David Foster Martin was born in Rochester, New York, Dec. 10th, 1937 to Alvera (Barber) Martin and Vaughan Martin. He passed away on April 16th, 2020 in West Fargo, North Dakota. David began his music career at age five with piano lessons and theory at Eastman School of Music. He moved with his family to Winter Park, FL and during his high school years began his theater and vocal career. He studied music at Rollins College, Winter Park; Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX; returning to Eastman School of Music where he earned both a bachelor and master of music with distinction. He completed doctoral course work at Indiana University.
His voice teachers included Leonard Treash, Mack Harrell and four years of study in Germany with Hans Hotter. For several years he sang professionally across Europe and the US. After a short period as Artist-in-Residence at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, David began conducting the FM Civic Opera Orchestra in 1971. David performed as singer, conductor and artistic director for 72 productions from 1971-1996. He also conducted the FM Youth Symphony from 1977-1985. David was a gifted voice teacher who cultivated the careers of many singers, one of which was his second wife, Elizabeth Holleque who went on to sing professionally. David was a recorded artist, composer, arranger and avid record collector. Following his opera career, David conducted the choir at Faith Lutheran Church of West Fargo until 2017.
David married Patricia Paslay in April 1957. Together they raised four children. David was active in his children’s lives instilling a love of music, the great outdoors, travel, cooking and taking each day as an adventure, a devotion that extended to the grandchildren and great grandchildren.
David devoted his life not only to music and his children but to those in need around the world. He made numerous mission trips to Haiti, Guatemala and Belize. He was selfless in his giving and constant in his compassion to those in need.
David is survived by his four children; David Martin of Delray Beach, FL, Suzanne Hartzell (Jim) of Missoula, MT, Tatjana Horton (Kevin) of Hamilton, MT and Cynthia Ekren (Keith) of Vero Beach, FL, ex-wife and good friend, Patricia. Also surviving are his brother Craig, sister Jane, 14 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding David in death were his parents Alvera and Vaughan Martin.
A celebration of David’s life will be held at a later date and his ashes scattered over the mountains of Montana and North Carolina.