Development & Alumni Relations Office 


Justin Martin, MB BCh BAO (died 12 March 2020, aged 71)


Obituary submitted by Justin’s daughter, Gillian Quigley


For a man who spent a large portion of his life looking through a microscope, conversely Justin could always be relied upon to see the big picture. That picture could be boiled down to three main things: family, friends and a thirst for learning.


Justin Myles Elliott Martin was born in Dudley, England on 8 November 1948, the son of Dr Justin Martin of Sligo, Ireland and Jean Martin (née Elliott) of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Only a few months later Justin Sr. died following an operation and Jean was made a widow for the second time in her life, having lost her first husband in action during World War II. Following that, the family consisting of Justin and older sisters Caroline and Sarah, moved to Belfast.


Much to the pride of his mother, Justin took after his father and was accepted into medical school and graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1974. Further medical studies took him to Zambia in 1976 and it was there that he met Helen. After six weeks of dating they got engaged on their first trip together to the Luangwa Valley National Park. The following year they returned to Dublin where they got married and then, a week later, they left Irish shores for Calgary where he and Helen embraced the Canadian lifestyle of skiing and camping. In 1987, the family moved west to Victoria where Justin and Helen established a base in Oak Bay that is still as strong today as then.


In 1994, Justin took advantage of an opportunity to practice medicine in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, specifically at the King Faisal Hospital. Over 8 years he built up a large number of expatriate friends and an equal number of stories. Highlights included access to the uniqueness of the desert environment especially along the Hejaz Railway and the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia.


During his time overseas Justin found a love of running and on returning to Victoria in 2002 he developed this even further with membership in the Human Powered Racing triathlon team. Justin used triathlon as a way to meet people, keep healthy, and travel. Highlights included completing the IRONMAN in Penticton in 2009 and representing Canada in New Zealand for ITU World Championships in 2012. On a smaller scale, Justin also loved the community aspect of racing and enjoyed in later years seeing his grandchildren take part in the annual Victoria Thanksgiving kids race.


A voracious reader, Justin’s reading reflected who he was. He could be found at the kitchen table reading anything and everything from the London Review of Books to the New York Times to a Scandinavian crime novel. His love of learning is a gift that he has passed on to many.


Justin died from myelodysplastic syndrome in Victoria, British Columbia on 12 March 2020 and is survived by his wife Helen, his children Gillian and Ben, his son-in-law Chris, and his three granddaughters, Isla, Maeve, and Emmaline, as well as his sister Caroline and brother-in-law Dale.


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