Key Hope Hospice founder dies

Key Hope Hospice founder dies

DUBLIN, CA (Sept. 21, 2022) — Richard “Dick” Martin, one of the founders of Hope Hospice, died on Sept. 13.

Martin was instrumental in rallying local support and an all-volunteer workforce when Hope launched in April 1980. He also served as the agency’s first chaplain.

“In the 40-plus years since he founded Hope, he never took credit,” said his son Rich. “He always kept the focus and praise on the volunteers and staff who made it successful.”

Jennifer Hansen, Hope’s current CEO, credits Martin for the organization’s strong connection with the community.

“He was heavily engaged with his community, which is why so many people stepped up to help him create this organization in a time when many people didn’t know what Hospice was. Over time, we’ve had several hundred locals volunteer in various capacities, echoing the compassion and selflessness that Mr. Martin and the rest of the initial team embodied.”

Martin, a banker by trade and a deacon at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Pleasanton, led early discussions among a group of concerned citizens about a problem that plagued their hearts: No one should die alone in a hospital.

“Families desperately wanted to move a terminally ill loved one from the hospital to the comfort of home, but it wasn’t possible to do on their own. They needed the assistance of medical professionals to help with the clinical care, but full-time, in-home nursing was an insurmountable expense for most,” noted Karen Archer, a nurse who worked at Hope for 26 years in both volunteer and paid capacities.

A March 1979 letter went out to local churches and personal networks seeking community support, whether in time or dollars. It was important to Hope’s founding team that they not be tied to any organization to secure financing. The fledgling Hope Hospice was entirely operated by volunteers.

Martin was born June 25, 1936, in Redding. He is survived by his four children, Patrick Martin of Livermore, Leslie Wells of Tulsa, Richard Martin of Angels Camp and Kathleen Cannon of Carmel, Ind.; 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Helen Ryan Martin; his parents, Julius and Virginia Martin; his sister, Kathleen Ray; and great-grandson Jack Oliver Turner.

A funeral Mass took place Sept. 20 at St. Augustine’s. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Martin’s name to Hope Hospice at or by calling 925-829-8770.