John Lewis Martin, age 93, died at home on April 28th, 2021 in the loving care of his wife Theresa and the presence of supportive family members.
John was born in his parents’ home in Franklin MA on the 4th of April, 1928. Known to many friends as “Johnny,” he is survived by his wife of 68 years, Theresa (Couture) Martin. John is the son of Joseph H. Martin II and Eliza Jean (Strachan) Martin original Upton residents. He is survived by a sister, Nancy Basciano, of Niles Ohio, and a brother, Colonel James A. Martin U.S. Army (Ret), of North East, MD. Many nieces and nephews, including grand and great grand nieces and nephews survive him and mourn his death. John is preceded in death by brother, Joseph H. Martin III.
John and Theresa were married in Holy Angles Church in Upton on October 18th, 1952 and lived their entire married life in Upton. Throughout their marriage, they were blessed by the constant presence of children in their home – many who came to stay for days, weeks, and even months at a time. John’s younger brother “Jimmy” as well as numerous nieces and nephews, and many of their “god-children” thought of John and Theresa as loving parent figures and considered John and Theresa’s home as their own.
John was a 1946 graduate of Grafton High School. Two years later, 1948, John enlisted in the Army. Slight in stature and build, there are family stories about how John met the weight requirement for induction. John served in the Army’s Frist Cavalry Division in Japan and Korea. On 5 December 1950 John was seriously wounded in combat when his unit was overrun by North Korean and Chinese forces. While his significant combat injuries and lengthy hospitalizations would define a life trajectory of medical needs and care for this Purple Heart recipient; John never let these injuries and medical needs define him or his life. With the support and competent care of his wife, Theresa, John managed his disabilities and was able to engage in a broad range of life activities. John loved to hunt and for a significant period he raised and trained fox hounds for hunting rabbits and other small game. He was interested in numerous sports, and even into early adulthood he played and managed local town adult softball. Those who played with Johnny enjoyed his companionship and appreciated his competitive spirit and grit.
In his early adulthood John worked locally manning a forest fire tower for the state of MA. John’s most significant and fulfilling work was his volunteer service, in particular to his home community Upton. John’s contributions to the Upton Fire Department are well recognized. Of particular importance to the town was John’s 30 years of service managing the Town’s Ambulance Fund. As Treasurer of the Ambulance Fund John helped raise the funds required to purchase and equip 3 ambulances. Most of these funds came from small donations, typically in memory of a deceased town resident. With his Underwood Manual Typewriter; this Army Trained Unit Personnel Clerk, would faithfully compose, type, and mailout a personal thank- you note to each donor. John also served as the Secretary and Treasurer of the MA Forest Fire Council from 1979 to 1986 and he was a Life Member of the Blackstone Valley Forest Service.
In his youth John developed an interest in stamp collecting. In adulthood he pursued a number of related hobbies. Later, with Theresa, John developed an interest in antiques and he became a self-taught repairer and restorer of antique furniture – chairs were a specialty.
John was always interested in sharing his hobbies with others, especially youth. Over the last 30 years, John encouraged and supported numerous individuals in the development of their interests, and in particular he gifted “starter” baseball card collections for many teenagers.
For those who knew John Lewis Martin (Johnny) there was no better friend or reliable neighbor. His help was always available to family members, friends, neighbors, and even a passing stranger. He never asked to be repaid for the kindness that he extended to others.
While we grieve his death, Johnny will remain ever present in our lives through the wonderful memories which he helped to create – memories we take with us as we move forward in life. In his high school senior yearbook John posted this comment – “Happy am I, From care I am free, Why can’t they all, Be contented like me.”
Calling hours will be held from 9 to 11 AM on Wednesday, May 5, in the Pickering & Son Upton Funeral Home, Inc., 45 Main St. Upton.
A graveside service will follow in Lakeview Cemetery in Upton at 11:15 AM.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be sent to the Upton Fire & EMS Association Ambulance Fund, P.O. Box 1012, Upton, MA 01568 or to the George Lincoln Wood VFW Post 5594, P.O. Box 472, Upton, MA 01568 or via www.uptonvfw.org