Robert Louis Stevenson’s family were all engineers. Both of his grandfathers, two of his uncles, and his father were all in the same profession. They were primarily known for lighthouse design. It was assumed that young Robert would follow in their footsteps.
But from an early age, Robert’s interest was always in writing. When he told his father that he preferred building stories to building lighthouses, the elder Stevenson agreed to let his son follow his dream, but only if Robert would agree to study law with a view toward becoming a Scottish lawyer. After all, this profession could ensure a way of earning a living while writing probably would not.
Robert agreed, studied the law, and qualified for the Scottish bar. Fortunately for the world, he continued to focus on his passion, writing. Over his lifetime, he wrote classics that still are read two centuries later—Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Plagued by illness all his life, Stevenson traveled the world looking for a climate and environment more conducive to better health. His travels eventually led him to the Pacific Islands in 1888. For three years he trekked to Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Samoa.
In Samoa, Stevenson and his wife eventually purchased land and built a home. Stevenson came to love the Samoan people, and they reciprocated. He became an advocate for them. There, Stevenson was known by the name the Samoans gave him, Tusitala, which translates into “Teller of Tales.”
Stevenson wrote “so long as we are loved by others, I would say we are indispensable and no man is useless while he is loved.” It is no wonder that the road to Stevenson’s home was known by the locals as “the road of the loving heart.”
On December 3, 1894, Stevenson suffered an apparent stroke while opening a bottle of wine. Within a few hours, Tusitala had died at the age of forty-four. The Samoans insisted on guarding his body throughout the night. The next day they bore him down “the road of a loving heart” and up nearby Mount Vaea, where they buried him overlooking the ocean. Stevenson was beloved because of the friendship and love he bestowed upon others.
The same is true of Joseph Martinez. It is hard to express the sadness that I feel with his resignation and retirement. Joseph came to TCDLA at a time when we were in dire need.
For sixteen years he has served TCDLA as our Executive Director. He always carried himself with such grace and dignity. Joseph was a perfect figurehead for us—he exuded class. I would guess that for most of our members, he is the only Executive Director they have ever known.
But as much as anything, I will always treasure Joseph because of the love he showed to our members. He was never too busy to always greet you with a smile and a hug, and it did not matter whether you were the president or a first-year lawyer at Trial College.
Joseph, and his wonderful wife Bertha, were great ambassadors for TCDLA.
Thank you, Joseph, for your years of service, but more than that, thank you for being such a loving personal friend.