Lenoir man remembered for generosity | Archives


For a lot of his life, Silvio Martinat Jr. all the time stored his trumpet close by.

Martinat, 92, who died Dec. 4, was a founding member of The Silvio Martinat Swing Band, which first fashioned in 1986 as a efficiency class at Caldwell Neighborhood Faculty and Technical Institute.

Dr. David Abernathy, who performs drums within the band, stated Martinat’s fashion stood out.

“Silvio had a tone, a manner of enjoying, a mode that match that music, match that period. It’s type of like seeing Frank Sinatra, in an period or time when males wore French cuff shirts, and so they had form of tans to them. That they had form of that suave look to them. … Silvio was like that in a musical sense. He was completely different than all the opposite trumpeters that have been within the band,” Abernathy stated. “He introduced different music right here for folks to listen to that was from a unique period, however from a fantastic period. … I feel that was a fantastic legacy that he gave to us.”

His spouse, Lida Martinat, stated that the band was extremely essential to Silvio, and whereas he couldn’t play in his later years, “he would all the time go to the live shows.”

John Craig, a trumpeter who’s now the chief of the band, stated he and Silvio all the time stood by one another once they performed.

“He had a fantastic tone. The trumpet sound was … pure soul,” he stated.

Martinat’s music was central to his life, however it was not the one factor that outlined him. Family and friends of Martinat bear in mind a cultured man who delivered to the neighborhood each a pointy enterprise sense and a deep generosity that underscored all that he did.

Martinat studied enterprise at UNC Chapel Hill, then got here house and took over Hibriten Motors in 1948.

He and Lida knew each other when Lida was a young person. Years later, in 1983, after Lida was separated from her first husband and Martinat’s first spouse had handed away, the 2 have been at Grandfather Mountain, and Lida requested Silvio for instructions.

“And he stated, in the event you’ll wait simply 5 minutes, … you’ll be able to comply with me out, and we’ll cease down … and have a beer,” she stated in an interview.

The 2 shared a birthday, April 14 — he was born in 1928 and she or he in 1948 — and for the subsequent three years Lida despatched Silvio a birthday present. After the third, Silvio requested her out once more.

“We performed tag for 3 years earlier than we began courting,” she stated. “We flirted backwards and forwards simply on our birthdays. On that third birthday then, we made a date.”

Lida stated that along with his position at Hibriten Motors, Martinat additionally was identified for an uncommon pastime — he stored mountain lions as pets.

Lida stated that Silvio vacationed in Florida within the winter, and he as soon as stumbled throughout a roadside stand the place you would pay to view the cougars. Someday, the proprietor of the stand informed Silvio he was closing the enterprise, and Silvio determined to purchase the cats. He stored them on his farm in Decrease Creek, “after which they began having infants,” Lida stated.

Silvio additionally stored different giant cats, together with bobcats and ocelots. Someday within the Eighties or early Nineteen Nineties, he relinquished the cats to a habitat at Grandfather Mountain.

Silvio was the son of first-generation Italian immigrants and was born in the US after his dad and mom came to visit from Italy. His household began a Waldensian bakery in Valdese, and at one level Silvio labored on the bakery along with his dad and mom.

Silvio grew to be a profitable businessman and infrequently helped others get their very own companies began, Lida stated.

He additionally helped discovered The Caldwell Home, a midway home for folks combating habit, a trigger that was near his coronary heart as a result of his father struggled with alcoholism.

His success in enterprise was underscored by a deep sense of honesty.

“If he informed you one thing … you would take it to the financial institution,” Lida stated. “He’s essentially the most sincere man I’ve ever identified in my total life. … He had a coronary heart of gold,” and whereas he was frugal, “if somebody wanted assist, he’d be on it.”

She stated that Silvio was additionally lucky in his pals. He had identified his pal Invoice Tysinger, who died the day after Silvio, since they have been youngsters.

“Me and … (Tysinger’s daughter-in-law) stated they have been most likely enjoying ball up within the clouds now,” she stated.

Lida stated that she has hardly processed the truth that Silvio is gone.

“Silvio is the one individual that has ever liked me unconditionally and put me first, and I did him,” she stated.

Reporter Kara Fohner will be reached at 828-610-8721.

Reporter Kara Fohner will be reached at 828-610-8721. 


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