Shark attack victim had Birch Bay home

Published on Thu, May 1, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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Shark attack victim had Birch Bay home

By Jack Kintner

Dave Martin, a San Diego area veterinarian and part-time Birch Bay resident, was killed last week by a Great White Shark off the coast of California while deep water swimming. He was with a group of nine tri-athletes swimming at Solana Beach but was the only one attacked.

“The shark lifted him 10 feet out of the water after taking off one of his legs and badly mangling the other one,” said John Gregerson, his neighbor both in southern California and Birch Bay. “He died on the beach from blood loss. They were 150 yards out when this happened.

An autopsy discovered tooth fragments that identified the shark as a Great White about 16 feet long.

Martin, 66, was in Birch Bay last week to work on his house and finalize plans to move here for the summer according to Gregerson, whose wife Barbara said that the families have been close friends for many years. “They were our neighbors, people we shared Thanksgiving dinner with many times,” she said.

Martin visited the Gregersons about 10 years ago and ended up buying the house next door on Birch Bay Drive. “He’s spent the last few years working on it to use it as a summer home,” Barbara said, “and he was looking forward to bringing his grandkids up here to pick berries to make jams and jellies. He liked to get fresh veggies, come home and fix a big salad. He loved the water, liked to crab and eat seafood. He liked it here,” she said.

Former high school teacher Richard Sturgill, a Blaine resident for many years, recalled how he worked with Martin in the years he taught high school in southern California. “We were trying to preserve a natural area so I took my kids on a field trip to see it and he helped us out a lot. He was a great guy,” Sturgill said.

Martin was a tri-athlete who participated in local events like the Ski to Sea race. His death was widely reported as it was the first by shark attack in San Diego County for almost 15 years. A memorial service is planned for May 3, in California.