Headline: UC Davis alumnus killed in shark attack
Layercake: Veterinarian school alumnus David Martin attacked while swimming
By RITA SIMERLY
Aggie News Writer
UC Davis alumnus Dr. David Martin died after being attacked by a great white shark off the coast of Solano Beach, Calif. while participating in a triathlon training swim on the morning of Apr. 25.
Martin was swimming with eight other people at the time of the attack, which took place approximately 150 yards off Fletcher Cove in Solano Beach. Martin died from blood loss after the initial bite, which left several large wounds on his legs, according to the San Diego County medical examiner’s office.
Autopsies have confirmed that the attack was by a great white shark. Tooth fragments found in the wound indicate that the predator was 15- to 16-feet long.
Martin, a 66-year-old retired veterinarian, earned his four-year professional degree from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1966.
“He was a relatively quiet guy but had a lot of confidence in his ability,” said Joseph Zinkl, Martin’s veterinary school classmate and current professor emeritus of pathology, microbiology and immunology. “He was a good student but never a braggart, a modest person with great capabilities.”
Martin was an active athlete who enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking and water sports. He acted as goalkeeper for the UC Davis water polo team in the early 1960s and was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho, a social and professional fraternity for men with an interest in agriculture.
“It’s a great loss. He’s a very fine individual,” Zinkl said.
In 1970, Martin was offered a job as a veterinarian in Solano Beach. Within a week, he and his family moved to Southern California.
“Over the years, he became a fixture in Solana Beach,” said Martin’s 41-year-old son Jeff Martin to the media Apr. 27. “If your cat was sick or your dog was injured, you took it to see Dr. Martin. Around town or on the beach, most people simply called him Dave.”
Martin is survived by four sons and a daughter, four grandchildren and a girlfriend. His memorial service was held May 3.
“It is important today that as a family, as neighbors and as a community we all find the personal closure we need to move beyond the grief and to acknowledge that our dad lived a wonderful and happy life,” said Jeff Martin in a general media announcement.
In memory of Martin’s contributions to the community, his family has founded the David Martin Memorial Fund, which will be used to award scholarship money to full-time college students who participate in triathlons, according to the City of Solano Beach official website. Further criteria for the selection of the recipient will be outlined at a later date.
The attack resulted in a closure of 17 miles of beach by local authorities. The area was reopened Monday without further incident.
RITA SIMERLY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.XXX