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Love that will live on

Gianluca Cuevas
Carmen Tellez and James Martinez sit down with The Prospector to share updates on the scholarship honoring the passing of their son, Diego Martinez.

September 29th, 2023, UTEP student Diego “D” Ivan Benjamin Martinez died in a tragic motor accident. Martinez was 19 years old and a proud UTEP student in his sophomore year studying Engineering. Martinez greatly loved his family and friends, and created Legos, Star Wars, Basketball, and more. With two caring parents and four caring brothers, the Martinez family has an endless love for Diego.  

To honor Martinez and the beautiful legacy he leaves behind, his parents, Carmen Tellez and James A. Martinez, will be creating a scholarship in his honor, The Diego Martinez Memorial Scholarship. Although the scholarship is in its early stages of planning and executing, the family hopes it will help some students during their university journey. The Martinez family says education was critical to Martinez, especially in the realm of Engineering.  

Diego’s family says he was driven and interested in many hobbies throughout his youth and high school. His parents say he had a huge love for Legos and hobbies like these showed off his Engineering and his spirit of determination. 

“Since he was young, he loved Legos and transformer figurines,” Tellez said. “They had ones (transformers) where you can actually build and take apart, so, at night, he would still mess with them if he wanted to get distracted from homework.”  While one may think Legos are for children, this was Diego’s way to decompress from the stresses of school and life.  

“By the time he was 15 or 16, he would buy the big Legos, particularly when he wasn’t in school,” Martinez said. “And he spread them out on our table, and for a week, you’d get up at two in the morning, and he was out here doing his Legos.”  

Martinez’s dedication to what brought him joy later spread to sports-loving Flag Football and Basketball. Martinez was the starting point guard for two years and team captain in his senior year in basketball at Coronado High School. He also was in flag football, creating a playbook for his coach. He loved organizing his city leagues and managed an intramural Basketball team in his first year at UTEP.  

Another passion of Martinez’s was his motorcycle, wanting one for himself for one after experiencing his brother’s motorcycles.  

After saving money, working jobs and shopping around in and out of El Paso, Diego found a bike he loved in Tucson. Martinez speaks to how his son’s dedication to the bike impressed him and how much joy shone from him because of it.   

“So we bought the bike in Tucson, and he asked my brother to drive it to Tucson in my brother’s pickup,” Martinez said. “And my brother told me on the way back for three hours Diego was telling him all about all the things he was gonna do to the bike to make it his unique bike.”  

While Diego had many hobbies, his one favorite hobby was being a big brother to his little sibling,Joaquin Martinez. Martinez often says he was Joaquin’s “BIBFFL or Built In Best Friend For Life”.

“He had a really special relationship with his younger brother, as Diego was Joaquin’s hero,” Martinez said. “He was always our mediator, always looking out for Joaquin,” Tellez said. “Making sure he was doing well in school, not slacking, working hard in basketball, minding his mom and dad.” 

Martinez loved life and it showed this through his bright personality and connections with his friends. He was dedicated to his love of engineering and hoped to be a professional engineer for a prominent engineering company. Martinez speaks to how the scholarship can serve his legacy in the future and display the amazing qualities he possesses. 

“He just was engaged and had a real joy for life and was being happy with who he was,” Martinez said. “Hopefully we can do some good in his name and help somebody who might be difficult to go to college and make it possible for them to go. I’m 100% confident Diego would be happy with it.” 

H. Catching Marginot is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
Gianluca Cuevas, Photographer
Gianluca Cuevas is a staff photographer for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics. He plans to work in the automotive industry designing cars/mechanic in the F1. He also has his small photography business 365elements which he plans to continue to grow.
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