MOUNT VERNON — As God’s obedient servant, Dr. Donald Thomas Martin invested his time and energy as an educator. Led by the Holy Spirit, Don was a pastor and professor for over 50 years having a guiding influence in the lives of countless students, fellow Christians and his beloved family as well. Christ’s work in Don’s life is now complete and his faith is now sight after passing away Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, in Cambridge following brief illness. He was 88.
Donald was born Feb. 22, 1923, in Pittsburgh, the son of James and Dorothy (Reed) Martin and graduated from Langley High School in 1941.
Donald double majored in English and Music from Taylor University, graduating in 1945. Continuing his education in 1948 he received a Bachelor of Divinity from Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. In the late 1950s, Donald graduated from Ball State University with a master’s degree in General Speech. In 1978, he completed his education after earning a Ph.D. in Humanities Education from The Ohio State University.
In 1948, Don’s life journey began as both pastor and husband. On April 18, 1948, he married Clara Evelyn Bletz in Hilltop Community Church. In that same year Don began pastoring at First Friends Church until 1951. For 10 years he pastored Beulah United Methodist Church in Bangs. In 1984, Don founded the Evangelical Church of the Nazarene in Mount Vernon and retired in 1988 after preaching for 40 years.
An accomplished pianist, even until this past October, Don and Clara enjoyed playing duets. Don on the piano or accordion and Clara playing the harp. Using music as a bridge to reach inmates, Donald and Clara shared the gospel and led worship in the Knox County Jail, and the Marysville and Orient Penitentiaries.
The role of educator encompassed Don; he loved to teach. Don previously taught at Huntington College, Marion College and Taylor University. In 1992, Don retired after 22 years as a Speech and English professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene College. He enjoyed reading and acquired an extensive library.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Clara Martin of Cambridge; son, Samuel (Karen) Martin of Finneytown; daughters, Jeanine (David) Davenport of Mount Vernon, Judith (Lachland) Galbraith of Phoenix, Ariz., Julie (John) Tressaloni of Lexington, Ky., Jann (Walter) Bruning of Cambridge, Joanna (Glen) Allen of Mount Vernon, Jill (Bruce) Hawkins of Mount Vernon, Heidi (Steve) Rader of Mount Vernon and Kimberly Fleming of Mount Vernon; 32 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; brothers, James (Millie) Martin of Scottdale, Pa.; sister, Joy (Alfred) Eggers of Punta Gorda, Fla.; sister-in-law, Doris Martin of Leesburg, Fla.
Along with his parents he was preceded in death by his stepmother, Gwen Martin; grandson, Chad Allen; brother, Richard Martin.
The family will receive friends Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home, where funeral services will begin at 3 p.m. Dr. Tim Davis will speak and burial will follow in St. Peters Cemetery.
Memorial contributions to the Muscular Dystrophy Association may be made through the funeral home.
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