In Memory of Rose L Martin

July 11, 2013, 11:01 p.m. (ET)



1927 - 2013


Rose MartinHall of Fame Roller Skating Coach Rose Martin passed away July 8, 2013 at age 86, following brief residence in a Madison Heights, MI nursing home.  Rose taught roller skating from age 16 until well into her 80's at Detroit area rinks, which included Arena Gardens, Arcadia, Motor City and suburban Skate World.  She left Michigan for a few years during the 1960's to teach at a rink in Moses Lake, Washington. Her greatest period of achievement occurred during  her competitive coaching years between the mid 1940s and 1950s, accumulating 33 national artistic roller skating  championships, representing perennial stars who currently reside in the USARS Athlete Hall of Fame, including Laurene Anselmy, Nancy Kromis, Gail Locke, Bill Pate, John Matejec and twice Canadian North American and USA Senior Women Singles Champion Beverly Bowers.  Hundreds more profited from her coaching expertise at the State, Regional and test levels.


Rose was the youngest sibling in the renowned Martin family, all of whom had considerable influence on the early stages of roller skating's resurrection in 1937 by the Roller Skating Rink Operators Association.  Rose's father, Fred Martin, was a champion professional speed skater during the 1920s, who transitioned to rink management late in that decade.  Fred's original Italian family name was Avedano and was changed for marquee reasons during his professional racing career. After being solicited in 1936 to convert the Arena Gardens to a roller skating rink in Detroit, Martin hosted a national amateur invitational speed championships at the new rink in 1937 and while having rink owners there, organized the first RSROA trade association meeting, which led to his becoming its principal founder and being elected its first Secretary-Treasurer.  He was a driving force for its organization and the expansion of competitive roller skating programs beyond speed skating, adding figure skating, dance skating and roller hockey. Rose's much older brother Robert, wrote many of the first manuals for the new sports, and became the dominant coach during the first two RSROA artistic roller skating championships.  Bob Martin also conducted its first coaching seminars and later succeeded his father as RSROA Secretary-Treasurer.  Rose's sister Clarice Martin Gerych was the original queen of the Roller Derby in the 1930's when these races were more akin to marathons rather than later battle fields.  Rose's other older sister, Marge Martin McLauchlen, was a Gold Medal Dancer who married another skating instructor, and they both became principal class and competitive teachers at the Arena Gardens.   Her brother Roland Martin, did not teach, but assisted his father at the rink until he left to join the Marine Corp at the outbreak of World War II.


Rose as a nine year old had moved with her family from Chicago in 1936 for the opening of the Arena Gardens and the Martins resided in an apartment above the rink.  Under the firm guidance of their father,  the Martins collectively made the Arena Gardens THE national focal point for competitive roller skating in all its various formats.  It was within this rich skating environment that Rose grew up and was adept at all phases of competitive artistic skating and began a successful teaching career while still a teenager. As proof of her skating prowess, in 1946 Rose Martin was a successful candidate in the first wave of professional skaters to pass the newly created USA Gold Medal Proficiency Test for skate dancing.


One of Rose Martin's former skating students, Sam Freid of Cape Coral, Florida, best summarizes how all who were in regular contact with Rose felt about their beloved teacher, "Rose was a person who truly loved skating and in my view, the best skating instructor. She was a very wise, caring and considerate person. She had the innate ability to bring out the best in all her skaters. I will always treasure her friendship and the skating lessons she provided to me. It was great having her be a part of my life. I will miss her."


Rose Martin was the consummate roller skating instructor.  She taught beginners as well as champions, toddlers and oldsters, those talented and those who struggle.  She created rink roller skating shows as student recitals to encourage newcomers to greater accomplishment.  She found personal time to chose music and choreography for successful competitive singles and pairs routines.  She dealt effectively with discouraged learners and with prima donna skater temperaments, and through all travail provided memorable life experiences for her pupils, who today are willingly testifying to this fact.


Rose later in her life became the Martin/Avedano clan historian after the death of her parents and siblings and was the glue that continued to bind the family together. Rose was a great patron of the National Museum of Roller Skating, donating family artifacts, documents, photographs and provided an historical perspective of what had been created or inspired by her father and other members of her pioneering roller skating family.  She was the major consultant to author Sarah Webber for the museum's publication of "The Allure of the Rink", a roller skating history of the Arena Gardens.


Rose Martin was inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame in 1992 and became a Society of Roller Skating Teachers (SRSTA) Life Member in 1994.  She is survived by six children, Denise Bruner of Fishersville, VA, Joseph Blavatt of Rochester Hills, MI, Raymond Blavatt of San Diego, CA, Andrea Hunsanger of Sterling Heights, MI, John Blavatt of Roseville, MI and Jerrianne Hahne of Troy, MI; plus ten grandchildren.





George Pickard