Martin was born in San Francisco, California in 1928. His Grandfather, John Gaehwiler, was born in 1860 in Degersheim, St. Gallen, Switzerland. His Grandmother, Elise Steinemann Gaehwiler, was from Herisau, Appenzell, Switzerland. His Grandfather emigrated to San Francisco in 1888. He had his wife and two children join him in 1890. One of the children was Elizabeth, Martin’s Aunt, the other was John Jacob Gaehwiler, his Father. Martin’s mother was Christina Scherer, also from Switzerland. Martin’s brother, John, was born in 1923. Martin had a deep connection to his Swiss heritage and had many great Swiss friends in the Bay Area and Switzerland.
His Grandfather started a blacksmith shop in 1902 on 23rd St and Folsom in the Mission District. Martin’s father also became a blacksmith but worked in the Union Iron Works Shipyard in San Francisco during World War 1. After the war, he returned to the blacksmith shop and also started a retail coal business, next door to the blacksmith shop, where they also lived.
Martin attended St. Anthony’s grammar school. He graduated from St. James High School (now Riordan) in 1946 and graduated from USF in 1950 with a degree in History. He was an avid historian and had total recall of many significant dates and events. While at USF, he was in the ROTC program. Therefore, he went to Okinawa as an officer during the Korean War. He was always extremely proud of his military service. Martin also began a building business during his time at USF with his brother, John. Over the course of the following decades, the company built many projects throughout the Bay Area. He was a very ambitious, hard- working, organized man. Martin had a very engaging, entertaining personality, and people liked him very much. He was also very generous. This enabled him to easily network throughout his career and create business opportunities.
Martin was a world traveler. He loved exploring new countries and seeing the many varied cultures throughout the world. His goal was to visit as many countries as he could. He loved traveling with his dearest wife Cathleen (Lulu). They recently returned from a trip to New Zealand and sailed via ship to Australia. His sudden illness was a shock to his family and loved ones, because he was always such a strong man. Martin was a true native San Franciscan who loved The City his entire life. He appreciated the vibrant restaurant and culinary scene San Francisco offers. He enjoyed being accompanied by his wife, Lulu, and her twin sister Chrissy. Martin and the “twins” were easily recognizable at their favorite spots.
We appreciate the help of the hospice workers and Care Attendants that allowed him to pass away peacefully and with dignity at the home he built in 1960, surrounded by loving family. The compassionate care provided by these professionals was truly inspiring.
Martin will be missed by many, including: his wife Cathleen (Lulu), his children Catherine, Martin Jr. (Mia), Brigitte (Simone), Jeannette (deceased). Grandchildren, Sofia, Gianna, Martina and Marco. The Mothers (Winnifred, Edith) of his children predeceased him, as did his brother, John. Sister in law Milly Gaehwiler and his nieces, Marilyn, Heidi, Nancy, and nephews, John Jr. and Herb. Sister in law, Chrissy, Sally, Brother in law, Bob. Stepfather to: Catrina, Catherine, Jack. Step grandfather to: Brittany, Emily, Charisma, Jackson, Jason, Matthew, Gracie. Step niece to Tammy. And of course, his adorable cat: Mitzy.
Friends are invited to attend the Funeral Mass to be celebrated Monday, March 12, 2018 at 3PM St. Ignatius Church, 450 Parker Ave at Fulton, SF. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the St. Vincent De Paul Society.