Charles "Chuck" Martin, long-time private equity investor, dies at 80

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Charles “Chuck” Martin, founder of investment management firm Mont Pelerin Capital LLC and a senior adviser to private equity firm ClearLight Partners LLC, died on March 28 at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California, from complications related to liver cancer. He was 80.

Michael Kaye, managing partner of ClearLight, describes Martin as “someone we would call on regularly.” “He was an extraordinarily intelligent and seasoned ventured capitalist. While very involved with charitable organizations, he was a very clear-eyed person that was excellent in the role that he played with ClearLight.”

Martin served on the boards of multiple companies and was known for his philanthropic efforts throughout Orange County, California, including supporting the University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; and the Orange County Museum of Art.

Born in 1937, Martin was raised in a small town in Ohio and grew up to be the first person in his family to attend college. He attended The Ohio State University in 1955 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics. He had five majors, according to his LinkedIn profile, which included: physics, mathematics, chemistry, electrical engineering and business. Martin graduated in 1960. He was later honored in 2007 with the College of Engineering’s prestigious Benjamin G. Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medial for his achievements in business, finance and higher education.

Following graduation, Martin worked at Hughes Aircraft Co.’s defense electronics facility in Fullerton, California. After his stint at Hughes, Martin had a distinguished career as an entrepreneur and investor during the 1980s and 1990s. He served as the founder and manager of two investment firms, Enterprise Partners and Westar Capital.

For 25 years, Martin co-owned TEC International, now known as Vistage, a development program for executives. He founded Mont Pelerin Capital in 2005. Spanning 35 years, Martin served on the boards of 47 companies.

An arts advocate, Martin and his wife, Twyla, donated $2 million to Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in 2005. Though not much of an emotional person, according to Kaye, Martin showed great enthusiasm towards his commitment to the community and when he spoke of his wife Twyla. Martin authored four books and published numerous articles on investment strategy, global economics, public policy, and higher education issues.

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