William Martel

William Carl Martel

April 27, 1937 - March 4, 2020
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OWLS HEAD – William (Bill) Carl Martel, 82, passed away peacefully, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at the Owls Head Homestead.

Born April 27, 1937 in Rockland to Leo Joseph and Frances (Spear) Martel, Bill was educated in local schools and was a graduate of Rockland High School class of 1955.

Upon graduation Bill enlisted in the United States Air Force and was trained as an aircraft mechanic.
While stationed in South Carolina he met and courted Alice Jean Capell and they were married July 21, 1959.

Upon completion of his service, Bill attended the University of South Carolina from 1959 to 1961. He then transferred to the University of Maine in Orono in 1961, where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 1963.

Bill’s degrees in Mathematics and Education quickly earned him work as a teacher, a vocation he would enjoy for more than 40 years.

He was a fixture in the Rockland District Junior High School (RDJHS) Math department, and created the five-year, 8th grade to 12th grade Algebra to Calculus program, a cutting-edge college preparedness curriculum at the time.

Bill was also an early adopter of Personal Computers in the 1980s, and started the Computer Lab at RDJHS, a lab that was named after him upon his retirement.

He also taught mathematics at the coastal extension of the University of Maine for 33 years, making Algebra understandable for thousands.

When asked how he could teach the same subject over and over without getting bored, Bill would simply reply, “I don’t teach math; I teach people”.

Making education accessible was in many ways the driving force of Bill’s life. In addition to RDJHS and University teaching, Bill was involved in Literacy Volunteers of America, the Pen Bay Christian schools, and countless other educational endeavors, including teaching math to his children and grandchildren.
Faith was central for Bill and over the years he and Jean attended Littlefield Memorial Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Rockland, and later, West Rockport Baptist Church.

His faith was quietly but consistently exercised in the many people he helped in large and small ways.
Bill loved all things mechanical, gardening, old cars, relief carving, playing the guitar, and canoeing.
Predeceased by his parents, he is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, A. Jean Martel of Owls Head; his daughters, Renee Philbrook and Nate Greenleaf of Rockland, and Carmen Van Dusen and her husband Donald of Owls Head; his son, William Martel and his wife Joanna of Saco; his brother Leo Martel and his wife Janet of Burlington VT; 13 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, as well as several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A visitation to celebrate Bill’s life will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street in Rockland.

A private graveside service with Military Honors will be held at the convenience of the family on a later date.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday March 12, 2020 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Thursday March 12, 2020 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home
    110 Limerock Street
    Rockland, Maine 04841
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Owls Head
    Address Not Available


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Private Condolence

Brenda Genthner

Posted at 06:46pm
I had the pleasure of having Mr. Martel as my math teacher when I attended RDJHS in the late 1960's. He had a wonderful gift of being able to teach in a way that the student wanted to learn. Many years later, I was thrilled to learn that I was to have this very special teacher as my instructor when I signed up for an Algebra 1 College course at the UMA Rockland Center. To be honest, I was dreading it, as high school Algebra did not come easy to me. Mr. Martel taught his course in such a way that the proverbial light bulb came on for me and suddenly, Algebra made sense. I will be forever grateful for his kind, patient manner of teaching. My deepest sympathies to your entire family. Brenda (Newbegin) Genthner

Deborah Meehan

Posted at 05:08pm
Students at the UMA Rockland Center relied on Bill's exceptional math teaching abilities to get them through college requirements. He worked them hard and always with high expectations and loving kindness. He trained countless local nurses, accountants, police officers, computer scientists and more. I remember his last day of teaching and a group of us escorted him to the elevator on the 7th floor of the Breakwater Building with tears and great sorrow. He checked in with me about every six months because he believed in our mission to bring a university education to folks in their own communities. We loved and admired him and he was a big part of our learning community for many years. Staff at UMA Rockland

Paul Munro

Posted at 02:11pm
Sorry for the grief born by family and friends and the wider Christian family. Death, for a little while, still hurts. But I'm grateful for the victory won by Bill in Jesus! Praying for the mercies of God to pour over all affected so that the hope that sustains us daily will also grow stronger daily! Pastor Paul Munro

Posted at 10:56am
Best wishes to the family. I spent many years as principal at RDJHS, and Bill was one of my favorite teachers. He was always willing to help-out when it was needed. He also was one of the favorite teachers of many of the students. I am sad to read the obit, but I know Bill led a very nice life, and has been an inspiration to many friends and others who were in contact with Bill. RIP Jerry Malcolm

pat johnston

Posted at 10:06am
To Bill and family,sorry for your loss . I am sure you all have cherished memories to carry you through your loss and to pass on to your children.Take care and know we are thinking of you all. Pat (Dailey) Johnston

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