Welcome to the centenarian club, Mattie

Mukilteo resident celebrated his 100th birthday last week
By Brandon Gustafson | Feb 14, 2018
Photo by: Wendy Wojcik Mattie Martin with some birthday cards. Martin turned 100 on Feb. 7, and celebrated with friends and family.

The odds of living to be 100 are not very high.

According to the U.S. Census Special Report on Centenarians, there were 53,364 centenarians in the United States in 2010, or about 1.73 per 10,000 people.

Not great odds.

Combine those odds with serving in the Navy in WWII?

I’m no mathematician or odds maker, but I can probably assume the percentage would get far worse.

Someone who beat all those odds and joined the centenarian club is Mukilteo’s own Mattie Martin, who, on Feb. 7, joined members like Bob Hope, Beverly Cleary and George Burns in living to 100 years old.

Martin has lived in Mukilteo for 32 years in the Harbour Pointe area, and is a charter member of the Mukilteo YMCA and an avid swimmer.

Wendy Wojcik, Martin’s water fitness instructor at the Mukilteo YMCA, believes his swimming likely plays a role in his longevity.

“He swims every day, and that is one of the reasons why he has lived so long and is so healthy,” Wojcik said.

Martin was born in New York City, and his family moved to Brooklyn before he started school. He says he started swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when he was 7 years old.

Martin attended Public School 162 and New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn.

He worked at a garage his family operated, which housed more than 100 cars in the ‘30s, and ended up joining the Navy during WWII at 25, and remained in the Navy for 20 years.

Martin met his wife Joyce in 1943, 75 years ago, and married her three years later, right after WWII.

Together they have three children: Richard of Kirkland, Carol of Mukilteo and Ruth of Everett. They also have six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Why Mukilteo for Martin?

“Nice neighborhood, nice neighbors, great YMCA, and close to our daughter,” Martin listed.

According to Joyce, Martin is quite the family man.

“He is a most loyal and loving husband and father,” Joyce said. “Always engaged and aware of life around him.”

Even being with him for more than 70 years, Joyce doesn’t think he looks or acts 100.

“No, I would not guess he is 100—more like 80-85,” Joyce said.

Joyce also said Martin has been an avid reader his whole life.

“He favored non-fiction and technical books,” Joyce said. “Often as a teenager he had four to five books going at the same time.  If he needed more information on a subject, he took the train into New York and went to the big library there.”

Joyce said Martin has lived this long as he’s luckily had good health and little stress, and has stayed interested in his hobbies, travel, and reading.

She, like Wojcik, thinks his swimming has played a large role in that as well.

How did Martin celebrate the special occasion? He partied with his family.

“Had two parties: first, on Feb. 7, we had a party at our home with family,” Martin said. “Then, on Sunday (Feb. 11), we had an open house for friends, neighbors, and family.

“Only three members of the family were unable to be here due to colds and away at college. It was a great party.”

So once again, happy birthday to Mattie Martin.

Chances are you can catch him swimming laps around others at the Mukilteo YMCA.


Martin being lifted up by his swimming partners at the Mukilteo YMCA. Martin has been an avid swimmer his entire life, and swims at the Y nearly every day. (Courtesy of: Wendy Wojcik)
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