A Tribute to Doug Martelon

On May 6th, just a little before 10:30 p.m., Doug Martelon, a beloved saint, husband, father, friend, and long time staff member at The Summit Church, went on to be with Jesus, dying of Covid complications he’d been suffering from for over a month.

IMG_0163.JPGIf perhaps you didn’t know Doug, you have felt his impact in every service you’ve ever been a part of at The Summit Church. Literally. Starting in 1994 as a volunteer, Doug has been in charge of production for every event we’ve had, from our first large combined Easter service at the Downtown Marriott in 2004, to the outdoor services at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2011 and 2013, to overseeing the setup at every campus we’ve launched, temporary or permanent.

In Exodus 31, Moses talks about two men, Bezalel and Oholiab, who were “filled with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs… and to engage in all kinds of crafts.” These men fashioned the beauty of the temple and Moses recognized that they were every bit as filled with the Spirit as the priests who proclaimed the Word and led in the sacrifices.

Doug Martelon was our Bezalel. I am not exaggerating when I say there is no part of our production, sight or sound, that he has not touched. Doug worked as a full time Duke theatre manager for 25 years, and set up the light and sound at Cameron Indoor Stadium. He was one of Durham’s most talented production specialists, but he wanted his gifts to be used to help spread the gospel. So in 2008 he came on staff at The Summit Church, for a fraction of what he made at Duke.

Doug was the first one on campus for every service and the last one to leave any special event. He was usually there hours before I got there. In the days when the first volunteers showed up at 6 a.m. at Riverside High School to set up for our three morning services, he’d already be there in the theater, ready with the game plan. He routinely worked until the wee hours of the morning. On more than one occasion—repeatedly, in fact—we had to ask him to take a few steps back so as not to work himself to exhaustion. But he couldn’t. He loved it. He wanted those who showed up to hear the Word and experience the worship to experience it at the highest quality level possible. Jesus and the souls of people were worth it.

I remember standing with him as our 2011 outdoor baptism service at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park began. Doug had worked all night getting the place set up. The wind that morning whipped at a ferocious speed and we feared that it was going to hinder our ability to do the service. Doug kept saying that we were fine. As the worship began, and more than 7,000 people began to lift their voices in praise, I stood beside Doug as tears rolled down his cheeks. His dream had been to see the gospel proclaimed boldly and openly in Durham, and standing here, in the heart of Durham, it was happening. We baptized more than 300 people that morning, but perhaps the moment that stands out most in my mind was that 60 seconds there with a man whose faith and sacrifice had made it happen. I knew I was standing with a hero of the faith.

2021-05-07_16-26-18.pngDoug may have been the most servant-hearted person on our team. Not in a quiet, wallflower kind of way. No, he was large-and-in-charge in any room, and you better not get caught messing up what he and his team were trying to do. But he was willing to work invisibly, fervently, and quite often thanklessly so that the gospel could be better known in the Triangle. And if he found out a staff member had a need at their house--whether it was getting a TV to connect to the internet or getting guidance on a household project--he showed up after work to make it happen. Even if you tried to tell him you just wanted his advice and were willing to hire someone. He just loved his church family and wanted to show it.

And he didn’t just love his church family. His wife Trena and his son Nicholas were the lights of his life. They served right alongside him in nearly every area of his ministry. We pray for them and mourn with them as they face the days ahead.

The greatness of the church is not found in the quality of the talent displayed on the stage. It is in the servant-heartedness of people like Doug. Bold. Sacrificial. Humble. Faithful.

Words cannot describe how much Doug will be missed. In every way. We are who we are because of him. And what we can look forward to in the future is the result of his years of faith and faithfulness.

I can only imagine now the kind of worship he is experiencing in the presence of Jesus, and I know those tears of joy I saw at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park now flow even more freely. We love you Doug, and we miss you. See you soon.

Pastor J.D. Greear

Leave a message for Doug's family

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    Nicholas, I confess I haven’t made much effort to get acquainted with you — (sadly) your father’s passing has made me more aware of who you are. I look forward to getting to know you better!

    Buff Davis
    508 364 4617
    buffdavis@reagan.com

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    I didn't know Doug personally, but what a testimony on his behalf!!! In all things, God is great and greatly to be praised.

  • Storm Stuart

    A note for the family

    Trena (and Nicholas), I want to give you a card (and a hug) in person, but I also want you to know that working with your family on Production has been nothing but a privilege. Doug held (and I can imagine continues to hold in Heaven :) ) the highest standard for his worship and encouraged nothing less in others. Just to share one of my most personal recent memories and illustrate the kind of leadership he modeled, the last time I served with Doug on a Sunday morning, he made a point to walk from the sound booth up to the cameras and back solely for the purpose of adjusting the foot-rest on my chair an inch or two because he felt my feet weren't sitting as comfortably as they could be for the services. To make that a priority when he had so many important things taking up his time...I hope to always have that kind of care and love for those around me. Your family has my love always. - Storm

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    I didn’t attempt Summit, but worked with Doug many times in my high school years. I am heartbroken by this news, and my sincere condolences are with his family.


    -Brian Henning

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    Having started as a volunteer on the production team way back when the Cole Mill Rd. campus became the first satellite campus of the Summit Church, I got to know Doug's experience first hand. The guy always had answers to every question, and I can't count the number of times that he would drop everything at 6AM on a Sunday morning to drive to some other campus just to make sure that there were no hiccups. The guy was a legend of the faith, and he will be greatly missed.

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    As only JD could put into words...Trena and Douglas, your family is here for you. Your Doug is an incredible soul. Powerful, lasting memories. Nick, I know ur as old as my Matt but I remember u in Cathy's class AND sitting stop of the Briar Creek Summit stands helping Doug with production.... ❤️

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    I do not personally know Doug, but I knew he helped the Summit Mandarin Ministry in setting up our worship equipment so that we can worship God every Sunday together with songs and praises. I was saddened when I heard of his death, but I also knew deep in my heart that we Christians grieved with hope as He is with our Lord Jesus Christ now. What a full and fruitful life he has!

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    Doug was not only a servant. He was a visionary. He could take a terrible idea from our student team about how we could make the gospel known from the stage, and turn it into something absolutely beautiful. I've seen Doug stand on the tip of his toes 30ft in the air to fix a light. I've seen Doug at 1am unloading a truck after Christmas at DPAC....on Christmas Eve. I've seen Doug put something on my desk that he knew I needed, but I never asked for...and always with a sticky note "Let me know what account to charge this to." Doug, you are loved. Thank you for modeling the heart of a father, the love of a husband, and the hands of servant for me. See you soon. #EOJ

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    Our family new all of the Martelon's quite well. Our boys are the same age, we had small group together for a season, and then Doug and I worked together on Summit's staff. He was always a "force to be reckoned with." He LOVED his job and did it SO well and no one was going to stand in his way! But he would give you the shirt off your back if you asked him for it! He always encouraged me as I sat at the front desk of the Summit offices. Sweet Trena was always a friend to me and we would share stories of our boys or I would tell her about some of the things her sweet husband did at work that day. My heart has been in pieces since I heard the news.
    Doug I know you are rejoicing now with Jesus. Trena and Nicholas we are grieving with you and love you lots and lots.

  • Anonymous

    A note for the family

    I don't know Doug until his name was brought up during prayer requests in my small group. It is gut wrenching to read the tribute knowing this faithful servant is no longer part of this world. Doug now is sitting at God's right hand enjoying the eternal pleasures. I am grateful for his servant heart for it is everything that I get to see, hear, enjoy, and remember each service production. Praying for Doug's family for healing, grieving, and remaining steadfast in their faith towards our Creator.