Primo Domenick Martino (Marteno)
Primo Domenick Martino, 94, passed away Nov. 7, 2008, in Glenwood Springs.
He was born Aug. 4, 1914, in Alice Superiore, Italy, to Alex Marcella Marteno and Carolina Bove Marteno.
In the early 1900s, Primo’s father and brother immigrated to Colorado, to work in the Sunlight and Marion mines. Alex returned to Italy a few years later to marry Carolina, but returned to Colorado alone and worked for another six years to obtain permission from immigration before he could send for his wife and son, Primo.
In 1920, Primo and his mother sailed from Italy and came through Ellis Island. They traveled by train to Leadville and by mules and wagon to the Four Mile area to join Primo’s father. Primo had never met his father. Primo was sent home from Cardiff School because he spoke only Italian, and was required to learn English before returning.
Primo’s father worked in the mines and saved enough money to buy a small ranch. His father was determined his son would never have to work in the dangerous mines. Alex had already lost his brother in the South Canyon mine.
Primo’s mother also worked hard taking care of her family, raising a huge garden, canning food and raising chickens and milk cows. Primo helped as much as he could even as a small boy. Extra eggs and milk were sold, and every spare dime was saved to buy more land.
Primo loved her great Italian cooking, and the ranch was a busy hub which Primo enjoyed enormously. There were always extra people at the dinner table, especially during the Depression. They always had extra food for others, and he learned many tales of the area sitting around the busy dinner table. The four or five ranching families living up Four Mile all pitched in to help one another.
Primo worked alongside his parents raising cattle, hay and potatoes. He loved the ranch, cattle and riding horses. He was an excellent horseman and loved to ride into the hills to move the cattle to summer pasture and then to round them up in the fall.
Primo married Virginia Spitzer in the early 1950s, and in 1954 they had one child. Primo worked the ranch in summer and at Benedick’s Distributing Co. in the winter.
He was involved in the Glenwood Springs Rodeo Arena activities, was the oldest living member of the Eagles Lodge, and was the director of the Glenwood Springs Rural Fire Protection District from 1966-86.
Primo’s wife died in 1987. He was later married for a number of years to Wynona Swartz.
He loved the ranch, the mountains, and hunting. He was able to help his daughter Darlene on the ranch until he was 89, and hunted until he was 90.
Primo owned much of the land where Sunlight Ski area was built. Primo Ski Run is named for him.
Primo is survived by daughter Darlene C. Martino of Glenwood springs; sister-in-law Violette Spitzer; stepchildren/grandchildren Debbie and Kenny Swartz, Jarrod and Katlyn Majkut, and Frank and Bill Forster and families.
Primo was preceded in death by his first wife; Paul Forster and Carl Forster.
The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Farnum-Holt Funeral Home, with Sean Jeung officiating. Interment will follow immediately at Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs.
All family and friends are invited to a buffet luncheon celebration of Primo’s life at Rivers Restaurant.
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