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Dave Olson, Published August 07 2013

Swift illness claims Moorhead's director of operations

MOORHEAD – Nate Martin recalled on Wednesday what his father, Chad Martin, told the family when they learned last month he had advanced pancreatic cancer.

“There were two things he wanted when we found out he was terminal,” Martin said.

“He said, simply: ‘Take me fishin’ and take me to a Twins game.’

“And those are the two things that he did,” Martin said.

Chad Martin, 56, died Tuesday at his Moorhead home under the care of his family and Hospice of the Red River Valley.

He was director of operations for the city of Moorhead, a job he had held since 2003, though he had worked for the city much longer than that, starting in 1984.

Martin’s affiliation with Moorhead municipal government and the city itself was a source of never-ending pride for him, his son said.

“He always, always introduced himself as Chad Martin, city of Moorhead, to anyone and everyone,” Nate Martin said.

“It didn’t matter where he was, or what he was doing and they might have had no idea where Moorhead was,” he added. “That was his introduction and it was a springboard for him to tell you about Moorhead, if you didn’t know.

“He just took so much pride in his job. He loved it, he really did.”

Jill Wenger, Moorhead director of human resources, said city workers were informed in July that Martin was ill and that his duties were being handled by Larry Anderson, city parks and forestry manager.

The responsibilities of operations director are broad, with a wide assortment of workers to oversee, said Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland.

“Chad is one of those hands-on kind of guys; he was in the field probably more than he was ever at his office desk, so everyone under him knew him and I think they had a lot of respect for him,” Voxland said.

“The emotional piece on this has really been tough for the whole city, but especially operations,” he said. “This is tough.”

In addition to his institutional knowledge and his understanding of what it takes to keep a city ticking, Martin gave free rein to his sense of humor that Voxland and others said will be missed.

“He brought a lot of levity to his colleagues, to the organization. It’s just hard to think that he’s not going to be here,” said Michael Redlinger, Moorhead city manager.

“He was just so appreciated and he really appreciated his colleagues,” Redlinger said.

“He was a big part of our team, a big part of who we are.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555