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By Pat Doody
staff writer 

Marty Pay announces his retirement


January 21, 2023


Marty Pay.

It was 43 years ago in June 1980 that Tehachapi's best known insurance agent, Marty Pay, joined the Farmers Insurance Group and opened his own office in the San Fernando Valley.

The office was located on Van Nuys Blvd. over the world-famous Hamburger Hamlet. His prior insurance training had come from the seven and a half years he spent with the Auto Club where he had worked since 1972 following his release from the Marines. Having his own office was a whole new world. His work experience after leaving the Marines consisted of desk jobs like key-punch or motorized messenger for PacBell, the phone company in Los Angeles. Now after almost 50 years of selling insurance, Marty Pay has announced his retirement to be effective on March 1. But his clients need not worry. The agency will continue under the able leadership of Marty's office manager, Ginger Patz.

Marty was born in Toronto, Canada, and moved to Los Angeles when he was 11 years old. The family lived in the San Fernando Valley where his father worked in the tool and die industry. Marty went to Valley College for a year after high school and then enlisted in the Marines. After receiving an Honorable Discharge he returned to get his Associate's Degree. He finally got his Bachelor's Degree at the age of 51, his Master's Degree at 53 and a second Master's (Chartered Life Underwriter) at 55. Now he wants to go back to school for a Master's Degree in History, a subject he has always loved and now intends to teach.

However teaching is not new to Marty. He has been teaching Business, Financial Planning, Marketing and Leadership for many years with the University of Phoenix in Bakersfield. He has been awarded Faculty of the Year once and been runner-up twice.

A good friend of Marty's had moved to Tehachapi and told him about a Farmer's Agency that was available. It was perfect timing as Marty was growing tired of his daily commute from Thousand Oaks to Sherman Oaks and he wanted to get his family out of the LA area. Marty bought the agency; his LA associates told him he wouldn't last six months here, but they were soon proved wrong.

Marty started as a spokesman for a civic group and then moved into guest hosting and debating various issues on KFI and NPR. He had a show called "Understanding the Issues" with George Runner in the 1990s. A show with Clay Koerner, "Taking Care of Business," ran for four years weekly on six stations and is still available on YouTube. "The Clay and Marty Show" had an offer to go national but Marty decided he really wanted to teach. Over the years, Marty has done over 500 interviews with the likes of Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, Kevin McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, Jr. and George Allen.

Ten years ago, Marty married the love-of-his-life, Laurie Aldrich. At one time she had worked for him. They re-met five years later and she has been by his side, lending her support to Marty and the community ever since. Over his career, Marty has been named to Toppers with Farmers 26 times, been President of the Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce three times and President of the Financial Planners Association. In Tehachapi, he was the Founding President of the Family Life Pregnancy Center, having also started one while working in the San Fernando Valley.

When a friend of his who was sponsoring Project D.E.F.T. retired, Marty adopted the program that collected Christmas cards for veterans who are confined to nursing homes. Marty says that every year Project D.E.F.T. (Don't Ever Forget Them) receives fantastic support from Tehachapi residents. He was once convinced to fill in as Santa at a nursing home and that substitution turned into a gig that lasted 15 years. One year Ida Perkins, who was president of the Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce, convinced Marty to be Santa for the Christmas Parade; he agreed and Marty and Laurie were Mr. and Mrs. Claus for four years.

About eight years ago, when Marty was approached to sponsor Toys for Tots in Tehachapi, he agreed on the condition that all the toys would remain in Tehachapi. Since that time nine or 10 more businesses have joined his drive as collection points for the toys. For years Marty started his toy drive during the summer with a "Christmas in July" celebration when he would dress up as Santa wearing shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops. The event was a huge success.

Following open-heart surgery in 2022, Marty decided it was time to take a step back. Marty Pay has become an institution in Tehachapi and after 43 years with Farmers Insurance, he says, "Working insurance in this town has been a blessing." He wants everyone to know he will still be around. He intends to keep a desk in the office, just in case.


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