Obituary of Victor Martens


Passed away peacefully at KW Health Centre of Grand River Hospital, Kitchener on Sunday, November 25, 2018 after suffering a stroke 10 day previous.


Dear husband and best friend of Beth Ann de Sousa.  Loving father of Clarence (Beth), Christine (Glen) Morrison, Andrew (Janice), Tim (Shirley), and Cynthia (Tom) Steele; devoted step-father of Martin de Sousa.  Will be fondly remembered by his 10 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren; daughter-in-law Gwen Startek, Beth Ann’s mother and siblings, numerous nieces and nephews.


The youngest of six born to Russian Mennonite immigrants, Victor left his hometown of Yarrow, BC, to pursue music studies in Winnipeg and Detmold, Germany. After a decade of teaching at MBBC in Winnipeg, Victor moved to Waterloo in 1969 to create the voice program at WLU. Under his leadership, it quickly became one of the leading programs in Canada, known for the solid technical foundation given to its students. The recipient of several teaching awards, both as a member of the Faculty of Music and as Professor Emeritus, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from U of W, Victor never truly retired. He was, in fact, currently teaching at WLU having given lessons and a master class the day before suffering the stroke. Former students carry on his legacy of teaching and performing throughout the world. Well known and respected as a conductor, he particularly enjoyed his collaborations with the CBC, the former Canadian Chamber Ensemble, the KW Symphony and the Grand River Baroque Festival. As a performer, Victor sang everything from gospel to opera, but his beautiful lyric tenor was especially recognized as an interpreter of lieder and the roles of the Evangelist in Bach’s oratorios.


Friends are invited to share their memories of Victor with his family during memorial visitation at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King St. S., Waterloo, on Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 1-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. and Sunday, December 2, 2018 from 1-4 p.m. A musical celebration of Victor’s life will be held in the coming months.


In lieu of flowers donations to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region or the Mennonite Central Committee may be arranged through the funeral home at or 519-745-8445.




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