ForeverMissed
In memory of "Big Marty", a beloved husband, adoring father, proud grandad, and loyal friend. Martin lost his long, hard-fought and inspirational battle with cancer on October 4th, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. His presence was larger-than-life, and to know him was to love him. We will never forget you.



CELEBRATING MARTIN: As we experienced technical difficulties that prevented us from watching the video tribute provided by Michael Hess during our celebration at Donn's on October the 18th, here is the link: (password: Austin)
https://vimeo.com/366128310

If you would like to make a donation in his name, please consider one of the two organisations that Martin chose: 
  • The Lustgarten Foundation was a constant resource for Martin;
    http://lustgarten.org
  • Christopher House enabled Martin to exit this world in dignity and comfort; https://www.hospiceaustin.org
    Please specify Christopher House in the "support" drop down on the donation sheet

Posted by Mark Hamilton on June 3, 2020
I knew Martin at Lanch Poly in the 70s. I didn't know him well but I played some rugby with him. Sadly I never got to know him well as we moved in different social circles at Poly. However, I always felt I could be good friends with him. He was a kindred spirit I felt. He always made me laugh.
42 years later I suddenly have the inclination to wonder "what happened to Martin? '.... So I Google.
He had a good and happy life and had many people who loved him.
Sadly I came across this site and I learned of Martin' s passing.
My sympathy goes to Jan, one of my favourite librarians :-) and her boys.
Discovering this news makes me appreciate my life and those I love.
My condelences to all of Martin's family and those who loved him.
Posted by Lisa Panesar on May 2, 2020
Happy Birthday Martin my friend. My white candle is lit in honor of you, sending you my love. Best wishes to all your family and friends. Lisa Panesar x
Posted by Gary O'neill on January 31, 2020
I knew Martin through Andy H who was one of my best friends in London before he went to Austin. Have very fond memories of Martin. Very sorry to hear about his passing. My heart goes out to you all. RIP Martin. I shall remember them both again this weekend when England play France. Love. Gary ONeill
Posted by Lisa Harris on December 4, 2019
I popped into our favorite coffee/pastry shop today. I couldn’t help but look at the cakes and pastries and think of you. Those that were your favorites and where you delighted in getting one often two for you to enjoy during out chats. It brought back such a lovely memory. Martin, we’ve said our goodbyes, but you will truly remain in my heart forever.

I miss your wit, your cleverness, your friendship, your frequent phone calls, your funny texts (some were hilarious), the photos of Elliott, your enormous heart, our conversations, your analysis on life and everything else, getting caught up on Adam and Luke, your honesty, your authenticity, your awesome accent, your “cheerio” and toodle loo” at the end of our phone calls. I especially miss your warm hugs.

I smile knowing that you and Andrew are together again. You are both forever missed. ❤️
Posted by RICHARD HOLMAN on November 29, 2019
He always made me laugh, but so much more importantly, he never treated me differently from when I joined Richmond as a young fool, to when he was encouraging me on a serious club initiative two years ago.
Like so many people, you felt better with his presence in the room.
Thank you Martin
Posted by Joni Greeson on November 28, 2019
Tina- long long hug. The journey was gift. I am a better designer and retailer and friend because of Martin. I was blessed to have had him in my life. Hope to see you soon. Xoxo Joni
Posted by Trish Ryves on November 11, 2019
Those we love don't go away,
They walk beside us everyday,
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved, still missed & very dear.
Thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort as you remember a husband and best friend. We are all deeply saddened to hear of the sad passing of Martin, although we only knew him briefly he was a truly kind and gentle man and we feel blessed to have met him.
Sending you all our love,
All the girls in house 2
Posted by Andy Hill-Smith on November 4, 2019
So sorry to hear of Martin’s passing. Slags took a chance employing me in 1988 (after a 360-mile round trip to check out my home situation!) to be Dell’s first ‘remote’ account manager. He led the happiest and most highly motivated team, with many of whom I’m still in touch. He was an inspirational leader to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. I wonder if he realised the positive influence he had on people’s lives. Our thanks to you, Martin.
Posted by Peter Kelly on October 26, 2019
Martin... you were an amazing man who helped Softcat reach “greatness”. Without you in our lives our world would have been much poorer. Thanks for all you did. Love Pete & Sharon Kelly
Posted by Nick Pike on October 24, 2019
Martin - we are truly blessed to have had you in our lives. You gave us amazing friendship, humour, career opportunity, sporting partnerships and the list goes on.... All who knew you were inspired by your courage, bravery and determination. You will be in our hearts forever - with all our love Nick & Jenny Pike
Posted by Greg Grant on October 18, 2019
Martin was instrumental in bringing me and my family to Austin from London when we worked together at Homeaway. Martin, the gentle giant, was a very rare individual, a one in a million. Martin was generous with his time, generous with his encouragement, abundant with humor and treated people with respect. Even in his greatest battle he always cared how you felt and will be missed by all those that knew him.






