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James Carey Martien II, commercial real estate broker and sailor, dies

James Carey Martien II worked at Industrial Realty Company, was president of multiple clubs and associations, completed a marathon and was an avid sailor.
James Carey Martien II worked at Industrial Realty Company, was president of multiple clubs and associations, completed a marathon and was an avid sailor.

Kathy Martien Sullivan has a photograph of her half brother, James Carey Martien II, at the age of 14 holding a 5-foot-long shark by its tail while standing on Dewey Beach in Delaware. The story behind the picture is that her brother was swimming laps off the shore to stay in shape and then dragged the shark onto the sand.

A controversy, however, bloomed when Mr. Martien returned to his family’s home in Baltimore and wrote a paper on the experience for his teacher at the Gilman School, according to his son.

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“He received an F,” recalled Frank Barrett Martien, an Annapolis resident. “But I think his father called the school, and he was vindicated. He received an F because the teacher said, ‘I asked for a true story, and this is fiction.’ He said, ‘No, this is not fiction.’ It’s a funny story.”

Mr. Martien, who was known more popularly as Carey, died May 24 at his home in Jupiter, Florida, due to complications of Parkinson’s disease. He had celebrated his 83rd birthday in March.

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Mr. Martien was one of two children born to William and Helen Patterson Martien in Baltimore. William Martien was a flight trainer who moved the family to Navy installations in Memphis, Tennessee, Sea Island, Georgia, and Vero Beach, Florida, before returning to Baltimore.

At Gilman, Mr. Martien played football and lacrosse, but particularly excelled in wrestling. As a senior in 1955, he captured a middleweight championship in the Maryland Scholastic Association tournament.

“I would say that we all thought of Carey as a wrestler,” Ms. Sullivan said from her home in Nantucket, Massachusetts. “We knew he played lacrosse and that he was good at lacrosse and that he played that in college, but the family reputation was that Carey was a wrestler.”

Adding that her son, George, wrestled at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, she said, “So it’s a little bit of a family tradition.”

Mr. Martien considered going to Princeton, but changed his mind when the University of Pennsylvania offered a full scholarship to wrestle and play lacrosse. The Ivy League school in Philadelphia was also his father’s alma mater.

After graduating from the Wharton School of Finance in 1960, Mr. Martien began working for his father at the Industrial Realty Company that he started. Ms. Sullivan said her brother was associated with the development of the Halethorpe Industrial Park and the Laurel Business Center.

In 1962, Mr. Martien and Helen Derry married in Atlanta. Twenty years later, Mrs. Martien —who died in 1995 — co-founded Paul’s Place, a soup kitchen and clinic on Washington Boulevard in Southwest Baltimore.

“He was a very supportive spouse and was involved in the overnight shelter where he would go down and spend the night,” Frank Martien said. “It was a real-life mission for my mom, and for my father, I think he was an incredibly supportive spouse. It probably wasn’t something he would have done on his own, but I think he was very supportive of my mom in that endeavor.”

Mr. Martien served as the president of the Orchids Association in the 1970s and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Baltimore and the Baltimore chapter of the Society of Industrial Realtors from the late 1970s to the early 1980s and as treasurer of St. John’s Western Run Parish in the 1980s.

Mr. Martien enjoyed biking and running. He finished the 1979 Maryland Marathon in 3 hours, 39 minutes, and his son marveled at his 8:23 pace.

“I’ve been out running every day because of the coronavirus,” Frank Martien said. “There’s just no way I could run 26 miles at that pace. I have trouble running 3 miles. So he was really quite accomplished.”

Mr. Martien also painted and built miniature models of boats that he owned. His son said his father did not use model kits, but measured the actual boats and built models from balsa wood.

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Mr. Martien owned a Bertram 31 motorboat that he used to pilot himself and his partner, Marjorie Bishop Brown, from Annapolis to Florida via intracoastal waterways. He also owned a Catalina 30 sailboat named “Morning Star” that he used to compete in races.

Ms. Sullivan said she remembered her brother finishing a race with her and her 8- and 10-year-old sons onboard in the midst of a white squall that struck the Chesapeake Bay earlier than anticipated. The storm sank one boat and severely damaged five others, but that did not deter Mr. Martien from his objective.

“It was a wall of white. You could literally watch it coming at you,” Ms. Sullivan said of the squall. “But the most important thing to say is that Carey finished that race. When you say he was determined, I think that’s a good measure. Not only did he sail it well enough that we didn’t get our boom blown out — anybody could have and we were lucky — but he finished the race. I’ve always thought that was notable about my brother’s life. He faced adversity to finish the race, and that was true about a lot of things he did in his life.”

In addition to his partner, Mr. Martien is survived by another son, William Derry Martien of Martinsburg, West Virginia; another half sister, Anne Toy Martien of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.

Mr. Martien was buried at St. John’s, and a memorial will be scheduled after coronavirus restrictions regarding large gatherings are lifted.

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