Longview native Martin Eugene Kauble, a piano teacher who tutored hundreds of local students over four decades and who loved muscle cars and fine wines, died suddenly at his home on the afternoon of May 11, 2022. He was 59.
Martin was born in Longview on Sept. 9, 1962, to Eugene Kenneth Kauble and Gisela Katharina (Herbener) Kauble.
Martin graduated from Mark Morris High School in 1980 and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma in 1984 and 1986. He continued to be friends with many of the PLU piano instructors throughout his career, consulting with them regularly on performance and other questions about music.
Martin began teaching piano locally in 1984. Many of his students became successful teachers and performers themselves, and several of his students became young artists for the Southwest Washington Symphony. His death is a huge loss to the local music community.
In recent years, he has served as an impresario of sorts to promote the career of Abriana Church, a budding young Idaho pianist whom Martin met at a Portland piano dealer. Martin sponsored several recitals for her in Longview, and another digital-only performance was shot recently and is in production. Church called him her "Uncle Martian."
As a musician, Martin was old school insisting that students learn to read music, play the scales (the basis of harmony and smooth playing) and faithfully stick to tempo. The tick-tock of his electronic metronome constantly pulsed through his piano studio.
When the COVID pandemic shut down in-person lessons, Martin overcame his aversion to technology to teach remotely, using a camera mounted over one of his Steinways. Still, he devoutly refused to own a cell phone and barred them from his studio, insisting that they are too distracting, shorten attention spans and keep people from interacting with one another.
Few things got him as riled up as the time young people spend on video games, sports activities and social media factors he felt have weakened interest in piano lessons.
As much as he revered classical music - he owned what certainly is among the largest private collections of music scores in the region - he was no long-hair. He loved most forms of music, excepting rap and modem atonalism.
As accomplished a pianist as he was, Martin nevertheless preferred not to play in public. A rare exception was his senior PLU recital in Longview when he played Franz Liszt's famous and diabolically difficult "Mephisto Waltz," among other compositions. He said he enjoyed preparing students for performances, but playing in public himself was too stressful. His students remember how profusely he'd sweat before their own recitals.
In private, though, Martin was known for playing with enough force to break strings, including those on the three vintage Steinway grand pianos in his home and studio. If he learned of a student's birthday, he would pound out a dramatic, improvised rendition of "Happy Birthday," ending it with a flourish and a roomful of appreciative applause.
When he was younger, Martin enjoyed bodybuilding. But an obsession that stuck with him most of his life was his passion for Mopar muscle cars of the 1960s. His 1966 Plymouth Belvedere and 1966 Plymouth Satellite were his pride and joys, and he showed them off at local car shows, parades and other special events whenever he could.
Above all things, Martin loved and craved friendship. He could be touchy and easily take offense, but he loved big. He had friends throughout the community from all age groups and social strata, and he enjoyed sharing camaraderie and his collection of fine wines.
Martin was predeceased by his parents. He has bequeathed his estate to Pacific Lutheran University to fund student music scholarships.
A service will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 4, in the Wollenberg auditorium at the Lower Columbia College Rose Center. Pastor Mike Freeman will officiate.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to the music department at Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Ave. S, Tacoma, WA 98447 or Community Home Health & Hospice, P.O. Box 2067, Longview, WA 98632.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Steele Chapel. Martin will be laid to rest with his parents at Longview Memorial Park.