Martin ”Marty” Jennings liked all kinds of people, which is one of the reasons he was a good salesman.

But it was when he was with family that his Irish eyes really smiled.

Mr. Jennings, a longtime Portland salesman and the proud patriarch of a loving family, died Friday at age 91.

He grew up one of nine children on Portland’s Munjoy Hill. His parents were immigrants and he was always proud to be Irish, through and through.

”Whenever there was a gathering, he wanted to sing the Irish sing-alongs — ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,’ ‘Danny Boy,’ ” said Sharon Conley of Portland, his daughter. ”They’d sing all of them in the living room.”

He had a beautiful voice, which he also put to good use in church on Sundays and, many years ago, in old-fashioned minstrel shows.

”He was a man who loved to sing and dance,” said Dorothy Rumpf of Scarborough, his other daughter.

At family weddings, which he never missed, he was often out on the floor jitterbugging, his daughters said.

Mr. Jennings left Portland High School before graduating to go to work in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program that was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. He worked in Bridgton and other Maine communities for a couple of years, helping to support his family in Portland.

During World War II, he worked in the South Portland shipyards helping to build Liberty ships.

Later he got a job driving trucks for Portland Distributors, a beverage wholesaler on Commercial Street. He worked for many years as a salesman, supplying general stores and large grocery stores around the state with soda, beer and other beverages.

”It seemed like wherever we went, someone would know him,” Dorothy Rumpf said.

”Tonight, I was at church and some woman came up and said, ‘I remember your dad when he came into Shaw’s. He was always so happy to see people,’ ” Sharon Conley said.

He eventually became a branch manager at the company.

His first wife, Virginia Cushing Jennings, died in 1976. He later met Cecile Collet Croteau of Lewiston, who worked for the same company, and they were married for 31 years when he died.

Mr. Jennings enjoyed sports, and played golf with friends, almost religiously.

”Every Sunday morning, come hell or high water, they went to 8 o’clock Mass and straight from Mass they went to Riverside” Golf Course, said Philip Conley, his son-in-law.

But the center of his life was always family. He was devoted to his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and stayed in touch with his siblings and their families. He enjoyed a huge family reunion last summer, when more than 150 relatives got together in Scarborough.

”He always loved to be together with the family — Thanksgiving at my sister’s house and Christmas Eve here,” Dorothy Rumpf said.

Despite being ill, he made it to Scarborough for Christmas Eve in December and enjoyed once again being surrounded by family. He was tired when he got home, but happy, Sharon Conley said.

”He said, ‘I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful family.’ ”



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