyone feel important and their contributions valued. She was a gentle, warm, and kind person who will be missed.”

Image from Gil Barrera Photographs of the University of Texas at San Antonio, MS 27

Image from Gil Barrera Photographs of the University of Texas at San Antonio, MS 27

Image from Gil Barrera Photographs of the University of Texas at San Antonio, MS 27

Image from Gil Barrera Photographs of the University of Texas at San Antonio, MS 27

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Thomas Hewxister permalink
    August 3, 2015 10:15 am

    I was saddened to learn of Prof. Martinello’s death. Knowing her since the early days at UTSA, she had accomplished so much & made many contributions to the growth of the university. Thanks to Top Shelf for this tribute to her

    • Thomas Hewxister permalink
      August 3, 2015 10:16 am

      Thomas Hester…

  2. Juli McLoone permalink
    August 5, 2015 3:54 pm

    Marian was a lovely person and a delightful writer. Chili Queens and The Search for Emma’s Story were some of the first books on Texas history that I read after moving to San Antonio. Her enthusiasm and dedication to UTSA will be especially missed.

  3. John Alsbury permalink
    September 3, 2015 9:36 pm

    I am deeply saddened to hear this news. Dr Marian Martinello was an amazing professor and an early mentor of mine. It was such a pleasure to have studied under her watchful eyes. Rest in Peace.

  4. Kay Robbins permalink
    October 6, 2015 3:17 pm

    Marian was an inspiration to all of us and a strong and articulate advocate of interdisciplinary inquiry — she got us talking together — we will miss her.

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