Sent from my iPhone
Posted by Gordon Harris on October 18, 2019
Martin, the gentle giant, you are sorely missed and I can never thank you enough for the way you made me feel when, your friend and my brother Andrew, passed away a few years back. You were fantastic as you were when you were digging trenches during your college vacation days. You will be remembered forever.
Posted by Andy Fox on October 18, 2019
Martin had the innate knack of delivering a devastatingly-witty put down in such a manner that made you love him even more.
Kind, considerate, fun to be with at all times, even the tough ones, he is a huge loss to everyone.
Quite probably more deserving of an England Rugby cap than many of the second rows of his era who gained them, he was a massive part of the successful Lanchester Polytechnic rugby teams I had the fortune of playing in.
He gave everything in his inspirational fight against cancer, and to the end was still putting loved ones, family and friends first.
Love and sincerest best wishes to Martina, Jan, Adam, Luke and families.
Andy & Sue
Posted by Hilary Saltzman on October 18, 2019
I first heard Martin's voice over the phone one week after my cancer diagnosis, being connected through dear friends. We met a few days later almost 6 years ago on a rainy, cold, dark late afternoon at the Trianon Coffee Shop. I was scared, unsure of how to proceed and vulnerable. Martin sat across from me with printed out pages of all his doctors and connections, his own treatment details and a genuine warmth that I so desperately needed. I had no idea how central this man would be tied to my own well being in the coming years but I did know that first meeting that he was charming, kind and blazing smart.

Over the years as we navigated and tried to outsmart our disease. We shard treatment ideas and promising data. Martin taught me how to "triangulate" and how to best advocate for myself. He introduced me to Dr. William and Maggz LaValley who have also helped me immensely. We pondered life in our bizarre circumstances. I came to know Tina and her unwavering devotion to Martin. I saw a man who loved his sons, their wives and was a proud grandfather too. Our conversations were veiled with an understanding that only one can have when you're in the same crappy boat. While our friendship only inhabited a small corner of Martin's life, it was honest, true and meaningful for us both. He loved his life and was never boastful about any part of it, though he had many accomplishments to his credit. He made you feel worthy and interesting by just being himself. Sometimes when the chips are down you are lucky enough to cross paths with someone that makes it all bearble. Martin was that person for me. I know that Martin has blessed so many people who were lucky enough to walk with him for a day, a month, a year, decades, a lifetime. I will miss him terribly. All of our paths are a little lonelier and infinitely richer for having walked with Martin. To his family and many friends, his light shines brightest on you.
Posted by Christian Leman on October 17, 2019
Martin was a friend and a mentor. He was my first boss at HomeAway, and we stayed in touch over the years after he left the company. I remember walking our dogs along Lady Bird Lake, catching up on a beautiful afternoon in the fall. Warm and generous, he always had something nice, smart and supportive to share even if he was the one fighting the big fight. I miss you, Martin.
Posted by John Banczak on October 17, 2019
Martin - you are one of the most universally loved members of the HomeAway family and will be missed.  We met in 2010 and Martin was my closest work colleague for two years.  Over the next seven years Martin was a regular friend and mentor to myself and Turnkey. Always filled with creative ideas and positive thinking I was lucky to know you and call you a friend.
Posted by Richard Owen on October 17, 2019
I worked on the same team as Martin in 1992 when I was pretty wet behind the ears and he was already an accomplished leader. He was gracious, fun, supportive and just an all around great guy to work with. After all these years, I have nothing but fond memories and he made such a positive impact. He will be missed, but I'm so grateful for the time I spent with him.
Posted by Nicole And Juliaan La Val... on October 16, 2019
Martin was the first Londoner we have known – and we like to think that this is the origin of much of his sense of style, humor and charm which we loved. We were first acquainted through his wife Tina and got to know Martin through visits to their beautiful Austin home, and many vacations together in fun places.

One of our favorites was our trip to Cape Cod which, unbeknownst to us coincided with a gay pride “Bear” festival. As big as he was, Martin was less than completely comfortable with all those bearded men and held firmly onto Tina’s hand. We went on a whale watching tour, which was a bit of wet fizzle until a pod of whales showed up. We can still remember hearing Martin’s excited squeals as he raced around excitedly catching everything on his Flip recorder. He grounded us all when after about 20 breaches he declared that it was getting a bit boring now.

As the passionate sportsman he was, he had a penchant for providing frank, acrid analysis – like pick up the bloody ball and move it forward. As polite as he was, he would usually precede these remarks with an apology or “really” so as not to offend.

