Martin Manfred Bantle, 56, of Mercer Island, Washington, passed away from an unexpected heart attack April 21st, 2019. He was a beloved husband, father, son, brother and friend. He lived a life of kindness, humility and integrity. He touched so many lives and was truly loved by many. He lived a full and active life with no signs, no warnings and no family history of heart disease.
Martin was born in Martinez, California as a first generation US citizen on January 14, 1963 to Gertrud and Manfred Bantle. His parents left Stuttgart, Germany after WWII to find a better life for their growing family. They settled first in Canada where Martin’s sister Marion was born, then moved to the US to raise their family in Concord, California. After graduating from Clayton Valley High School as a valedictorian scholar athlete, he attended UC Davis where he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and met his true soul mate Kathy Hopper in his senior year. Martin graduated in 1985 and moved to the Silicon Valley to work at ROLM. In 1987 Martin moved to Boston where he attended and graduated with a degree of Master of Science in Management from MIT Sloan School of Business. The opportunity of a lifetime then presented itself to work at Echelon, a promising systems control startup led by a Silicon Valley pioneer who became Martin’s mentor throughout his early career. In addition to his fluency in German and English, Martin learned to speak Japanese while setting up Echelon’s Japanese subsidiary, fulfilling his passion for international business. After 2 1/2 years in Asia, Martin moved back to the Bay Area in his most successful venture where he worked for Network Appliance setting up their Asia-Pacific distribution business.
Kathy and Martin were married on February 25, 1995 after 10 years of dating. Michael Martin Bantle, was born in California in 1997. The 3 of them moved to Washington a year later to be closer to Kathy’s family. They settled on Mercer Island which became their permanent home since 1998. Melanie Louise Bantle, was born in Bellevue in 2000. The children flourished and their lives were blessed – especially by new friends, great education, and amazing sports opportunities. Dad was their biggest fan!
Martin was a master at explaining complicated subject matter in a way others could understand; he was both student and teacher of life. He loved to learn and try new things which led him to teaching. He wanted to give back to the community and make a difference in young lives. Martin taught full time from 2010-2015 and 2016-2017 at Newport High School in the math department where he jumped in with both feet and truly did make a difference. He even led the Newport Chess Team to a Washington State Championship as the Chess Club Advisor. After 6 years of full time teaching he substituted for several years and explored other new career ventures. He was an executive recruiter with Kathy and also started plans for pear farming with Kathy’s dad. Martin and Kathy were planning their 25th wedding anniversary and looking forward to the next chapter as “empty nesters” where they could work and travel anywhere together. Martin’s greatest gift is the legacy of his two children who were his pride and joy.
Martin is survived by his wife Kathy; son Michael and daughter Melanie; sister Marion and husband David; his niece Laurie and nephew Richard; Kathy’s parents, 4 sisters, brothers in law and numerous nieces and nephews. He left us way too early but his 56 years were full of life, love and adventure. We were blessed to have him in our lives and look forward to our eternal reunion.
Kathy, Michael and Melanie invite you to join in celebrating Martin’s life at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27th at 2pm with a reception to follow the Memorial Service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Heart Association.