Art Martin lives legacy of service

Published 9:55 am Friday, July 13, 2012

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Art Martin wanted to pick his branch of service after graduating high school in Dan’te, Va. in 1943, so he enlisted. “I chose the Navy – hands down,” he said.

Alabaster resident Art Martin has lived in the city for more than a decade. (Contributed)

At Portsmouth (Norfolk), Va., Martin studied radio morse code. For the next 42 months, he was never stationed at a home base though his ship, the USS Hopping, was a part of the Norfolk fleet. A destroyer escort, the USS Hopping traveled in convoy taking supplies to England with submarine attacks being their greatest worry.

Martin was a young man in love during a most desperate time in history, but he managed for his girlfriend, Pauline, to come stay in New York with the family of a buddy. They were married by a Justice of the Peace on Feb. 6, 1944, and began their 67 years of life together.

Upon a safe return home, a year in the coal mines convinced Martin to use the GI Bill he had earned. He still proudly wears his Virginia Tech ring and watch.

After graduating with a degree in industrial engineering, Martin worked three years with General Electric then was offered the job of chief of engineering for the Veterans Hospital Administration.

He moved his family often, as necessary, to do an excellent job for the next 35 years. Jimmy Carter presented him with a Management Improvement Award for Martin’s perseverance in implementing a system that saved thousands for the Veterans Administration.

The Martins moved from Memphis, Tenn., to Fairhope to Hoover and then to Alabaster in 2000 to be near daughter, Pat Hixson, and her family. Mrs. Martin passed away in April 2011. Four grandchildren and five great grandchildren complete the family.

Art Martin is a dancing man. He loves the big band music, especially Glen Miller’s music. He is tall, handsome and quite a fashion plate.

During the week he often “hangs out” at the Alabaster Senior Ccenter. He sings beautifully, enjoys other folks’ company, attends Evangel Presbyterian and says his daughter cooks chicken and dumplings “almost” as good as her mom did.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by e–mail at