Martin Jay Hapeman, 84, formerly of Edinboro, died on Friday, April 16, 2021 at his daughter’s home in Land-o-Lakes, Florida, where he resided since the death of his beloved wife, Mary, in 2018. Martin was born in Buffalo, NY on December 10, 1936, the son of the late Roy and Mary Hapeman.
Martin and Mary met while both were in college. Martin was an engineering student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), NY. After being wed, and while still in college, the two began their ever- growing family, initially residing in upstate New York. Martin finished his engineering degree and moved his family to Erie, PA in 1965, shortly after beginning his remarkable career at General Electric Transportation Systems of Erie in 1964.
At a young age it was apparent that Martin was destined to become an engineer. When he was just 12, he was inspired to rebuild an engine to saw wood needed to heat his family home. He would often say his ingenious ideas evolved from being “essentially lazy” and not being a fan of hard labor. As an inventor and creator at heart, Marty’s engineering expertise and ongoing technical leadership led to the development of many global products for locomotive, transit and motorized wheel markets that are still being used today. One of his proudest career accomplishments was his role as program manager and project engineer for the development of the world’s first micro-processor-controlled locomotive – the DASH 8 series. His accomplishments continued to be recognized as he was named General Manager of Engineering, followed by an additional promotion to Chief Engineer. His research and development skills led to many patents, with over 25 technical papers recognized in railroad organizations worldwide. Marty’s career path required travel to over 42 countries, often presenting and influencing ongoing locomotive development. In 1993, he was honored for his accomplishments as the recipient of the Charles P. Steinmetz Award – a coveted corporate award selected by GE’s Chairman and CEO for distinguished contributions in engineering. After 33 years at General Electric, Martin chose to retire in 1997 in exchange for time with his wife, Mary, his 10 children, and his ever- growing number of grandchildren.
Martin and Mary had many wonderful years together in retirement as avid ball room round dancers. Martin and Mary felt inspired to share their love of dancing, as Martin became skilled at instructing and calling dance rounds. In retirement, they also enjoyed being “snow birds”, residing in the winter months at their home in Zephyrhills, Florida. They continued to be actively involved in their Catholic faith and were considered members of parishes St. Mark Evangelist Catholic Church in Tampa and Our Lady of the Rosary, Land O Lakes, Florida. Mary and Martin remained resolute in their belief that their faith provided ongoing purpose and determination in their lives. Both Mary and Martin were faithful to their practiced meditation of daily recitation and prayer of the Holy Rosary.
Aside from his career accomplishments, Martin was a gifted musician with outstanding skills as a violinist and pianist. During his busy career, he also managed to be a first violinist and member of the Erie Philharmonic. Martin’s musical talents were admired and enjoyed by many family and friends throughout his lifetime during special events and daily practices. He was also passionate and skilled in car repair, seemingly never turning away an opportunity to rebuild or repair any faulty working vehicle of his own or those belonging to family and friends. Martin was also very involved in rebuilding and recreating the ever-evolving family home with ongoing additions, remodeling and repairs to meet the demands of raising his large family. He was frequently found in his garage inventing and creating whatever abounding project that was sent his way - none seemingly too challenging for Marty.
In addition to his parents, Martin was preceded in death by his beloved wife of nearly 63 years, Mary; sisters Louise Hapeman, Marjorie Warmus, Eleanor Nash and Janet Clark; and brothers, Roy Hapeman Jr., Lawrence Hapeman and Vincent Hapeman.
Survivors include his 10 children, Deborah (Rocco) Taliani, of FL, Mary (William) Kemm, of Erie, Bryan (Sheri) Hapeman of Mercer, Rebecca Harrison, of IA, Lawrence (Cynthia) Hapeman, of NC, Cynthia (Eric) Dillen, of Edinboro, David Hapeman, of Mercer, Martha (Brendan) Minnock, of Mercer, Sean (Mindy) Hapeman of FL, and Jay Hapeman, of Mercer; his brother, Albert, and sister, Evelyn Basher both of NY; also 20 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Friends may call at the Glunt Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 210 Erie Street, Edinboro, on Sunday, May 2, 2021 from 4 to 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church on Monday, May 3, 2021 at 11 a.m. All CDC guidelines requiring face masks and social distancing will be in place.
Burial will be in Edinboro Cemetery. Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at stjude.org. To send condolences please visit www.gluntfuneralhome.com.