Fatal fall at Backbone State Park - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Funeral arrangements for longtime UNI administrator

Drake Martin Drake Martin

Friends, family, and colleagues are remembering a University of Northern Iowa administrator who died after falling off a cliff Saturday.

62-year-old Drake Martin died in the incident Saturday afternoon at Backbone State Park in Delaware County.  Authorities aren't sure exactly what caused Martin to fall.  They say he died at the scene.

It seems like everyone who knew or came in contact with Drake Martin adored him.  He worked in the residential life program on campus.

Martin was also an active member of Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls, where he connected with many of the college students.  Over his 30 years at UNI, it's clear Martin impacted thousands of lives.

The UNI campus is quiet just a few weeks ahead of when fall classes get underway.  The somber feel is fitting, as the college is mourning the loss of a beloved administrator, Drake Martin.

"He was just such a positive force on campus," said Terry Hogan, UNI vice president of student affairs.

Martin worked closely with students living in on-campus housing, especially residential advisors.  Co-workers say he had a unique, charismatic personality, which made it easy for students to feel comfortable around him.

"Every year, he worked with a new group of students and helped them to grow as people and become mentors and peer advisors to their fellow students.  even though he did that for many years, he never lost his passion for it.  he was always excited each year the cycle came around.  he had a sort of ripple effect across campus where he affected people in a positive way and they, in turn, affected others," said Hogan.

Martin was also an active member at Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls.  Sunday, the church found itself both celebrating and grieving at the same time.  Dozens of students made it home safely from a missions trip, but they returned to a church missing one of its own.

"It just takes your breath away because he was so vibrant, so active," said Dave Bartlett, Orchard Hill Church senior leader.

Both Martin's church and college communities say there's a big void now.  But they'll lean on each other to grieve and heal, with maybe a lesson learned from his tragic death.

"Life is short.  I need to make today count," Bartlett said.

Drake Martin has two daughters, one we're told is a student at UNI.

Counselors are currently being made available to martin's co-workers, and students on campus for the summer.  Those services will be offered again when the bulk of students return to UNI in a few weeks.

Funeral arrangements for Drake Martin have not yet been set.

Additional note:
University spokesman Jim O'Connor released this statement Sunday morning on the loss of Martin:

"We are deeply saddened by the death of our colleague Drake Martin, UNI assistant director for residence education. Our thoughts and prayers are with Drake's family and friends.

During his 30 years at UNI, Drake positively affected the lives of thousands of UNI students. He was a compassionate person, a thoughtful student affairs administrator and a committed leader. Along the way he was a great friend, mentor and colleague to many, many staff, faculty and community members. He will be missed."

His funeral will be 10:30am Friday at Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls.

Visitation Thursday from 3-7pm at the Dahl-Van Hove-Schoof Funeral Home in Cedar Falls.


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