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Brussels, June, 1st, 2017 (SIGNIS). It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Fr. Jerry Martinson. "Jerry understood the importance of listening as a component of communication, and of speaking in language that was accessible to his audiences. On a personal level he had an extraordinary ability to engage total strangers in genuine conversation, listening to them with respect and honoring them with friendship. He was truly an Ignatian “man for others.” Frank Frost
Fr. Jerry Martinson, SJ was born in San Diego, California, USA in 1942. He entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1960. After completing a Masters Degree in Philosophy in 1967, he was sent to Taiwan where he studied Mandarin intensively for two years. He then spent a year doing social work in a small Taiwanese town where he lived with a local family. He was ordained a priest in Taipei in 1973 after completing Theology studies at Taiwanans Catholic Fu Jen University, where he also taught Philosophy.
In 1974, Fr. Martinson was assigned to Kuangchi Program Service (KPS), a Jesuit-run TV production center in Taipei, where he has worked until the present. He was President of KPS from 1980-1986 and remained as Vice President until today. His work at KPS has included producing and hosting TV series for Chinese audiences in Taiwan and China, producing international documentaries, and conducting communications training throughout Asia. Jerry was an enthusiastic fouding member of the Asia-Pacific Communication Network for which he conducted and participated in communication training courses throughout the Asia Pacific Region for twenty years. He served for many years on the OCIC Board of Directors and was Vice President of OCIC from 1984 to 1990.
Jerry was a man of television but also and active in OCIC. He always favoured a merger between OCIC and Unda. For him it was content which was important and everything was audio-visual. He stressed that if Catholics in the media wanted to have a voice and an image they had to be true professionals.After the foundation of SIGNIS, Jerry became a delegate and in 2014 member of the SIGNIS board representing the International Organisations. He was a very active member of the SIGNIS TV desk and hosted its 15th seminar in Taipei in 2016. He was also very closely involved with the production of Martin Scorsese's Silence. The presence of Martin Scorsese at the Congress is the result of Jerry’s commitment as a professional and one of the most important gifts in the life of SIGNIS.