In Memory of





Obituary for Stephen "Steve" J. Martin

Nationally Recognized Expert in Real Estate Dies

Stephen J. Martin, a nationally recognized real estate expert passed away May 8, 2023.

Born in Michigan City, Indiana to a World War II Welsh war bride mother and an American father, he was raised in a household that provided him with an education on both sides of the Atlantic through his elementary years. He graduated from Elston Senior High in Michigan City, and from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He pursued his graduate doctoral education by combining classes from the Kelley School, the Indiana University School of Law and the IU Graduate School of Education.

Steve was the youngest University Trustee appointed Director of a Division at Indiana University. He developed and taught numerous business courses in the Division of Professional Growth and Development. His primary field of academic interest was real estate, and he developed nationally award-winning courses with his mentor Dr. George F. Bloom. Steve also represented the school on several university wide committees. He was particularly proud of his work developing I.U.’s “Mini-University” which remains a very popular campus activity to this day. Steve was also executive producer of an award winning, nationally syndicated educational television program used at more that 35 colleges and universities.

Steve developed the IU Real Estate Certification Program (RECP) and that led to the start of the non-profit, Center For Real Estate Education and Research. He led the Center for 40 years and was instrumental in developing the Center’s content that was utilized by universities and colleges throughout Indiana. The programs were so successful that prestigious universities such as Harvard, UC-Berkeley and ASU used them. In addition to his leadership of the Center, he served as the founding Chairman of RealtyU, the nation’s largest consortium for real estate education serving over 350,000 students per year across the country. In addition to Realty U, Steve served on two other private company boards.

But a full-time job and corporate boards were not enough to keep him busy. Steve also worked for years with his long-time business partner, Dean Edward J. Kuntz. They successfully built the consulting firm The GWENT Group. Working with over 35 national organizations, including the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Auctioneers Association (NAA), The GWENT Group assisted with member certification models, accreditation programs and training content. As a result of his work, Steve received over six lifetime achievement awards.

A prolific author, Steve was published by Warren, Gorham and Lamont, John Wiley and Sons, Prentice-Hall, Real Estate Education Company and Author House. His co-author on many of his texts was Thomas E. Battle, also associated with the Kelley School and RECP. Together they published over 17 nationally recognized texts. Several reached best-selling status.

Steve took pride in serving the Bloomington community. His community service included 39 years with the Bloomington North Rotary Club where he was honored to serve as one of the Club’s presidents. He also held committee leadership positions with Trinity Episcopal Church of Bloomington and co-founded the 50+ Men Who Care.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Gretchen Anderson Martin, a brother, Kevin J. Martin (Patty) and sister Michelle Martin Colman (David) and five nieces and nephews (Gabe, Sam and Emily Colman; Zech and Helen Martin).

Gretchen and Steve considered their life to be a charmed one. They met when they were children, stayed in touch for decades and married when they were 35. Their shared life vision was their secret to being happy life partners. Steve and Gretchen especially enjoyed their travels together. Destinations included numerous spots in the USA, the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, and 27 extended trips to the U.K. They enjoyed the warmth of Arizona in the winter and their Bloomington gardens in the spring, summer, and fall. Steve felt his greatest success in life was the deep love he had for Gretchen, who will miss her life partner in so many ways.

A memorial service and celebration of Steve’s life will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church on June 2 at 1pm. The Funeral Chapel of Powell and Deckard is coordinating the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Trinity Episcopal Church “Second Century Fund,” in memory of Stephen Martin.