CLARENVILLE, NL— It seems there were very few in Clarenville whose lives were not touched by George Martin.
Martin passed away at his home in Clarenville on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the age of 86, after years of dedicated community service and volunteer work.
Martin was born at Hickman’s Harbour, Random Island in 1931.
He moved to Clarenville in 1965 to become principal of Horwood Regional High School, a position he held until his retirement in 1988.
Beyond his career, Martin was a dedicated volunteer, involved in many local organizations and charities.
He was a founding member of the Clarenville Co-op Society, chairperson and committee member of the Random Interfaith Senior Apartment Board of Management, a founding member of the men's softball league, and a founding member of the Discovery Health Care Foundation.
He chaired the annual MUN Alumni Bowling Tournament for 23 years and chaired the George Martin Golf Tournament, named in his honour, for 26 years.
In 1983, he received the Bancroft Award and in 1996 was named Volunteer of the Year by the Clarenville Lions Club.
Leona Piercey, chief development officer of the Discovery Health Care Foundation, has fond memories of working alongside Martin.
“I first met him when I started working there in 1995,” she said. “He was always popping in and out of the office to see how things were going, what fundraiser was coming up next.
“He was particularly interested in the golf tournament, which he was involved with since it started in 1990.”
Piercey says the foundation decided to name the golf tournament in his honour.
"He was such a good supporter of the Foundation and the golf tournament that we named the tournament The George Martin Hospital Golf Tournament in his honour, and it was well deserved.”
Martin's family added he was especially thrilled when, in the 26th year of the annual tournament, the fundraiser passed the half million-dollar mark.
Martin wasn't only involved with golf, said Piercey.
"He was also involved with our Radiothon each year,” she said. “He'd spend the whole time there helping out on the day of, reading pledges on air and encouraging people to call in and make a pledge.”
In fact, Martin went a step further, Piercey recalls.
“It was more like naming specific people and telling them to call,” she said.
Piercey said she will miss her friend.
“He was always there to help out any way he could. I thought a lot about George; we became very good friends over the years and he will be forever missed. Thank you, George, for all you've done for others."
Martin was also involved in Shoal Harbour United Church, acting as chairperson on the board of trustees, chair of the Men's Service Club, Sunday School superintendent and choir member for 45 years.
Barbara Dean-Simmons, editor of The Packet, remembers Martin as a man who was dedicated to special causes.
“It seemed like hardly a month went by that George wasn't in our office, providing us with information to promote a fundraiser that he was involved with,” she said.
In addition to that, she said, he was a prolific letter writer — offering his thoughts on current provincial affairs with a starkly honest opinion.
He also offered up his own personal thoughts on life from time to time, with his occasional columns.
“He was a man of many interests, and with a real verve for life,” she said, adding, “The staff at The Packet offer our sincere condolences to his family.”
The Town of Clarenville took a moment to address Martin's years of service at its Nov. 7 council meeting.
"It's important that we acknowledge this week the town of Clarenville lost one of its very important citizens in George Martin," said Deputy Mayor Heber Smith.
"George was an educator. Anybody 30 years old and up would have had George for a teacher or as a principal. He was very active . . . in the community, in regards to church, and sports, and various other organizations."
The Martin family, who say they appreciate the amount of support from the community during this difficult time, say George Martin was a man who loved life.
“Everything he did, everyone he met, everywhere he went, he often referred to it as a Journey of Love,” the family stated.
A service to celebrate George's life was held Thursday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. at Shoal Harbour United Church, with interment following at the United Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Shoal Harbour United Church.