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1950 Gary M. Martell 2024

Gary M. Martell

November 1, 1950 — June 30, 2024

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Gary M. Martell, 73, of Bethlehem passed away at peace in his home on June 30, 2024. Born in Philadelphia on November 1, 1950, he was the son of the late Violet M. (Thress) and Vincent J. Martell and beloved brother to the late John “Jake,” Dennis “Matt,” and Vincent “Horse” Martell. 

Gary graduated from Frankford High School (Philadelphia), Staunton Military Academy (Virginia), and Moravian College (Bethlehem), where he excelled in athletics, especially in track and football. From Moravian he went on to sign three one-year free agent contracts in the National Football League with the Baltimore Colts before returning to Bethlehem to finish his degree and begin what would become his great, lifelong passion for positively impacting young people’s lives as a coach and youth worker. 

For 42 years, Gary served the community at the Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem, starting as a bookkeeper and retiring in 2019 as Executive Director. He simultaneously enjoyed a long career as an assistant football coach at Moravian College. He was inducted into the Moravian College Hall of Fame in 1991, received the Haupert Humanitarian Award in 2023, and in the fall of 2023 the Greyhounds honored him for 50 combined years as a player or coach with the Moravian football program. He also spent many proud years coaching baseball at North Central Little League and Bethlehem Catholic High School. He was the definition of a “player’s coach” who modeled leadership, commitment, compassion, persistence, resiliency, and humility for the thousands of kids and young adults he coached and mentored.

Gary was a devout Catholic and regularly attended Mass at St. Anne’s Church. He routinely prayed for everyone he knew and anyone in need. He loved singing and dancing to oldies, praying the rosary, doing crossword puzzles, trivia, and reading the newspaper. He often told his children that the ocean was medicinal, especially in Wildwood, NJ, and he never missed an opportunity to take a swim when down the shore – no matter the time of year. Some of his happiest times were spent there, the Phillies game on the radio, oldies blaring from cars driving by, a paper on his lap under a beach umbrella, regaling his family with stories of him and his brothers from vacations past. No doubt he was also at home on just about any sports field. He loved all things athletics – coaching, playing, watching, and raising his kids on all the life lessons that could be learned on the basketball court, the softball diamond, the hockey rink, and more. He was deeply committed to and loved his organizations and his community: his teammates, club kids, and players. In many ways, they made up the fabric of who Gary was. He was always rooting for us all to overcome our hardships, be resilient, and succeed in both sports and life. 

Above all else, Gary’s family was his pride and joy. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 47 years, Barbara H. Martell, who he always said was his best friend and the prettiest girl he’d ever seen; his five children Colleen, Erin (husband Brian), Shawn (partner Robyn), Ryan (partner Taylor), and Maureen; and his four grandchildren: Rose, Fiona, Emmett, and Violet. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Donna, niece Bridget, and nephew Vincent Martell. He imparted many words of wisdom over the years, often about keeping things simple, waking up every morning and kicking ass, and putting God first, family second, and yourself third. But perhaps the most enduring legacy he gave to those of us lucky enough to call him Dad, Grandpop, and Uncle was that while life is full of hardships, we’re all born with the potential for great resilience and tenacity. Gary loved nothing more than having us all gathered telling stories at the kitchen table. His stories were full of mischief and larger than life characters. He was entertaining us, making us laugh, and sometimes cry, but mostly he was teaching us how to move through an often difficult world with confidence, humor, loyalty, and love. He was teaching us how to be the best version of ourselves and how to share that goodness with others. We will be forever grateful for his love and find comfort knowing he lives on in the many lives he touched along the way.

A viewing will be held on Sunday, July 7, 2024 from 4-7pm at Connell Funeral Home, 245 E. Broad St. Bethlehem, PA 18017. A viewing will also be held on Monday, July 8, 2024 from 9-10:15 am at Connell Funeral Home. Words of remembrance will be shared at 10:45 at St. Anne’s Church, 450 E. Washington Ave. Bethlehem, PA 18017. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be held at Holy Saviour Cemetery following Mass. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem at https://givebutter.com/donateBGCOB, or to the Moravian College Football Team through the Moravian Blue and Grey club at https://raisedonors.com/moravianuniversity/moravianathletics.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary M. Martell, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Public Viewing

Sunday, July 7, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Public Viewing

Monday, July 8, 2024

9:00 - 10:15 am (Eastern time)

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Mass

Monday, July 8, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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