Another memory of him, is that in over 10 years I never was able to open the door for him. He always insisted you go first.

Martin – thank you for the fun times, and making our rendezvous around the world in both sickness and health, thanks for being generous with your praise and advice, and cheeky with your wit. It was a privilege to know you.

We miss you big guy, and yes we honor your last words to us, and will look after Tina.  
Posted by Lisa Panesar on October 15, 2019
My friend. You took a chance on me as a postroom girl and you saw potential in me. Dell uk was just the 5 of us and so special and grew into a thriving entity thanks to your leadership and friendship that we enjoyed. Im glad i had the opportunity to tell you what a wonderful, trail blasing, innovative person i had the honour to know. "Simply the best" x
Posted by Keith Aitchison on October 14, 2019
October 1974 – 45 years ago- or was it only yesterday?

It started for me in a tower block student hall of residence at Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry, England. A seat of learning that I’d never heard of before going there.
We formed friendships that we had no idea would last a lifetime and there will be others from that group celebrating Slags life now, as I am, thankful for having been able to be counted amongst his friends.

I had little in common with Martin back then; a temporary home, a common degree course and our love of rugby and most other sports. A Forward and a Back, North and South, Little and Large. Chalk and Cheese .
But like most of us I was drawn to this big, warm, gentle, funny guy who looked like Russ Abbott (a well known UK comedian) and who you just wanted to be with because it made you feel good.

We went on to play rugby for the Poly and Coventry RFC together, shared student houses together for three years and occasionally, between the fun and laughter, attended the library and degree lectures that would somehow later lead to jobs and adult careers and lives.

After Lanch, we all went our separate ways to find those jobs and raise families, and like many close student friendships I would guess, we found it easy to keep in touch infrequently from afar then meet up somewhere, and within minutes it was as if we’d never been apart. As the years passed by, this would happen on visits for rugby matches at Twickenham or at respective weddings or christenings or special birthdays; and Martin was always the same, first with Jan and later with Martina, warm, welcoming and at the centre of the fun. Through good times and difficult he always seemed on top of things and full of the same warmth and good cheer. 

When the Slagters went to Austin, my personal contact became less frequent and was often third hand, but the friendship felt no less strong and when golf later replaced rugby, I looked forward to at least a few days fix of Martin in Ireland on the annual Spring Classic golf trips.
The news of his illness first came after one of these trips, and each successive year of his courageous and inspiring fight have been a matter of wonder. What a man. How we loved and admired him for his strength of character and good humour in the face of such a challenge.

Martin was of course famous as the self appointed prizemaster on those golf trips, and as a result I have what must be one of the most eclectic trophy cabinets in golf , including for example a collection of Bachelors LP’s and a much treasured wood pipe ; being so full of wonderful Martin memories its value has just gone through the roof.

Martin we loved you; we grieve with Martina, Jan, Adam and Luke and all your family and friends . But we will also smile every time we think of you. . Thank you for being our friend.
Rest well.
Keith and Joan xx
Posted by Robert Vallings on October 14, 2019
Tina
You and I have never met but I simply wanted to send you my very sincere sympathy at what must be a very sad time for you.
Martin captained Richmond FC from 1983-1986,which was ten years after I stopped playing but I organise an old boys lunch called The Richmond Heavies Simpson's Luncheon Club and Martin was invited to become a member after he gave up playing which,I suppose,must be all of 30 years ago and before he emigrated to Texas.
What he had not appreciated before he left was that there is an automatic fine of £25 for non attendance at each of the two lunches we have in a year.A lesser man would simply not have paid but despite living on the other side of the Atlantic and for the last six years in particular ,having to fight the dreaded cancer,he paid the levy with a religious fervour and his £50 a year contributed massively to the £1000 we raise for the Rugby Club each season.
We next meet on the 22nd November and I can assure you that we will raise a large glass in his memory.We will miss his strength of purpose and the leadership qualities that made him such a respected and admired figure at Richmond.
Next Saturday,19th October,Richmond plays its first home game at The Athletic Ground since we heard the sad news.The current President has requested the Richmond Flag to be at half mast in recognition and memory of Martin.In addition there will be a minute's applause before the Match starts and a page in the Match Programme.
Tina,the thoughts and prayers from all the members of the Richmond Heavies Simpson's Luncheon Club are with you at this very difficult time
Best wishes  Robert Vallings.
Posted by Colin Wheeler on October 13, 2019
Martin - what a guy, what a colossus - such a wonderful person. You invited me to coach with you at Richmond - it was Luke and Conor's first season. All those years ago. I learnt so much about rugby, and more, from you. I'm glad that we stayed in touch - although not often enough - through the years, and it was always good to see you when you managed to get back to the club. Your sincerity, wit and warmth will be greatly missed. Such sad news. Rest in peace Martin.
Posted by Daniel Steppe on October 12, 2019
When my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, a friend recommended we reach out to Martin. We were scared and in way over our heads. All of the new advances with immunotherapy, genetics and clinical trails had us hopeful and confused. We called Martin. He answered every question. He was smart, candid and open about his experiences. He became our touchstone. We often mentioned his name around the house - Martin did this or Martin did that. If I had a questioned, I knew he had the answer. Even though I didn't always ask them, I felt at ease that he was on our team. My mom died in May and she wasn't able to thank him the way we should have. 

