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1927 Thomas 2014

Thomas Martin

July 27, 1927 — June 17, 2014

Mr. Thomas E. Martin, age 86 passed from the realm of his earthly home into the arms of God on Tuesday June 17, 2014. He was born July 27, 1927 to J.D, and Evie Jones Martin. Mr. Martin was a member of First United Methodist Church of DeFuniak Springs for forty one years and was a Free and Accepted Mason of over fifty six years with DeFuniak Lodge # 170. Tom served his country in the U. S. Army during World War II and later retired as the Plumbing Shop Supervisor at Eglin AFB, Florida after thirty years of service. He was the former owner/operator of Martin’s Tire Company, now Firestone of DeFuniak Springs. Tom, many times, would travel into town and search for people wanting to work on the weekends around his small farm on Kidd Road. He could always find something for them to do to earn a small paycheck and help them get by. Those who knew “Mr. Tom” remember him for his kind heart, gentle nature and funny personality. After a brief time playing in the professional baseball farm system as a valuable left -handed, switch-hitting first baseman, Tom helped form the first semi-professional baseball team, the DeFuniak Indians, where he was a player and head coach. Later he coached the talented Hodge’s Men’s Softball team for several years. Having three girls and a wife interested in the game, he formed DeFuniak Springs’ first girls’ and women’s softball leagues. In 2011, his daughter, Cindy, entered an essay in Major League Baseball’s Most Valuable Dad contest, describing his days in baseball and his wonderful paternal skills. Tom Martin was voted as MLB’s Most Valuable Dad for the Atlanta Braves organization. The entire family enjoyed a fabulous Father’s Day at the Braves/Rangers game in the Tom Martin skybox overlooking Turner Field. Tom was designated honorary Team Captain, along with Chipper Jones. The Braves had hit a losing streak until that day when they overwhelmingly defeated the Rangers with Tom as their Team Captain. Mr. Martin supported many different sports in the area throughout his lifetime. He was an avid University of Alabama football fan and in his sunset years, enjoyed watching re-runs of old Alabama games. Tom was well known for his hunting and fishing skills. He raised and trained English Setters, Pointers, Retrievers and championship Beagles. He won the National Bench Champion with one of his prized Beagles. He loved all of God’s creatures, great and small ! He had a soft spot in his heart for any lost or disadvantaged critter, including a blind dachshund, a one legged chicken and a one horned cow. Tom led many hunting trips for visiting dignitaries in the area including officers from Eglin AFB, judges, Congressmen, Senators and Florida’s Governor, Lawton Childs. He leaves behind his loyal furry companions, Taz and Bella. Tom is predeceased by his mother and father, four brothers, Otis, Paul, Curtis and Joe Martin, his in-laws, W.E. and Maxie Owen and a favorite brother-in-law, William Ernest Owen, Jr. (Ernie). Rest assured, Tom and Ernie will be going at their Alabama/Auburn rivalry together in Heaven. ROLL TIDE !

He is survived by his wife of over 65 years, Sabra Owen Martin, daughter, Susan (Myron) Hudson of Westville, Cindy (David) Jeselnik of DeFuniak Springs and Toma (Keith) Collinsworth of Tallahassee. His brother, Frank Martin of Ft. Payne. He was the proud grandfather to Lindsey (Eric) Smith of Slocomb, Alabama, Kyle (Candice) Hudson, Tiffany (Jonathan) McKinney all of Westville, Matt Jeselnik of New York City, NY, Briana (Joey) Suggs of Chipley, Brent Collinsworth of Flagstaff, AZ and Troy Linder of Gainesville. His pride and joy were his eight great grandchildren, Gunnar and Erilyn Smith, Ashton and Loren Hudson, River Brown, Caden McKinney, Hadley Suggs and Zoey Suggs (who will arrive in October). He also leaves behind brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Bette and Del Williams, Pat and Mike McFall and Harriett Owen. Cousins Elizabeth Johnson and Betty Ann Kendrick and numerous nieces and nephews will miss this very special man. Mr. Martin never met a stranger ! He was a loyal friend to many, including his high school friends of over 65 years, Jessie Cleckley and Hoover Armstrong.

Honorary pallbearers are Charles “Bull” Rigdon, Mike Clark, Jack Owen, Stan Bosenberg, Charlie Morse, Bud McBroom, Lamar Hayes, Joe Baker, Joe Cromartie, Hansel Geoghagan, Larry Geoghagan, Johnny Roehm, Dale Anderson, Don Harrison, Graham Campbell-Work and Hamp Campbell-Work. Active pallbearers are his grandsons.

Flowers and houseplants are being accepted or memorials may be made in Tom Martin’s memory to First United Methodist Church, Post Office Box 9, DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32435. A time of visitation will be Sunday afternoon, June 22, 2014 from 5 until 7 P.M. in First United Methodist Church, 88 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs. Funeral services will be Monday, June 23, 2014 at 10:00 A.M. in First United Methodist Church with Reverend Bobby Ellisor assisted by Dr. Larry Teasley officiating ending with Masonic Rites in the church. Military graveside honors will follow in the Martin Family Plot in Magnolia Cemetery.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Martin, please visit our flower store.


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