Date of BirthSeptember 20, 1929

Edward Martin Obituary

Date of BirthSeptember 20, 1929

623 Views

Date of DeathNovember 21, 2016

Edward Martin Obituary

from Orange, Mississippi, United States

Edward Gene Martin, Sr.Lake Charles, LAEdward ("Ed") Gene Martin, Sr., beloved husband, father, grandfather, and passionate founder of Martin Automotive Group, Inc., passed away peacefully at home on November 21, 2016, after a valiant battle against complications from Leiomyosarcoma. He was surrounded by his devoted wife of 65 years, children, and grandchildren.Ed was born on September 20, 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri to Raymond Shirley Martin, Sr. and Marie Isabel Wagner Martin. Ed grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and graduated from Central High School. He then attended the Georgia Institute of Technology ("Georgia Tech") in Atlanta where he majored in Engineering, enrolled in ROTC, and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and the Georgia Tech Varsity Rifle Team. It was there that he met the love of his life and his KA Rose, Hazel Louise Bryant. Upon graduating as a "Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech" and marrying Hazel on September 24, 1951, he enlisted in the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Ordinance Corps. He was stationed on Okinawa when he served in the Korean War, where he rebuilt tanks, trucks, and artillery pieces. After serving their country, Ed and Hazel returned home and had their first child, Kathryn ("Kay") Frances Martin, and Ed worked as an engineer for Armstrong Cork Company and Kaiser Aluminum. During that time, they had their two sons, Edward ("Chip") Gene Martin, Jr. and Kenneth ("Tad") Bryant Martin. As the son of a GMC Truck and Packard dealer, Ed followed in his father's footsteps and returned to Jackson, Mississippi with his family to begin his career in the automotive dealership industry. In 1966, he realized his dream of opening his own GMC dealership in Lake Charles, Louisiana at the age of 37. He was the world's greatest salesman and could sell ice to Eskimos, so he was bound for success! As the business grew, he added a White Trucks line which later became a thriving Freightliner (Daimler Benz) franchise in addition to the existing GMC and Pontiac lines. Never sitting still, Ed most recently added the Isuzu line this past year. His love of developing relationships earned him such accounts as Davison Transport, BFI Industries, Dupre' Transport, Groendyke Transport and Sysco Foods, just to name a few. As the business thrived, Ed's sons, Chip and Tad, followed in his footsteps and joined him in the business. In later years, his daughter, Kay, and grandson, Russell Edward McNutt, would also join carrying Martin Automotive Group, Inc. to the third generation and its 50th Anniversary. Having his children and grandson work with him in the business that he founded was his greatest source of pride. Ed's career extended beyond Lake Charles through memberships in the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and American Truck Dealers (ATD) who honored him as a Business Week National Dealer of the year finalist placing him as one of the country's top five dealers. Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association (LADA), which he was also a member of, honored him as District Dealer of the Year on multiple occasions. In addition, he was Chairman of the GMC Truck National Dealer Council and served on the General Motors President's Dealer Advisory Council. Outside of the automotive industry, Ed was an original organizer of the National Bank of Commerce where he served as Vice Chairman of the Board. Second only to being a truck dealer, he loved being a banker.An avid pilot, Ed logged an impressive 10,000+ flight hours flying for business and pleasure in his twin-engine Beechcraft Baron. He also built a collection of antique airplanes which he flew in many airshows. His antique planes were a 1942 de Havilland Tigermoth that he rebuilt, a 1952 de Havilland Chipmunk, and a 1943 Stinson Reliant. Over the years he served on the board of the Lake Charles Airshow, and a treasured memory was logging an hour as Pilot in Command of the B-29 Superfortress FIFI. He was also a Colonel in the Confederate Air Force (now the Commemorative Air Force), a member of the United Flying Octogenarians (those who flew as a Pilot in Command over the age of 80), and a Board Member of the Lake Charles Regional Airport Authority. He loved teaching young children about flying and his airplanes' connections to aviation history. Ed was happiest in the air taking his family and friends for rides up in the sky.Ed selflessly served as the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the USS ORLECK Naval Museum and worked tirelessly to lead the effort to bring the ship from Orange, Texas to Lake Charles and establish a non-profit corporation to repair, preserve, restore, and operate the Museum. The ORLECK embodies his passion for military history and his strong desire to educate current and future generations on the importance of those who have served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice. He loved giving tours of the ship himself and was a most entertaining guide. An enthusiastic outdoorsman, Ed loved fishing in the Gulf, duck hunting in Louisiana, dove hunting in Mexico, and deer hunting in Texas. For over 30 years, he loved going to his hunting lease in Rocksprings, Texas whether he would celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, collect arrowheads with his grandchildren, watch the bats fly, or celebrate someone's first buck. You were always considered fortunate to be on a hunting trip with Ed, as he loved his time on these trips and made them special and fun for all who were there. Ed was involved in many philanthropic and social organizations over the years. He was an active member of Rotary International, the Confederate Air Force, a past King of the Krewe of Barataria, and an Emeritus member of the Krewe of Contraband. As a devoted supporter of McNeese State University, Ed and Hazel have provided a scholarship to the McNeese Foundation for many years. Ed has been an active member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles for over 30 years. He has served on the Vestry as a member of the Finance Committee and Junior Warden of the church. Amidst his involvement in numerous community organizations, Ed always looked forward to and enjoyed his weekly lunches with his luncheon group at the Pioneer Club. Most of all, Ed loved his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Marie Martin; brother, Raymond Shirley Martin, Jr.; sister, Betty Jane Martin Nichols. He is survived by his loving wife of over 65 years, Hazel Bryant Martin; his daughter, Kathryn ("Kay") Frances Martin McNutt (Gordon); his son Edward ("Chip") Gene Martin, Jr. (Laurie); and his son Kenneth ("Tad") Bryant Martin (Brigette). "Papa" leaves behind six treasured grandchildren: Russell Edward McNutt and Laura Louise McNutt; Audra Martin Viehland (Joel) and Caitlin Elizabeth Martin (Kevin Donley); and Caroline Elizabeth Martin and Emily Elizabeth Martin; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Last but not least, he leaves behind his faithful companion, Pancho, his beloved tuxedo cat.Ed was lovingly cared for by his family, friends, Doctors Seungtaek Choi and Maria Zarzour and staff at M.D. Anderson, Dr. Michael Bergeron, Dr. Frank Marrero, Dr. Lynn Speight, Heart of Hospice and special caregivers: René Rivers, Sheila Tucker, Anna Mae Guillory and John Charles Lewis. We are eternally grateful for their love, compassion and loyalty. There are many other people, too numerous to name, that the family would like to thank, but we would especially like to express our love and appreciation to the Martin Automotive Group family. Each and every member always held a special place in his heart.Memorial contributions may be made to M.D. Anderson, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd - "Tend My Lambs," the USS ORLECK Naval Museum or a . Honorary pallbearers will be Benny Bryant, Elwyn Cavin, Bill Fuller, Dick Lohrens, Buz Martin, Jack McDuffie, Gordon McNutt, Russell McNutt, John Raggio, Eston Singletary, Barry Tanner, Larry Taylor, and Terry Taylor. Visitation will be in Hardtner Hall at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on Friday, December 2, 2016 from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm. The Celebration of Life service will be on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 11:00 am at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.Words of comfort to the family may be expressed at www.johnsonfuneralhome.net