Animal Advocates of B.C.

In Memory of Jean Martin

Remembered by her family and the animal rescue network in BC

Jean with her Granddaughter Katrina at Rathtrevor Beach


I am Jean Martin's daughter, Michelle.... I would like to thank all of the people in the cat rescue and cat health communities who have written such lovely tributes to my mother Jean on various websites, as well as sending personal letters of condolence to me and my family.  Many people have also shared lovely, meaningful stories about their experiences with my mother in the on-line world of cat and animal rescue.  ...It can certainly be said that my mother was indeed a force to be reckoned with when it came to standing up for homeless kitties, and for veterinary issues. 

As you probably know, my mother and father were (and still are) owned by 14 kitties, all of them rescues....My father is doing a great job looking after them, and Gilla Gidlow has been helping him over the past 2 months with grooming them, etc.   The kitties are clearly missing my mother and crave lots more attention, so my daughter Katrina and I go over to my dad's house every day to give them lots of cuddles and to dole out Temptations treats.   
As most of you know, my mother was featured on the t.v. program "CBC Marketplace" in the episode regarding veterinary pricing of pharmaceuticals (link provided below).  She also did voluntary work for her twin sister's group, the International Primate Protection League.  She attended Shirley's investiture at Buckingham Palace last year, which was the thrill of a lifetime, seeing her sister be awarded the Order of the British Empire from the Queen.  I know my mother was very proud of Shirley, just as Shirley was proud of my mother's work for cats.   
Many people reading this tribute will know about my mother's recent successful campaign to end the use of gas boxes at the pound in Nanaimo.  She was able to do this due to her brilliant research -- she somehow dug up the original pound contract with city hall, and it showed clearly that the only allowable means for euthanasia was lethal injection -- not a gas box.  Armed with that crucial information, and a moving speech she had written, she attended a city council meeting and managed to persuade all of the councillors to continue to disallow the gas box, which the pound was trying to have retroactively approved.  She also spoke about this issue on CBC radio.  We were all so very proud of her, and told her so.  Her actions will save many Nanaimo cats from a slow and torturous death; we hope that Cowichan district follows suit.  Two councillors wrote to me after my mother's passing and mentioned her great contribution to the region of Nanaimo.
We are missing Mom so very much....she had a zen-like zest for life that was truly amazing.  She threw herself into whatever she did, whether it was rescuing a homeless kitty, or air-mattressing at Rathtrevor Beach...something she adored doing on a regular basis.  She would always check the tide charts to see when was the best time to go.  She was always the researcher!  If you needed it, Jean could find it!  She also made the most amazing British roast dinners you could imagine... timed perfectly, and with all the trimmings -- bread sauce, Yorkshire puddings, cranberry sauce (the real kind!), crispy roast potatoes, etc....  Oh yes, and the delicious, tart, lemon butter.  She was a very good cook.        
We held a small private funeral service on Thursday September 3rd.  Jean's twin sister Shirley flew in from South Carolina to attend.  There will be a larger memorial service at a later date, which we will announce.  We are waiting until my sister is well enough to fly, as she is still recuperating (successfully) from her stay at the ICU in August.   
-Michelle - Marketplace - What you should know before you let your veterinarian fill your pet's prescription - 
(This is an excellent program exposing the practice of gouging for pet medications -- as you can see from the postings under the video, many vets were not very pleased with this information being made public!)

Jean's twin sister Dr Shirley McGreal:

She was the most wonderful sister anyone could wish for. Kind to
people and animals, especially cats and IPPL's gibbons and dogs, and an excellent campaigner, as recently as June 2009 she successfully campaigned to abolish the cat gas box in Nanaimo. When IPPL had to hand-raise a
baby gibbon severely injured at 12 days old, Jean flew down to help with the needed medication and round-the-clock care. She was also a great admirer of Animal Advocates and its battles for animals and its court struggle to beat a lawsuit brought by a large animal protection group.

Dr. Shirley McGreal, OBE, Chairwoman
International Primate Protection League
PO Box 766
Summerville, SC 29484, USA

Jean and her twin sister Shirley were born in Cheshire, England in 1934.  Jean graduated from the renowned London School of Economics in 1955.  We met as students working at a holiday resort in 1955.  She was my wife, partner and companion for 52 years.
Jean was a multifaceted person who felt strongly about fairness and honesty as well as compassion for animals, especially cats.  She was always ready to help and research the internet for pet owners with pet health problems.  She loved teaching young  children and was a teacher for 25 years.
We have had numerous cat companions over the years, all except one being adopted from shelters or were strays.  Jean would bring home cats who were sick or having troubles at the S.P.C.A. and nurse them back to health.  Riley was a Persian who had tested positive for feline leukemia but Jean noticed that the test sample was ' grossly hemolysed.'   She had him retested and it came back negative.  Jazz had calici virus and would have died within days.  Jean brought her home and after 6 weeks of isolation, syringe feeding, and TLC in our bathroom, she recovered and is a sweet member of our cat family.
Jean championed many causes, starting back in the '50s with the 'ban the atomic bomb' campaign.  More recently, she was on CBC Marketplace protesting high veterinary drug prices.  This past spring, she was able to persuade Nanaimo City Council to ban the cruel use of gas boxes to kill cats at the Pound. 
Jean loved travel and we visited all the continents except Antarctica and Australia.  Two highlights were trips to Nepal to see the Himalayas and Mt. Everest, and seeing the polar bears at Churchill, Manitoba.
Jean was a director of Shirley's International Primate Protection League, a world wide conservation group.  In 2008 Jean went to Buckingham Palace with Shirley, who was awarded an O.B.E. by Queen Elizabeth for services to primates.  Shirley misses her dearly.  They spoke on the phone 3 times every day!
I miss Jean so much but I am so thankful to have had her in my life for the past 54 years.
- Peter Martin



Jean and Peter at Rathtrevor Beach





Animal Advocates Society of B.C. Canada