I wanted him and now you to know how much he meant to us. He gave us a sense of community and a sense of hope. I want to thank him for being there for us.

I am sorry that he has passed. I know he will be missed by all the people whose lives he touched.
Posted by Elke, Stefan Lossin on October 11, 2019
We are very sad.
Our memories of Martin are related to his kindness, his great sense of humor and his patience, especially with regard to our rather poor English language skills.
Unforgettable are the times we spent with him and Tina in Austin, Las Vegas, Marathon / Texas and Hannover, spent in the Spreewald and most recently on the Steinhuder Meer.
We are lucky to have known Martin.
We will not forget him. Mach’s gut, lieber Freund
Posted by Maggz And William LaValle... on October 10, 2019
Martin was a great friend to many and also a dear friend to William and me.

He showed up and was present whenever asked. He would be there even though I’m sure, at times, he was struggling, particularly in the last year or so. He'd arrive with a smile and never complained. He didn't want to let anyone down.

If there was a project, work related or otherwise, and he could be of value he would offer his expertise with no hesitation. He was generous with his time. Martin had a unique gift of making you feel that he was focused and interested in everything you were saying. If he wasn’t in agreement and knew a better solution, he would masterfully voice his ideas and somehow end up giving you all the credit. He wanted the best outcome for everyone. He truly cared about people. He loved to help. Martin was “real”.

Martin was kind, compassionate, brilliant, courageous, trustworthy, valiant and loving.

He was a devoted son, brother, husband, father and grandfather. 

Martin completed his life on his terms and as he chose to do.

His loss is immensely sad … and his participation in our lives is cause for great celebration.

It is a great honor to be his friend. We loved him. We miss him deeply.
Posted by Jack Newman on October 9, 2019
Smart, Clever, Quick, Kind, Generous with time, wisdom and treasure: Martin we at ATA love you and will miss you.
Posted by Beverly Dale on October 9, 2019
Martin, I hardly knew ye....and yet in the few months I did, I promptly fell hopelessly in love with a guy I knew was one of the magic ones. Thank you for sharing your extraordinary heart and soul with me. 

And for Tina, a favorite poem by Pablo Neruda that may be Martin's message to you. So much love, B

"When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
for you to smell the sea that we loved together
and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song."

Posted by Kathy Bauman on October 9, 2019
Martin was a wonderful gentle loving person. We know him because he is our daughter's father-in-law. We truly have been blessed by knowing him. We thank you for all of the love you have given to our family. We will never forget the great times we shared with him& his family. You will be deeply missed. I'll always remember how Jacob always called you "Big Marty" May peace be with you Martin. Love, Kathy John Kennadi Justin Jacob Bauman
Posted by John Ellett on October 9, 2019
So sorry to hear this news. I worked with Martin during the early Dell days. While I focused on US Marketing, we always had a great relationship trying to figure out how to build a global company. He was one of the good guys!
Posted by Jackie Bunn on October 8, 2019
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry he home
I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Coming for to carry he home
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I'm coming too
Coming for to carry me home

