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Kester, Martin Russell February 24, 1957 - July 5, 2024

Martin Russell Kester, 73, passed away peacefully at home on July 4, 2024, in Belvidere, NJ. Born on February 24, 1951, in Anchorage, Alaska, Martin lived a full life marked by generosity, humor, and a love for his family.

He was the son of the late Dolores Kester (Ryan) and the late Ernest Kester and grew up an army brat moving between several different states across the country. It was at the final army base at Fort Monmouth, NJ where he met his first wife, the late Anita Kester. They eventually married and together had 3 children and raised them in Hackettstown, NJ.

Martin’s zest for life was evident in his interactions. No one remained a stranger for long around him, as he had the unique ability to transform first meetings into a mutual exchange of life stories. He treasured his friends as family and kept track of everyone throughout the years. He loved to laugh and had a knack for recounting tales that brought smiles and laughter to those around him.

He is survived by his children, Michele Ike, Martin Kester, his wife Julie, Julie Heymach, Jason Witt and step-daughter Margaret Puleo. “Big Grandpa” to Gavin, Emma, Anita, Allison, Owen, Natalie and Hannah. He is also survived by his sister in-law, Carolyn Felix, brother, Michael Ryan, sister in-law, Maureen and his nieces, Katie, Kerry & the late Kelly.

Martin later remarried and was predeceased by Linda Kester and after 23 years of marriage, Earlene Kester. It was after Earlene passed away that Martin converted to the Mormon faith and was dedicated to that process up until his passing.

It would be an understatement to say that Martin had a passion for genealogy, dedicating many hours to tracing and expanding his family tree. His discoveries were not only a source of personal joy but a treasure he loved sharing with others.

The Cochran Funeral Home in Hackettstown is assisting the Kester family during this time. Martin’s life and legacy will be remembered and celebrated by all who knew him with a visitation at the funeral home, 905 High Street, Hackettstown, NJ on Friday, July 12, 2024 from 4-8 pm.  The funeral service will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,  156 Mountain Rd, Ledgewood, NJ on Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 10 am.



  1. REPLY
    Roy & Tricia says

    We were very sorry to hear of Marty’s passing. Tricia (nee Ryan) Lewis always enjoyed his spontaneous phone calls as they would talk about the genealogy work, he had been doing. As many must know his short phone calls would usually turn, into an hour of old memories and much laughter. He will be missed by both of us (Tricia and Roy Lewis.

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