Diane Martin passes

The millions of members of the Martin guitar family are mourning today, with news that Diane Repyneck Martin, wife of Chris Martin, C.F. Martin & Co Executive Chairman, passed away on January 4 following a 10 year bout with breast cancer. She was 63 years of age.

Diane Martin was also serving as vice chairwoman of C.F. Martin & Co.’s board of directors, and had been deeply involved in several aspects of the company since she and Chris were married in 1990. Until July of 2021, Chris had been the CEO of the company, the sixth generation of Martins to head up Martin Guitars. His full name is C.F. Martin IV.

Speaking for the company, Chris’ successor as CEO, Thomas Ripsam, shared these words:

“This is truly a great loss to the Martin family, the local community, and anyone who was lucky enough to know Diane. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with Chris and their daughter Claire.”

Prior to their marriage, Diane was a Northampton County district judge in Pennsylvania. She and Chris met in court, with him appearing before her to contest a traffic ticket. According to family lore, he came with an elaborate set up to demonstrate what had happened, including an easel and some toy cars, to plead his case. Judge Repyneck found his presentation clever and somewhat amusing, and so she was receptive when Martin called her office a few days later to ask for a date.

She remained on the bench until 2009, when their daughter, Claire, was born, and after her retirement she became more involved with Martin Guitars.

In a statement this week, Martin Guitars offered the following testimonial:

A philanthropist, a business leader, a loving wife, and a mother, Diane Martin was loved and respected by many. She led by example through her hands-on commitment to bettering our local community. She was chair of the Northampton Community College Foundation’s Board, and chair of the Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation. She was instrumental in Martin Guitar’s success over the last three decades, fighting for diversity and sustainability, representing the company with numerous organizations, and developing close relationships with many of our customers and partners.

Diane will be remembered for her sense of humor and compassion towards all, especially her beloved family and animal companions.

In lieu of flowers, the Martin family requests that memorial donations be made to the Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation, who will carry on Diane’s legacy.

R.I.P., Diane Martin.

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John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.