You will be sorely missed Martin. This song always reminds me of you and all the fun times we had especially during our four years at Lanchester Polytechnic. And I know there is one special friend who will be waiting for you as your soul makes its journey. Til we meet again dearest friend, I thank you for all the memories. Jackie
Posted by Sandra Mihill on October 7, 2019
To my friend,
Martin and I played on our first team together when I was six and he was five. This was the story of our friendship for the next 60 years. From varsity rugby, hockey and cricket to college and life after. I do not know why the good die young, but I do know when a life was well lived.
Life is not measured by material gain but by the character of a man. This was not only a man blessed with physical stature, but a man endowed with the heart and personality that would make its mark on all who were ever in his company.
Martin had a unique gift that could span every facet of social life. He had an innate warmth that drew you to him, and yet never overwhelmed those in his company.
He was simply a special man and the lives of all who knew him are a little less bright with his passing. I shall remember him as an all embracing spirit, and know how fortunate I was to have known him for so long.
Sandra and I send our heartfelt thoughts to you and all the family. It was our blessing to know you all.
Stephen.
Posted by Christine Bridgett on October 7, 2019
I have known Martin since he first started Windsor Grammar School as he soon became a great friend of my younger brother, Andrew. He became very much a part of our family and my mum really enjoyed welcoming him into our home and cooking for him after numerous rugby matches.
Throughout life he was such a big hearted fellow, he always had a knack of making whoever he was speaking with feel that they had his sole, undivided attention. A tremendous sense of humour coupled with a great humility - a very rare combination, he was a very special person and I feel honoured to have known him for so long. I am just grateful that Robert and I managed to spend some quality time with him in Aspen this summer. I will always have many beautiful memories which span half a century. Thank you, Martin, for being a part of my life and such a good friend of my brother's. Rest in peace.
Posted by Donna Berber on October 6, 2019
Martin - you are and always be one of a kind. You possessed an innate ability to always make others around you feel special. Your humor, intellect and wit are legendary, your kindness and sensitivity a rare jewel. And all from one so very big. Your enormous tender heart will always be felt by those who knew and loved you. Truly, it was an honor to know you, and always i will keep a place in my heart for ‘big marty’. Rest well dear friend, it just wont be the same without you

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Mark Hamilton on June 3, 2020
I knew Martin at Lanch Poly in the 70s. I didn't know him well but I played some rugby with him. Sadly I never got to know him well as we moved in different social circles at Poly. However, I always felt I could be good friends with him. He was a kindred spirit I felt. He always made me laugh.
42 years later I suddenly have the inclination to wonder "what happened to Martin? '.... So I Google.
He had a good and happy life and had many people who loved him.
Sadly I came across this site and I learned of Martin' s passing.
My sympathy goes to Jan, one of my favourite librarians :-) and her boys.
Discovering this news makes me appreciate my life and those I love.
My condelences to all of Martin's family and those who loved him.
Posted by Lisa Panesar on May 2, 2020
Happy Birthday Martin my friend. My white candle is lit in honor of you, sending you my love. Best wishes to all your family and friends. Lisa Panesar x
Posted by Gary O'neill on January 31, 2020
I knew Martin through Andy H who was one of my best friends in London before he went to Austin. Have very fond memories of Martin. Very sorry to hear about his passing. My heart goes out to you all. RIP Martin. I shall remember them both again this weekend when England play France. Love. Gary ONeill
his Life

Remembering Martin - A Video Tribute, by Michael Hodgeson-Hess

A friend for life, by John Waters

From the first days of meeting Martin at Kings Court Primary School in Old Windsor, 1961,

I knew he was someone who I wanted to be friends with. We spent ages building  Chuckabooms, our rolling building block  invention and generally creating mayhem.



He was always kind, thoughtful, and loved squeaking our teddy bears in the silent moments of the school nativity plays in his many mischievous ways.



As we progressed through the Kings Court years, he became this intelligent, very tall, blondkid who was top of the class and commanded such a strong presence on the football field that he became such a popular and idolised individual.



I was mad on cricket and I remember on our many teas round our parents houses, ah those fish fingers/ sausage rolls beans and chips with masses of bread and butter were simply the best, Martin said if I wanted to get into the football side I should know all the positions and helped me so much with that.



He was always calm and always knew the answers to things and he rarely lost his temperunless absolutely pushed, especially when he wasn’t allowed out to play if he hadn’t finished  his homework or indoor chores. We would always laugh about it afterwards.



Peggy and John, his parents, always made me very welcome as well as their crazy lovely dog, Dusty. His brother, Michael had all the Beatles singles and we would try to play as many as we could before he came home. He always knew and told us off, happy memories.



We were in the cubs and scouts together and I remember one occasion where we had to perform at the local village Memorial Hall as tiller girls doing the can can. It was so funny  we even got called back for an encore.



By 1967 we had parted school ways, with Martin and our close friends passing the 11 plusexam and going to Windsor Grammar School. This is where Martins love of Rugby began as they never played football there, although we did end up playing for Windsor RoversFootball side which  included a lot of our pals from Kings Court.



Martin gave me the confidence to start playing football and I became very good playing for 3 teams at Trevelyan Secondary Modern School and ended up as House Captain and Head Boy. Something had rubbed off, for sure.



That fantastic and oh so special night in May 1968, when Martin asked me if I wanted to come and watch the European Cup Final at Wembley, to see the great Manchester United take on the Portuguese might, Benfica. The chance to see my all time top footballer, George Best, was a crazy schoolboy dream and here was I, the envy of my class mates.



