George W. Martinek, professor emeritus of biological sciences, passed away at 79 from a stroke brought on by a hereditary condition.
Born and raised in Chicago, Martinek was a devout member of his Lutheran parish and attended Lutheran church schools all his life. He completed his undergraduate degree at Concordia University in Chicago. His family, who were Czechoslovakian immigrants, moved to California where Martinek taught biology at Lutheran parochial schools. He earned his master’s degree at Cal State Los Angeles and his doctoral degree at UCLA.
Martinek, who taught at Cal Poly Pomona from 1967 to 1996, was an active member of the campus community. His teaching extended beyond the biological sciences department and included science education courses in the College of Education & Integrative Studies.
Martinek also took on administrative positions, including biology section coordinator and assistant department chair, and and he served as director of the Center for Science and Math Education for five years. He was also director of the College of Science Advisory, advisor to both the Science Education Enhancement Services and the biology student honor society Beta Beta Beta. He also served in the Academic Senate for four years and chaired the appropriations committee.
Martinek was a strong supporter of Bronco Athletics and attended nearly every home baseball and basketball game.
“He was among our most unselfish, gentle and loving faculty,” says Len Troncale, emeritus professor of biological sciences.
With no surviving family, Martinek spent the last years of his life in a rest home where members of his church visited and comforted him. He died Dec. 23, 2011, leaving behind a 29-year legacy of service at Cal Poly Pomona and a biology lab named in his honor at Concordia.