Staff and volunteers at Critter Care are mourning the loss of one of their own.
Richard Martin, co-founder of the Langley wildlife rehabilitation centre, passed away on Feb. 7 following a battle with cancer. He was 69.
While Gail Martin has been the face and name of Critter Care, it was her husband Richard who has been behind the scenes, happily obliging countless hours of building, fixing and helping.
“There wouldn’t be a Critter Care without Richard,” said Gail this week. They were married 46 years. Richard leaves behind two sons, Curtis and Lloyd and was a “Papa” to five grandchildren, whom he adored.
It was 28 years ago when Gail had a dream to create a centre to care for injured and orphaned animals native to B.C. This dream came true in 1993, largely because of Richard, she said.
Richard was a man who loved his wife and supported her dream beyond words. So much so, he tolerated having his basement turned into a nursery for sick and injured animals. While most of us bring our work home with us on computers and with paperwork, Gail would bring her work home with her in the form of baby animals, like abandoned sea otters that need round-the-clock feedings.
Richard spent his evenings and weekends refurbishing a then-70-year-old farm house into the current triage centre. He built enclosures, sheds, fences, dug trenches and did much of the electrical and plumbing.
He did all of this happily and without complaint.
Richard had a deep-seated compassion for animals, just as Gail does.
Critter Care rehabilitates more than 700 injured and orphaned animals each year, including most of B.C.’s black bear cubs. They have rehabilitated and returned many different species back to the wild, including deer, bobcats, raccoons, skunks and beaver. Critter Care survives on donations and volunteer work.
A celebration of Richard’s life will take place on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. at Fire Hall #5, 20355 32 Avenue.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Richard’s name can be made to Critter Care Wildlife Society at 481-216 Street, Langley, V2Z 1R6.