It truly was a magical evening, an incredible experience, one I will treasure and never forgetand when Martin sent me, recently, the original programme from that game, 51 years ago, the memories came flooding back and I truly felt so humble, sad, elated. We were 12, again. It was such a heartfelt gesture.



After Windsor Boys, Martins rise in the business and Rugby World was amazing and although it is natural to lose contact as you grow and develop it was always wonderful to meet up when we could and the beauty of any meeting was he had not changed and was the polite respectful true fun friend he always was.



I am so glad and proud and lucky to have been part of some of his life and to meet him again in April this year was so special. It gave me such a buzz when I saw this Big Guy walking towards me, always with a warm embrace and smile.. we ate Croque Monsieur had some teaand talked the world over. . He was always interested in my family, my son, Scott and daughter Stephanie and how they were doing. My only regret, we didn’t spend more time together that day, but know he was feeling tired.



He spoke so wonderfully of his life in Austin, his family, his rock and the love he showed me that day was a testimony to this beautiful, charismatic man.



I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see Martin and when I received the message from Tina that fateful, Sunday 6th October, I felt devastated . It was so cruel to hear of him so broken, yet he had found peace away from the pain. I had to get out and walked for hours. I am so glad he had his family’s natural strength courage love and support around him.



He found so much happiness. True happiness, and that’s what he gave to so many people

and I was fortunate enough to be one of them.

SLAGS – A Celebration of a Great Life, by Chris Farrell

“Friendship...is not something you learn in school, but if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship you really haven't learned anything.” Oscar Wilde

I first encountered Martin on 2nd November 1981 when I transferred as a Xerox salesman to London to join a newly formed sales district created with a newly appointed Sales Manager named Martin Slagter. In those days people struggled to pronounce his name – was the g silent - as in Slater. By the end of his first year most knew the name well as he was the Number One Sales manager in Xerox UK. For the next 5 years Martin retained that Number One position whilst he changed sales teams and he took a lot of salesman with him hanging on his coat-tails.
I, along with many others, had the great good fortune to hang on his coattails at Xerox and Dell for the next 15 years. I have much to be thankful to Slags for!
We all will die, the goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will – and Slags, you did that!

All cultures have ways of dealing with death. Where I come from In Ireland, Wakes were more of a celebration of the cycle of life and death, than they were an aspect of mourning. Food, tobacco and drink were provided of course, and music, song and storytelling were expected. This would have been right up Slags Strasse!

He liked nothing better than visiting Ireland with its traditions and one of his favourite songs was this one by Luke Kelly (we tried a duet, he & me, badly a few years back after a few in Westport Co. Mayo!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxmhDuWiEEY

When we convene next we will raise our glasses high and proclaim in Gaelic, sláinte !

Slags was my friend and I miss him but he would not be doing with any sentimentality.
Martin, until we meet again, ma y God bless you and hold you tightly in the palm of His hand.

Recent stories

The big man with a big heart

Shared by Jennifer Farrell on October 25, 2019
My memories of Martin: Kind, generous, warm, genuine.

Martin has been one of my dad Chris’ best friends since the '80s when I was young. As kids, my brother and I always looked forward to visits from Martin - he was a giant, he was kind and fun, he’d let us clamber over him, desperate to sit on his tall shoulders and he always had time to play! Somewhere in my parents’ attic is my 1980s Fisher Price recorder and tapes of Martin being relentlessly ‘interviewed’ by us. One Christmas he gave us some brilliant, inflatable, wearable monster-feet that sealed his place as totally awesome.

Dad and Martin worked closely together through the 80s and 90s at Xerox then Dell and in the days before mobile phones when Martin would call the house to speak to dad, my brother and I always wanted to pick up the phone to speak to Martin because he made us laugh and made time to listen to our inane chat. I would pore over the photos of high jinx and fancy dress costumes when mum & dad returned from their many Xerox trips to exotic locations with Martin (favourite albums included pictures of 3-legged races on the beach and some excellent white tuxedos with sunburned faces on their trips to Kenya or Trinidad & Tobago!)

Not long after the Slagters moved to America I started university in the Twickenham/Richmond area where Martin grew up and where I still live now and I also joined the university rugby team, playing in the front row. I was so excited for Dad to let Martin know I’d taken up the egg-shaped ball in the home of rugby and on his home turf!
Though I saw less of Martin after he moved abroad we’d grab a quick chat on the phone when he’d call dad. There was also the annual golf trip to Ireland every spring for dad, Martin and their friends stretching over a few decades and whenever I’d call them in the bar on those trips Martin had time to take the phone to say hello while they were enjoying drinks at the 19th hole. Poor Martin even had the phone passed around on my 40th birthday this year but would dutifully speak to everyone! Martin always had time for people and you’d always put the phone down feeling brighter for speaking with him.

