In Memory of

Joseph Dean Martin

September 19, 1970 - January 18, 2024


Joseph Dean Martin – 09/19/1970 – 01/18/2024 Joseph Dean Martin passed away on January 18th, 2024, after a brief battle with the consequences of an entertaining, fun-filled life that included more than a few poor decisions that probably seemed like really good ideas at the time. A mountain of a man, Joe had a massive heart, an easy laugh, and was one of the truest, most loyal friends most of us will ever know. He loved his family dearly, tried their patience constantly, and played the role of “fun uncle” better than anyone’s ever done it.

Born in Bellevue, Washington, Joe’s parents, Dean and Paulla Martin, soon moved Joe and brother Jim back to the Kansas City area, eventually settling in Paulla’s hometown of Lake Lotawana. Joe attended Mason Elementary, served as a rock-solid base of the pyramids in Ski Club, and struck out almost every batter he saw in baseball. After making it through Pleasant Lea Middle School and Lee’s Summit High School, Joe attended University of Missouri, Columbia for a semester and was instrumental in securing that school’s reputation as a top party school in the country.

After a few more tries at college, Joe enlisted in the United States Air Force where his big-man stature was perfectly suited for the Security Police. He completed boot camp and SP training in San Antonio, Texas and served in many places across the US along with South Korea. One of his most memorable experiences was guarding the newly-released-to-the-public F-117 Stealth Fighter at an airshow at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base soon after Desert Storm.

After his active-duty time in the Air Force, Joe moved to Warrensburg, Missouri and put his imposing size and Security Police Training to work as a bouncer, manager, bartender, rancher, and DJ at several establishments in the area. His big bear-hugs and caring demeanor endeared him to the locals. Almost everyone in the “Burg” knew Joe and had a “Joe” story about his late-night escapades. He truly earned the title of “King of Warrensburg”.

Joe then relinquished his throne, moved to Key West, Florida and lived a life many of us were jealous of. There he tended a bar at Schooner Wharf, DJed on a local radio station, and simply enjoyed the tropical Key West life.

Eventually, Joe moved back to Lake Lotawana and became a bartender at the Marina Grog and Galley. His caring soul and natural charisma were perfectly suited for this gig. Everyone loved to come to the “Grog” just to have a drink with Joe. He poured generously from the bottles as well as his heart, and made his customers feel like family.

Joe is most remembered as the Voice of Lotawana Day. He called the swim races and was the MC for the Ski Show. His DJ voice that he learned in Warrensburg and perfected in Key West made this event truly memorable every year.

Joe is survived by his father and mother, Dean and Paulla Martin of Lake Lotawana, MO; his two brothers and sister, Jim Martin (Samantha), Jon Martin (Morgan), and Jenny Wickstrom (Ryan), and 8 nieces and nephews – Greg Martin, Lynn Martin, Nile Martin, Emmett Martin, Milly Martin, Murphy Martin, Mona Martin, Annali Wickstrom.

Services will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lee’s Summit on January 27th at 11 AM with a reception following at the Missouri Yacht Club in Lake Lotawana.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Lake Lotawana Parks and Recreation, Lotawana Day Fund. These may be sent to LLPR, ℅ Amy Valmassei, 1 C St, Lake Lotawana, MO.

Arrangements by Langsford Funeral Home, 115 SW 3rd Street, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063


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Absolutely written in true Martin style! Heartfelt and fun – like Joe. Love to the entire Martin clan 💖

You cannot write the history of Lake Lotawana without including Joe Martin. My favorite memories of Joe were seeing him perched on the upper deck of the MYC and hearing him call play by play for the ski show and swim races during Lotawana Day. I remember one year that Joe wasn’t able to be there for Lotawana Day, and it just wasn’t the same without him. Thanks for all the memories and may you rest in peace big fella. Love, the Manz family.

Well, we will sure miss Joe. He did have a huge heart for people. I remember when he wanted to help with my grade school photo competition. He dressed up in his uniform and makeup and climbed a tree as I took the photo. It was a great photo that won first place. But the best part was Joe who was always excited to help. Unfortunately, we will be out of the country this weekend so we won’t be able to make the funeral. But our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

What an uplifting way to honor Joe–such heartfelt truth wrapped in grace and love–so perfect for the boy and man he was!! Love and prayers to all the family!!

I loved Joe when he was a young boy, a teen and as an adult…he was warm, hysterically funny and gave the very best bear hugs. I was honored when he asked me to co-emcee the ski show with him a few times when we were visiting. We laughed and reminisced about our earlier years as we called out the skiers and events from his perch. He was the very best. I will deeply miss his texts checking in on me and his warm, loving hugs. Love to the whole family. I remain heartbroken.

When we last saw Joe during one of our Lotawana visits I was the lucky recipient of a “Joe bear hug”. He was a very special kind of man & so loved. I remember holding him as a baby with his red hair & beautiful eyes.
I send my love to Paulla & Dean. I wish I could attend his funeral service.
Joanie & Dan Morse

What a great tribute to great guy! Everyone loved Joe, and he loved us all right back. Gretchen and I have so many happy memories of spending time at Lake Lotawana growing up, and of course the Martins were a big part of that. Joe will be missed and well remembered by many. Wish we could be there next weekend. Sending love to you all. ❤️

We were heartbroken to hear the news of Joe’s passing. John and I are so very sorry we’ll be out of the country and unable to attend his services this weekend. The Entire Martin Family is in our prayers.

All my love and support to the Martin family. Jonathan makes my time at work more meaningful and enjoyable, and it’s the least I can do to be here for him during difficult times. Thanks, Jonathan. I’m here whenever you need me.

BINGO! He yelled when the work area is too quite. Following ,overwhelming laughter from everyone. Joe made work fun and productive. His smile, friendship and caring spirit is real. Thank you Joe

I first met Joe working at Home Depot. We worked in paint together, and I was the one who trained him. His first order of business was to nickname me Boots, because I always wore cowboy boots. He was my Teddy Bear. Many times, I would seek him out just for the hugs that felt safe and warm. Envious of his worldly travels, exciting escapades and thoughtful but serious moments, I listened with fascination to his stories of his life experiences. He talked about his family with love for them in his voice, and about all the great friends he made throughout life. We would go out and play pool, or grab some pizza, coca-cola and Jack Daniel’s and watch movies. He always made sure to walk me to my car when the evening was finished and made sure I made it home. We talked cars (love the classics), sports, food, music-just about anything we wanted. We even went to a dinner party one time. We never got to have that last date we planned, and that is something I will think about for the rest of my life. My birthday will always be bittersweet now, as he was laid to rest on that day. I miss you Joe. Rest in paradise love. We’ll meet again.


Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063


Saturday, January 27, 2024
11:00 AM
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
416 SE Grand Ave
Lees Summit, MO 64063