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Doris Arnold Martinet archived her extended family's genealogical history.
Doris Arnold Martinet archived her extended family's genealogical history. (Handout / HANDOUT)

Doris Arnold Martinet, a singer and homemaker known for her skilled genealogy research, died Thursday of natural causes. She was 93.

Mrs. Martinet spent years archiving her extended family’s history and unearthing genealogical records, said one of her daughters, Jeanne Martinet.

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“She was just fascinated with how long the family had been here,” she said. “She’d talk for hours to us about knowing how important it was to know where you came from.”

Born and raised in Baltimore’s Homeland neighborhood, Mrs. Martinet was the daughter of Robert Miller Arnold and Grace Elizabeth Stonebraker. She grew up spending summers at her parents’ farm in Virginia near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Mrs. Martinet excelled academically at Eastern High School, where she graduated among the top of her class. Instead of heeding her guidance counselor’s advice to attend college, she enrolled at the Bard-Avon School, a business and secretarial school where she dabbled with acting in plays.

Around that time, Mrs. Martinet also began seriously exploring her love of music and singing. She started taking voice lessons from Eugene Martinet, who organized and directed the Baltimore Civic Opera Company. She sang in the chorus for many of the company’s first productions.

Mrs. Martinet worked for several years at a farm equipment company and then as an assistant for Mr. Martinet’s sister, locally renowned artist Marjorie Martinet. Over the years, she came to know the Martinet family well and eventually fell in love with Eugene Martinet’s son Leigh Marriott Martinet, a music educator and horn player who directed Baltimore’s summer park band.

Jeanne Martinet’s grandmother saw an opportunity in the fact that both Mrs. Martinet and her son were shy, she said.

“My grandmother kind of threw them together," she said of her parents. “They gradually slipped into dating. At one point, he said, ‘I guess we should get married.’ They’d laugh when they told the story.”

The couple married in 1950 after knowing each other for five years.

Though Mrs. Martinet adored singing, she came to believe she was not talented enough to do so professionally. So she dedicated herself to being a homemaker and a mother, playing host to many creative and musical people who passed through the family home on Woodlawn Road in Roland Park.

“I would often wake up and come down to breakfast and would have to pass the piano and opera singers in our front hall," Jeanne Martinet said. “We had a lot of music in our house.”

As a parent, Mrs. Martinet was creative, her daughter said. She sewed clothes, made puppets and crafted with papier-mache to the enjoyment of her three children. She also had a strong conviction for volunteerism, dedicating her time to the Roland Park May Mart, the Women’s Club of Roland Park and Roland Park Presbyterian Church.

Mrs. Martinet eventually rekindled her academic talents as an avid genealogical researcher, beginning first with the Martinet family tree and later the Arnold side. She mapped branches of the families’ trees and carefully preserved diaries, letters and photos, her daughter said.

She would sometimes take trips to faraway towns simply to track down a date on a gravestone. She was also adamant that her research be preserved after her death, Jeanne said.

In addition to genealogy, Mrs. Martinet enjoyed finishing multiple crossword puzzles daily, saying “uh-oh” every time a telephone rang and drinking a bourbon cocktail while people-watching from her front porch of the family house at Rehoboth Beach.

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Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, 6500 York Road.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Martinet’s survivors include another daughter, Virginia M. Graham; a son, Scott R. Martinet; grandchildren Christopher and Scott Graham, Caroline Wernecke and Kelly Martinet; and five great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 2016.

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