Then when I visited Austin 7 years ago for SXSW festival Martin and Tina helped to make my trip truly special. They extended amazing hospitality, having me to stay in their beautiful home, taking me for dinner and to an amazing live music venue for an evening I’ll never forget, lending me their pick-up truck (which the cops pulled me over in just a few streets from their home because I was driving so nervously like a true tourist!) Martin even met me at an Irish bar to watch the England/Ireland rugby game on St Patrick’s day and, being a true gentleman, he didn’t rub it in when England annihilated Ireland!
Months later after I went through an upsetting breakup Martin was kind enough to email thoughtful words of wisdom. His generosity in every sense of the word was huge. Truly a gentle giant: someone you could have a laugh with and watch the rugby over a beer, but who also had great empathy and sensitivity and could speak from the heart. He was kind, generous, warm and genuine.

I got married a few months ago and will treasure the beautiful card from Martin and Tina, his generous and touching support for our battle with the Home Office and his e-mail with words of encouragement and “positive vibes being sent over the pond". I know in his last chat with Dad a few weeks ago, just as he was leaving England to fly back to Austin, he expressed his exasperation with Britain’s Home Office and asked Dad to keep him posted on mine and my husband’s appeal a few weeks later, hoping they would do the right thing. A week after Martin passed away we won our legal battle with the Home Office. We did it Martin!!!

Martin really is one of a kind. I joined the live stream to celebrate Martin last Friday and it was beautiful, a real celebration. Adam, Luke, Tina and Chris all spoke so beautifully. What a wonderful tribute. I raised a drink to him here in Twickenham. Our family, the Farrells, have a lot of love for Martin and clearly so do many, many people. What a man. What a legend.
Sending so much love to all his family. You’ve been in my thoughts a lot xxx

My Martin — By David Petty

Shared by David Petty on October 18, 2019
We each have our “Martin” that we know and love.  Here is a not-so-brief view into my journey with Martin Slagter.

Our first Meeting - My first encounter with Martin was during a phone call when I was interviewing to join him and Andrew in the early days of “Habitech” (later Handtech.com).  I had just finished a pretty grueling inspection from AH, and the last hurdle was to have a chat with Martin, AH’s founding partner in crime who was in charge of the London office for Habitech.  I mustered some of my best BS to convince Martin that I was the guy to hire. After I finished my pitch about how wonderful I was, Martin’s response was simply, “Ok, so what’s wrong with you?”. Not quite the question that I was expecting.  So very disarming as only Martin can do. And that was my first glimpse into the humor, the wit, and the man that would become my friend and mentor for 20+ years!

“The Gentle Giant” -  After a successful test for Habitech in the UK, Martin and Andrew decided to double-down and focus on the US market.  So the Slagters decided to move house to Austin. The .com era in Austin was fraught with companies that lavished ridiculous luxuries on their employees, with daily catered meals, massages, happy hours, fitness centers, etc.  Martin and Andrew were much more practical. We found some heavily used desks and chairs of odd shapes and sizes and set up an office for Martin, right near the front door. Martin arrived, took a seat at the desk and quickly found that his thighs were banging into the top of the desk (being the gentle giant that he was).  So rather than purchase a larger desk, he cut-off a 4x4 fence post into into 6” pieces and placed one “stilt” under each leg of his desk to raise it to the proper height. It was absolutely hilarious, especially when we would host potential investors. It really made a statement about our frugality!

Ever the “Idea Man” - Martin was always moving and thinking forward about new areas where we could be expanding our business.  He was an absolutely brilliant strategist. I knew that a potential curve ball was coming when Martin would pop his head in and say, “DP, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany.  Couldn’t we just….[insert new idea here that massively distracts from our current trajectory!].” I learned that the words “Couldn’t we just…” were a warning flare that Martin wanted to do something new and BIG, but was trying to find a way to slim it down into something manageable.  The man’s brain just never stopped. Always 3 steps ahead and looking farther out. That’s just one of the many areas where Martin really helped me grow.

The “Smoking Carpet” - It was the post-Handtech era and Martin was ready and anxious to start his next great adventure.  After a brief teaser with the idea of starting a Kettle Corn business (yes you read that right), Martin settled on transforming himself into a restaurant mogul as the central Texas franchisee for “Johnny Carinos Country Italian” restaurants.  He invited me to join and I leapt at the opportunity to work again with my fearless friend. We opened several restaurants and set-up our HQ in an office on 360. At some point we decided we needed new office space. By that time we had a fair amount of office infrastructure and IT equipment.  I remember Martin saying, “Come on DP, you and I can do this move by ourselves”. So we rented a big UHaul truck and started loading it. We had this massively long, heavy conference table that we tried to carry...but it was too much. “DP...let’s just drag it”...and so we did. We turned it on its side and dragged it through our office, out the door, down the hall, through the lobby, out to the parking lot and into the truck.  We were quite proud of ourselves. Very manly, indeed. So we went back inside to get a few more things and we noticed a trail of smoking, melted carpet that led right back to the door of our office. “Oh shi$, maybe no one will notice”, Martin said. Of course they DID notice and we ended-up paying to replace a 100’ length of melted carpet!

