I recently got news that Martin Marancos had passed away. My experience of Martin was that he combined etiquette with a touch of rascal. I never fully understood his background but from what I could gather he grew up in South Africa in a Cypriot Jewish family, spent some time living in London before fleeing some gang violence, finally moving to Cyprus where he married Irene and had a child called Miriam. This complex multi sited heritage gave me some special sense of solidarity with Martin, even if it he tended to dismiss this in conversation as he wrestled with his ideal of being a gentleman.
Growing up Martin had played an important role at key points in my development. My parents were good friends with him and his wife Irene, as well as our neighbor Suzy being a shared friend, and out of this came his offer to be my first employer at age 12. I worked at the weekends on his boat The Neptune as a general waiter and sailor boy ferrying around food, ropes and pints to tourists on board. The Neptün had originally shipped marble from the Turkish mainland around the Mediterranean, but Martin had sailed it back to Cyprus and done a remarkable job of restoring and converting it. Martin also came to my bar-mitzvah to help constitute the minyan, which was not an easy task at that time.
Later in life as a doctoral researcher I turned to him as he had co-founded the local bird conservation organization Kuşkor (Save the Birds) and I was studying people hunting these birds. I had found Martin to be very pragmatic and able to grasp both the importance of my social science alongside his self taught ornithology. He proved an important confidante and source of knowledge during this period, as well as he and Irene and their daughter Miriam welcoming me into their house on many an occasion.
I recall sharing many a tipple and cigarette with him on his porch after having partaken of a delightful and elegant dinner he had cooked, whilst we discussed Cypriot matters and I relayed stories from my fieldwork with hunters. I will miss Martin, but look forward to checking in with his family soon and keeping his story alive, one of synchretic crosslocations.