Before he opened up shop in downtown Denver in 1957, Everett Martinez served his country for three years in the Korean War.
Remembered as being a tough hard worker by his family, Martinez returned home from the Korean War in 1953 to finish his education at the University of Colorado Boulder on the GI Bill where he earned a degree in pharmacy. Once he wrapped up his education, Martinez purchased a drug store on 17th street in Denver toward the end of the 1950s.
The drug store, Cooper Drug Co., operated until the 2000s by Martinez and his wife Mary. Martinez prescribed medicine to the community while operating a Mexican restaurant in the other half of the store. When the Colorado Rockies came into existence, the family used the drug store’s parking lot as an additional source of income for baseball games and gave some homeless people in Denver a job by letting them work the parking lot.
Martinez was my grandfather and passed away when I was only 10 years old in 2004. Toward the end of his life, Martinez was forced to live on a wheelchair. When my grandmother would go downtown to operate the parking lot during baseball games, I would often stay with my grandfather at their house where we would watch Rockies games and the Animal Planet. As soon as my grandmother left the house, my grandfather would often send me on missions to the kitchen to get cookies. And although I was a child and have spent most of my life without my grandfather in it, I still think of him often and wonder what he would say about where I am at in my life now.
Other Martinez’ who have made an impact in Colorado include Martinez’ son, also named Everett. The youngest of three children, Everett attended Holy Family Catholic School before making his way to the University of Colorado Denver. After wrapping up his education in Denver, Everett made his way to Boston where he later graduated from Harvard Law School. Following his education and after working for a few law firms, he got a job for Denver International Airport where he now works as assistant general counsel.
A nephew of Everett Martinez, Sr., Chief Judge Michael Martinez, a graduate from the University of Colorado and the University of Denver College of Law, was appointed to the District Court, Second Judicial District in 2000. He held positions with the Denver City Attorney’s Office, the Regional Transportation District and in private practice. He also served as a Magistrate in the 17th Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield Counties) and in the Denver County Court.
We are in the midst of National Hispanic Heritage Month as the celebration continues highlighting Hispanic families of Colorado and their overall contributions.