“A Bit Tricky” - I loved Martin’s distinctively British, fabulously dry wit that would show-up when you least expected it.  I remember discussions where we were thinking through a business problem and 2 mutually exclusive alternatives..and sometimes Martin would want to do them both.  I would say, “But Martin, if we do this, then how can we do that?”. He would reply, “DP, that might be a bit tricky!”

“Whiteboard Junky” - Let me just say it.  Martin was one most business savvy entrepreneurs I have ever had the privilege to work with.  He was great at both strategy and operations. Now Martin also had his idiosyncrasies...and one of the bigger ones was his fetish for white boards.  There are not enough white boards on the planet to hold all of his thoughts! The most fun was when we would have a team huddle where we were working through an idea and Martin would be scribbling on the white board, with arms waving, and you could tell there was a mental mind-dump happening right in front of you.  Now at the end of the meeting, Martin would leave the room and the rest of us were left there to digest it all.  We would all look at the white board and then at each other, and you were sure that he was writing in hieroglyphics or some form of unbreakable encryption. You just could not read it. And truth be told, when we asked him to clarify what he had written after the fact, he often had trouble decryptng it himself!

The Pringles Incident - Ok, so two of my favorite snacks are Pringles potato chips and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.  I kept a big stash of both of them in my bottom left desk drawer. Our offices were right next to each other and Martin would often come in to chit-chat and “catch me in the act“ of enjoying my snacks.  I think he was somewhat appalled at my choice of mid-day nourishment. Until one day after I had been away for a few days, he came into my office and said “DP, I have a bit of a confession. I might have helped myself to your snacks whilst you were away.”  And sure enough, there was an open can of Pringles with about 3 chips (I mean crisps!) remaining. And I’m pretty sure he pilfered a peanut butter cup or 2 as well, although he maintained that he would never stoop that low!

There are a million other experiences that I love and remember about Martin and his unique wit and wonderful personality.  Here are just a few of them:

  • Martin was indeed a gentle giant.  You first see him and you can help but expect an over the top, cocky personality.  But Martin was far from that. He was in fact the kindest, caring, wicked smart, empathetic, do-anything-for-you person I have ever met.
  • Every time we would go to lunch, it would end with, “DP, do you fancy a sweet?”.  I will miss this.
  • Mind over matter - Martin never dwelled on the past or on the negative.  Always about solving the problem and moving forward.
  • Martin would build you up when “dressing you down” - Martin was my boss for many years, as well as my mentor and friend.  His “criticism” was so constructive that you truly felt energized after a performance review.
  • Martin would always surprise you...and you would rarely see it coming.  I remember AH’s infamous disco party where Martin dressed-up like a pimp, all in black and donned an awesome gold medallion for his bling.  Seemingly so out of character, but truly totally in character. It was a sight to see
  • His good ole boy pick-up truck with the “Piss Off” sticker on the back window.  Classic Martin!
  • The Astro-turf in the back garden.  Massively practical.
  • The mail-order Audi.  Not just everybody buys an Audi A7 via eBay, sight unseen!
  • And so many more!
To Martin: You have been the dearest friend and a fabulous mentor, and I feel so lucky to have had the privilege of knowing you.  I love you and I will miss you, but know that you have touched so many lives with your kindness, wit, creativity, and generosity.  I am a better person because of you and I will be forever grateful.

Your DP

Our lovely friend

Shared by MALCOLM BRENT on October 17, 2019
We can only echo the words of Stephen and Sandra Mihill about Martin.

Sharon started school with Martin in 1960 aged 4 and I first met him in 1967 at Windsor Grammar School.

In fact, Sharon appears in the black and white photo posted by Michael of the 4 year olds which we think was taken at a birthday Party in 1960! Sharon is second left with the bow in her hair!

He was the most special of friends and it seemed completely right that he was Best Man at our wedding in 1976 and subsequently godfather to some of our children.

We have so many happy memories and it is impossible to think of Martin without smiling. From shared holidays, weddings, christenings to an especially funny afternoon in John and Peggy’s garden celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, we shared in the unique sense of Slagter fun and warmth. There is another hole in our lives now but this one is particularly big!

I know that you will have that glass of champagne waiting!

Sharon and Malcolm Brent