James Martin

Obituary of James Walter Martin

James Walter Martin May 12, 1931 - January 13, 2017 James Walter Martin of La Porte Texas passed away peacefully on January 13th, 2017 at his home in his own bed. He was born on May 12, 1931 in Jourdanton, Texas to W.O. and Ethel Martin. He was the only boy in a house with 3 sisters; Marge, Ann and Carol Lee. He was born in the same house he lived in until he left for The University of Texas in Austin after graduating High School. While in Jourdanton, Jim starred in football and basketball and became the class valedictorian. In high school he met Womac Soward, who became Jim’s lifelong best friend. The two forged a friendship that would follow them from High School to the University of Texas to the Air Force and throughout their lives. Dad and Womack served as Best Man at each other’s weddings. They loved talking Texas football and discussing current events until Womac’s death in November 2015. It was also while in High School that Dad met the love of his life. Roberta Hayden was the Drum Major and resident beauty at Pleasanton High School, just down the road from Jourdanton. Jim was two years older than Roberta so after he graduated they carried on a long distance relationship while he was in Austin. The Korean War was going on at this time and both Dad and Mr. Soward left UT and joined the Air Force. During Dad’s 4 years in the Air Force, Roberta graduated High School and they decided to get married. The wedding took place at the chapel at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio on May 23, 1952. A little over a year after the wedding, Jay, their oldest was born at Lackland AFB. Once Jim’s service was completed he went back to The University of Texas, had his first daughter Patricia, and earned his degree in 1957. In 1957, Jim began a career at Houston Lighting & Power Co, which landed him in Houston Texas. From there Jim accepted assignments that took him to Lake Jackson, where his second daughter Monette was born, and eventually to La Porte Texas where he made his home and had his second son, John. It was in La Porte that Jim managed a sales office for HL&P on Main St where they sold electricity to the commercial accounts within the region. Jim quickly became involved in serving the community through various organizations including the Chamber, Rotary, Blazers, Kiwanis and other organizations, while finding time to have coffee and make long lasting friendships with most of the business owners in town. He was a faithful member of the La Porte United Methodist Church and served in most every capacity over the years. Jim retired from HL&P in 1994 after 37 rewarding years, followed by many years of retirement devoted to the family and grandchildren he loved so dearly. The grandkids especially truly were the joy of his life and he spent as much time as he could with each one. Besides his lifelong love for his Texas Longhorns and his family, Jim had many interests and hobbies including a love for golf that he passed along to his sons and grandsons, hunting, fishing, going to baseball games, and going to Port Aransas annually for vacation where he along with his brother in law Bill Pack, were master beach tarp setter uppers. He also loved serving in his local church and in the Houston and Bay Areal Emmaus communities where he served as Lay Leader for Men’s walk 120 in November of 1995. Jim will be remembered for his amazing sense of humor that made others always feel comfortable, and for his hearty laugh that filled the room. A home cooked meal every night with the family was the setting for many a story or tale about the day’s events. Jim rarely had a bad word to say about anyone. He taught his children about honesty, hard work, and to do the best they could in every endeavor. But above all he will be remembered for his unconditional love of his dear wife Roberta, who is as much a part of him as his own heart and will one day be reunited with him in eternity. Jim loved God, his family, his friends and acquaintances and the great country that nourished them all. He lived life well and with compassion that exceeded all expectations and leaves a legacy that will never be forgotten. Jim is preceded in death by his parents W.O. and Ethyl Martin, his sister Margery Pack; and his brother in laws, Paul Zara, William Pack, and John Thompson. He is survived by his wife of 64 years Roberta Evelyn Hayden Martin, his sisters Ann Thompson of Charlotte TX, Carol Lee Martin Zara of South Texas; his children James Walter Martin Jr and wife Gail, Patricia Martin and spouse Nancy Adelsheim, Monette Birch and husband Jim, and John Charles Martin and wife Michelle; his grandchildren Jeffrey Martin and wife Cindy, Patrick Martin, Joshua Martin, Bonnie Birch, Joseph Birch, Travis Martin, and Sarah Martin; and 2 great grandsons, Benjamin Martin and Jonah Martin; and many cousins, nephews, nieces, other relatives and many dear friends. The family wishes to express thanks to all those who were caregivers to Jim Martin. For those who may wish to make a donation in his memory, in lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to: First United Methodist Church La Porte 9601 West Fairmont Parkway, La Porte, Tx 77572 The viewing will be held on January 17th, from 5-7pm at the Paul U. Lee funeral home in La Porte, the funeral at 10:30 am on January 18th at the FUMC of La Porte, and interment at Houston National Cemetery, Houston Texas. www.paululee.com
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