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May 23, 1943 – November 5, 2018

Martin Kilmer
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"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— Ronald A. Walker Funeral Homes

Obituary for Martin Kilmer

Martin Foster Kilmer born on May 23, 1943. He was the son of Kenton Sinclair Kilmer and Frances Frieseke Kilmer who predeceased him. He was the grandson of Joyce Kilmer and Aline Murray Kilmer; and Frederick C. Frieseke and Sarah (Sadie) Anne O’Bryan Frieseke.Martin died at home in East River Point on the evening of Monday, November 5, 2018 due to metastatic bladder cancer. He had a journey with this disease that started in the spring of 2015. Chemotherapy and surgery definitely slowed him down for a time. He was still busy recovering his strength when in the spring of 2018 he found out the cancer had recurred and was widespread in his body. He was excited to try the promising treatment using immunotherapy. Alas, it did not work out well for Martin.
Dr. Lori Woods gave him the opinion that this treatment needed to be discontinued. When she and he decided the other options were not good choices for him, she asked how he felt about that. Martin quietly and calmly replied, “We all of us come into this world with a one way ticket. None of us knows how long the ride will be.” This acceptance, combined with a strong faith in a higher power and a willingness to live life to the fullest, allowed Martin and his family to enjoy his last months and moments.
Martin had a list of things to do before he became too unwell. He managed to do most of the key things these past four months. Going whale watching and having grandchildren on the cruise to teach them an appreciation of these marvelous mammals was a key accomplishment. We managed this thanks to Mariner Cruises out of Westport, Brier Island. And what a fabulous show the whales performed for us this August! I hope to do many more trips with grandkids to honour his appreciation of wildlife and his recognition of the need for humans to change our ways to preserve God’s creatures and habitats. He has delegated me to complete a trip to Newfoundland and to visit grandkids, great grandkids, nephews, nieces and their families.
Martin was born in Arlington, Virginia. He was number 5 of 10 children born to Kenton and Frances (Frieseke) Kilmer. His was a family that fostered a love of learning and that had an extraordinary appreciation of music and art. He was fascinated by advances in science. He loved people, especially children and youth. He sang both bass and tenor, and was a member of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church choir and of the Studio Singers. He wrote poetry and dabbled in water colour painting. He loved photography and since 1997 was very interested in nature photography. He had many of his lovely photographs of flowers, animals and people mounted and framed. He learned to ice skate on the Rideau Canal, and to cycle on the bike pathways in Ottawa. He and Jolene biked around the Heron Drive on PEI in the summer of 1991. For many years he had a passion for sports fishing on Clayton Lake near Almonte, Ontario. They went deep sea fishing on their trips to PEI and on their honeymoon in Sooke, BC. He was very proud to obtain his Canadian citizenship and carried a Canadian passport when travelling.
He was trained as an archeologist and was retired from the University of Ottawa department of Classics and Religious Studies since 2004. He had wished to be an archeologist from the age of four! He was educated at St. Anselm’s Priory in Washington, DC for secondary school. He completed a BA in Classical Studies at Boston College. He was awarded a Marshall Scholarship which allowed him to pursue an MA Honours in Greek and Latin at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. After starting his teaching career at the University of Ottawa, Martin pursued a PhD in Classical Archeology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. He immensely enjoyed teaching and found supervising graduate students the most gratifying part of his career in the latter years of his profession. His main academic work was completing his book ‘Greek Erotica on Attic Red-Figure Vases’ in 1993. He published in many journals as well.
Martin’s real calling, of all his interests, was being a father, an uncle and a Grandad. He was most happy reading and playing board games, or fishing with various young folk. Several nephews have told stories in this past week or two about the impact he made in their lives by taking them fishing. He and his grandson Isaiah were writing a book together, with some help from Silas. His grandchildren loved him a lot, and enjoyed when he told them stories (some of them historical, some fictional) and went to places like Science East or Museum of Natural History. He loved taking his grandchildren on train trips and whale watching trips.
He was a tender and loving husband. He was the chief grocery shopper and chef. Coffee making in the mornings was his self-assigned mission to give Jolene more sleep! He was known on one occasion to not wake her as she was looking so sweet sleeping. He proceeded to leave a message with her office to say if they needed her later, to let him know! After all, he had little sense of the practical in his daily life! He was his wife’s main cheer leader when she was choosing a program of studies and attending school. He arranged half sabbaticals every two years in order to spend time in Newfoundland with her during training, and from that adventure published, ‘Feeding the Vikings’ with botanist Peter Scott of Memorial University, a book about wild edible plants in Newfoundland, illustrated with Martin’s photographs.
He is survived by his wife Jolene Jarvis, sons David Kilmer, Michigan; Nick Kilmer (Caroline Bray) Rochester, NY; Logan Ward (Aynsley), Halifax; Nathan Ward (Jody), Fredericton; grandsons Jason and Randal Baird and their families, Matthew Kilmer, Nick Kilmer, Isaiah and Silas Ward, Lachlan Ward, and granddaughters Christine and Catherine Kilmer, and Aila Roxie Ward, sisters Anne Kilmer Hillis (John); Noelie Kilmer Angevine (Ed); Rosamond Kilmer Spring; Miriam A Kilmer (Tim Slattery), Deborah Kilmer (Tom True), brothers Nick (Julia), Matthew (Linda), sisters-in-law Beth Kilmer, and Melissa Hunter-Kilmer and half-brother Paul Barnes and family. He is also survived by Doreen Zimmerman, Nicole Kilmer, and Lucy Caverly, nine great grandchildren, about a half zillion nieces and nephews, and numerous great nieces and great nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers, Hugh Kilmer, Jonathan Kilmer and brother-in-law Arthur Spring.
Burial has taken place at St. George’s Anglican Church, East River. There will be a gathering of family and friends Monday, November 12, 2018 from 4-7 PM at Ronald A Walker funeral home, 10429 Highway 3, Hubbards, NS, B0J 1T0. There will be another gathering at a later date at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Fredericton, NB.
We were so blessed with excellent care and attention on this journey. I would like to especially thank Dr. Trevor Butler, Dr. Ricardo Rendon, Dr. Lori Wood, and Dr. Reza Mehrpooya for their sensitive and supportive care. These last weeks we especially leaned on Dr. Debra Gowan and Kim, Heather and Rachelle of the palliative care team. Thanks also to Heart to Heart In Home Care, Lunenburg County Home Support and the VON for their many visits and calls.
Memorial donations may be made to the Curtis and Lyle Jarvis Memorial fund at Mount Allison University, University Advancement, 65 York St, Sackville, NB, E4L 1E4 1-506-364-2343; or to Bladder Cancer Canada, 4936 Yonge St, Suite 1000, Toronto, ON, M2N 6S3, 1-866-674-8889; or to a charity of your choice.

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When Monday, November 12th, 2018 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Ronald A. Walker Funeral Home, Hubbards
10429 St. Margaret's Bay Road
Hubbards, Nova Scotia B0J 1T0
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