Martial R. Thirsk
Class of '65
Martial R. Thirsk is a happy man, and his cheerfulness is evident even in his voice.
“I have always been positive; I’ve never dealt in the negative,” he says.
The reason for part of that joy can be traced to Cal Poly Pomona, from which Thirsk graduated in 1965 with a B.S. degree in accounting. For nearly four decades he has owned an accounting firm in Manhattan Beach (with a view of the ocean) and through the years he has donated generously to the university’s men’s basketball team. He was a 5-foot-10 guard for the Broncos during his time on campus.
“Cal Poly gave me so much,” he explains. “I met guys I’m still friends with. There was a wonderful camaraderie. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.”
Thirsk grew up in Culver City, Calif., and came to Cal Poly Pomona upon the urging of a family friend after a year at another college and two years working. He chose accounting after a recommendation from an advisor at his Catholic high school.
“It was a perfect fit,” he says of the Pomona campus. “It was small back then, but I received a good education.”
That translated into positions as a CPA with Arthur Young and several corporations before he struck out on his own. His youngest son, Justin, shares the load in the office.
In his down time, he enjoys bridge with his sisters (one younger, one older), reads, hikes and runs. And he seems upbeat regarding just about everything, which is all the more remarkable considering his father passed away when he was a senior in high school and his oldest son was killed in an accident 16 years ago at age 29.
Thirsk takes his life’s philosophy, in part, from something he read as a 9-year-old in Reader’s Digest: Don’t worry about things you can’t control.
“I’ve always remembered that,” he says. “Some people think I’m Pollyannaish, but I’m not in denial. I truly believe that things will be good. That’s just the way I am. I am a happy, contented person. I honestly feel I’ve been blessed my entire life.”
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