PEDRO RAFAEL MARTINEZ OBITUARY
Pedro Rafael Martinez was born in Maunabo, Puerto Rico to the union of his parents, Raimunda Ramirez and Ralph Martinez. Pete is the last of his 8 siblings to be with our Heavenly Father. He was preceded in death by his siblings: William, Dora, Violetta, Nidia, Awilda, Narde, and Diane. As a young child growing up in Puerto Rico, Pete loved the ocean, crabbing, and fishing. His love of music started at an early age and came naturally. His father was an accordion player. As a teenager, he came to the Mainland of the United States and resided in the Bronx. He quickly became part of the notorious Mau Maus gang of New York. One night the gang was invited to the church for an evening of worship. The holy spirit came into his life that night and he gave his life to the Lord. He was sponsored by Katherine Kuhlman, known for her healing powers and evangelism, to attend the Latin American Bible College in La Puente, California. After graduating he became an evangelist minister for the Lord. Even though his English was very limited, he preached with an interpreter for crowds as large as 3,000 people in England and in small and large churches across the United States. His ministry reached the prison population in Mexico and the United States. He became an evangelist minister with Teen Challenge of Victory Outreach. During his ministry with Victory Outreach he brought many lost souls to the Lord. He sang for the Lord in churches such as The Redeemer and Templo De La Cruz. He sang for people such as Andre Crouch and Billy Graham. He was a member of Second Baptist Church of Modesto for over 25 years and was immersed in the Christian experience that was his life-time support.
Pete was a man that enjoyed being busy. He held jobs such as a welder, delivery, taxi cab driver, catering truck, short order chef, and limousine driver. He was also self-employed, and his last place of employment was a fisherman for a crab fishing boat in the Bering Sea in Alaska. On the boat he was a supervisor and interpreter for those that could not speak English well. He would dive in the ocean to cut the rope whenever it got tangled in the anchor. He was part of the founders of the Spanish Action Committee that was on TV to advocate for the Hispanic community in Hayward. He spoke for people that needed help in all walks of life. He even saved 2 little girls from a fire in their home.
“Black Pete” was the lead singer for Combo Puerto Rico. For more than 60 years, Pete’s love of Latin Music was shared with family and friends and touched many lives. His style of music was called Jibaro (music of indio-afro-euro accents). He loved his fellow musicians of Combo Puerto Rico that played for Dia de Reyes, Dia de San Juan, birthday parties, anniversaries, quinceañeras, parrandas, and special events such as CVCR’s Annual Crab Feeds. He loved his family and friends unconditionally. Black Pete was well-known and respected by musicians in the music industry.
He leaves to mourn his wife, Darlene of 25 years; loving father to his son Peterjohn and wife Mitzie and daughter Senovia; sister-in-law Arlene and husband Jose; grandchildren Dallas, Paige, Paris, Hope, Peyton, Brianna, Isabella, Peterjohn, Chelsie; great-grandchildren London, Carson, Liberty, Malakai, Dallas, Ethan, Alexandria, Abigail; nephews Jeffrey, Frank, Tony; great-nephews Julian, Jo’Wel; nieces Arianna, Arilyssa, Ada, LiSandra, Lucy, Jeanette, Miranda, Caresse, Annette, Lisa, Yvette, Mirna, Josephine (deceased), Julia, Dorita, God sons and God daughters, and a host of family and friends.
(Pete’s early life in the Mau Maus gang of New York is mentioned in the books and movies of “The Cross and the Switchblade”, “Run Baby Run”, and “Where were you when I needed you?”)
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