(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A sitting senior judge and retired District Court Chief Judge of the 4th Judicial District died on Tuesday, Oct. 31, after collapsing during a hunting trip with his family.

The Honorable Gilbert “Gil” Martinez passed away on Tuesday at the age of 72. According to the Colorado Judicial Branch, Judge Martinez was on a hunting trip with family near Gunnison when he collapsed upon returning to camp after a hunt in deep snow.

“I am saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of Judge Martinez. He was always committed to making sure that our judges were serving the public to the best of their ability,” Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright said. “Everyone who met him instantly liked and respected him. He was a judge’s judge, and an integral part of the community he so proudly served.”

Chief Justice Boatright added that Judge Martinez was so well respected by his peers that he served as the Dean of the New Judge Orientation School for approximately 20 years, and gratefully used the platform to share his immense wisdom with the state’s newest judges. Following his retirement from the District Court in 2017, he was asked to mentor many judges and chief judges throughout the state.

“His contributions to the judiciary are too numerous to count or recall, but his legacy will live on as a tremendous jurist, educator, friend and family man,” Chief Justice Boatright said. “This is a major loss for the judiciary and legal community, but right now, and most importantly, our hearts are with Gil’s beloved family.”

Judge Martinez leaves behind his wife of more than 50 years, Joanie Martinez, two children, seven grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

Judge Martinez was born in Trinidad, graduated from Northglenn High School in 1969, received a civil engineering degree from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1974, and received his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1977.

After graduating from law school, Judge Martinez moved to Colorado Springs for a one-year fellowship with Pikes Peak Legal Services. After completing the fellowship, Judge Martinez joined the Office of the Public Defender in Colorado Springs where he served a total of 11 years, five of which were as head of that office.

Details regarding a service for Judge Martinez will be released at a later time.