William Joseph Martin
William Joseph Martin, of Lewes, Del. passed away Monday, Feb. 13, 2012.
Born in New York City and later raised in North Arlington, N.J., Martin enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17, during World War II. He proudly served as a bow-gunner, flying privateers and liberators in the South Pacific for crews VP 108 and VPB 121. Highly decorated for heroism, Martin was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honors in the inaugural ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum on Oct. 10, 1996, in Charleston, S.C. He was also credited with shooting down the last enemy aircraft of World War II as a naval aviation gunner.
Martin retired from the Navy on March 18, 1985. After the war, he married and settled in Sparta, N.J., before retiring in Lewes, Del. He was a mechanic by trade, working for the U.S. Postal Service, where he was credited with saving the life of a fellow employee. He owned and operated several repair shops in New Jersey and Arizona. He was a member of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus and the VFW, where he served as commander of Post 7248 in Sparta and later as district commander for Northern New Jersey.
Martin obtained a pilot’s license and plane to fuel his passion for flying. He taught at a vocational school, umpired and coached Little League, gardened, traveled and was a Boy Scout troop leader and avid woodworker. He was known to enjoy the outdoors, fishing, hunting, golf and his Scottish heritage. Martin was remembered for embracing life, freely sharing knowledge and labor with those in need and for always having a dog at his side.
Martin was preceded in death by his parents, William Martin and Mary Barry Martin; a sister, Virginia; and two grandchildren, Leah and James Martin. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Elizabeth “Betty” Hannah; sons Barry Martin of Flagstaff, Ariz., and Bruce Martin of Lewes; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Katherine Dwyer of Lewes and Betty Willard of Kingman, Ariz.
A Mass of Christian Burial was scheduled for Saturday, March 24, 2012, at 11 a.m. at St. Edmond Catholic Church, 409 King Charles Avenue in Rehoboth Beach, Del. A catered reception in the church hall was to follow. Per Martin’s wishes, he will be buried at sea. Arrangements are by Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium in Lewes, Del. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that memorial donations be made to Delaware Hospice, 100 Patriots Way, Milford, DE 19963.