Mourners at vigil remember slain Arlington Heights couple as two who served others
Friends and colleagues of retired Wheeling High School teacher Anne Martin and her husband, David, celebrated their lives and mourned their loss during an evening vigil at the school Wednesday, four days after authorities allege the Arlington Heights couple were fatally stabbed by their daughter.
Deacon Tom Westerkamp of St. James Catholic Church in Arlington Heights told the crowd he would endeavor to take on the difficult task of making sense of a senseless tragedy. He said he recognized in David a fellow father and husband whose instinct always was to try to fix things, from his devotion to his own family to his outreach to lonely nursing home residents.
"He served God by serving others, and that's what we're all called to do," Westerkamp said.
The Martins -- 71-year-old Anne and 72-year-old David -- were found dead in their home on Derbyshire Lane early Saturday. Their daughter, 43-year-old Deborah Jane Martin, is being held without bail, charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Anne Martin taught at Wheeling High School from 1995 until her retirement in 2014. But during the five years since, she has occasionally returned to teach psychology and English as a Second Language classes as a substitute, as well as to administer placement tests.
"She was the go-to person to call when we needed a substitute," teacher Sandra Chico said. "She loved students. She loved being around students."
So strong was her bond with some of her former pupils that she even got to know their children, Chico said.
Fellow teacher Rebecca Castro said the Martins were deeply involved in the community, with David helping organize some of the relief efforts for those displaced by last summer's massive condominium fire in Prospect Heights.
David Martin worked for Motorola in a variety of roles over about three decades, most recently as a software quality manager from 1999 to 2008, according to his online LinkedIn profile.
He previously served as an electronics technician in the Navy during the Vietnam War and was a very active member of Vietnam Veterans of America 311 in Des Plaines for the past five years.
During that time he and fellow member Al Piskorski of Arlington Heights learned to play the guitar. Piskorski said it was David Martin who pushed him into their doing a concert of '50s and '60s rock music for seniors last Christmas. In a similar vein, he worked at Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital to give guitars to patients who took to it during their treatment.
"I don't know how many lives he touched through that," said Bill Christiansen, president of VVA 311. "He was an integral part of the chapter. He was quiet, yet he knew what to say and when to say it."
Even among a group of men who'd served in Vietnam, the news of the Martins' deaths has been especially devastating, Christiansen said.
"When I ws notified of it, I had to brace myself," he said.
Those grieving at the vigil found some relief in the presence of seven Golden Retriever comfort dogs provided by Northbrook-based Lutheran Church Charities. The help they can provide people in distress takes many forms, said Stephanie Keller, one of the handlers.
Visitation for Anne and David Martin is scheduled from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Lauterberg & Oehler Funeral Home, 2000 E. Northwest Hwy. in Arlington Heights. A funeral Mass will begin at 10 a.m. at St. James Church, 831 N. Arlington Heights Road, followed by interment at All Saints Catholic Cemetery in Des Plaines.
The couple had two children, a grandchild and three stepgrandchildren.
Deborah Martin, who lived with her parents off and on over the years including at the time of their deaths, is scheduled to next appear in court on June 27.