February 12, 1933 – July 26, 2020
Eddie was born in Montague County, Texas, February 12, 1933, to Ruby Elizabeth (Timms) and Harry Edward Martin. He left this life on July 26, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law E. Dale and Julia Lane Martin of Arlington, Texas, grandson Robert Martin of Arlington, brother and sister-in-law Monte and Nancy Martin, Sister-in-law, Ysleta Bradshaw, nieces and nephews: Amy, Matthew, Scott, Jill, Lisa, and numerous relatives and surrogate grandkids. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 58 years, Betty, and by his parents.
The viewing will be at Rose Hill from 6-8p Friday, August 7th, with services at 10am August 8th (available on Facebook) with interment to follow.
=============================================================== He spent his earliest days with his grandparents in Montague County on a hardscrabble sharecropper’s farm. He remembers being able to look out through the clapboard walls and see the fields. If it weren’t for wallpaper, they’d a’ froze to death. When the storms came, they could be terrible. One storm took the house away. What the poor folks on that old dirt road had in common, was that they were dirt poor. Black, white, didn’t matter. You shared what you had. Eddie’s stories reflect what he learned from an early age.
One night sitting out on the porch with his Grandpa, they noticed the lights down the way hadn’t come on, yet. In those days it was still coal oil lamps at night. Grandpa called out to Grandma that the Black family must be out of coal oil. What was done, was done quietly to respect folks who had pride if nothing else. Eddie accompanied his Grandpa as he took a small oil can and quietly left it on the porch. A few minutes later, the lights were on. The next day there was a full can and a pound of sugar on their porch. In response, Grandma made a batch of sugar cookies and took half down the street. That’s how it was done. He watched and learned and remembered.
He was three when his Grandpa died. His tenacity and willingness to take on the world without regards to the odds was already well established. He didn’t know why it was being done and he took physical exception to people throwing dirt on his Grandfather.
Eddie always knew how to utilize equipment. During grade school, he’d hop a ride home on the garbage truck. His Mother would get so mad, that she swore if he fell off and broke his arm, she was not going to take him to the hospital. So, inevitably, when he fell off and broke his arm, he and a buddy concocted a tale of falling off the buddy’s horse, because he knew she would not take him to the hospital.
He could do the most amazing things with next to nothing. In his late teens he would work on folk’s cars in Eddie’s Garage, generally his driveway. Fellow came in with a ’41 Buick with a messed up differential pinion gear. All parts from that vintage had been melted down for the war effort and there were no parts. He took a cutting torchm coat hanger wire and a fender grinder and repaired it. It sounded weird, but it worked. Then that turned into page 2. The guy couldn’t pay him, so gave him a boxed .25 auto pistol. He left it on the kitchen counter at home. His mother found it and thanked him profusely for the gift, it was what she’d always wanted. He didn’t have the heart to say that was his “paycheck”. 2 weeks later she asked him to get some bullets for it. He knew that it had come with a full clip, so when he asked, she told him that she wanted to know how it worked and had waited for a storm and shot out through the back door during the peals of thunder. He went to the door and sure enough, 6 small holes through the backdoor screen.
His mother signed him up for the National Guard. He was a bit cocky at the time. Got sideways with the Drill Sergeant who hollered out, “Martin, drop and give me 50.” He replied: “Which arm Top Sergeant?” Sure enough 50 one-arm pushups. I believe that started his KP tour. Then there was the tear gas grenade under the showers and the only good conduct medal one of the summer.
His penchant for asking for forgiveness rather that permission was always a given. One morning of his senior year, he thought it’d be a good idea to drum up a little interest in the Guard. Being in ROTC, and having friends always complaining about being broke, it came together. One morning, he drove out to the Armory near Newark, signed out a T43 Walker Light Tank and drove it to school (rubber treads so it didn’t hurt the road). He was doing donuts in the dirt parking lot before school when the Principal came out swearing to expel him. The Shop Teacher came out and calmed the Principal down. After asking for Eddie’s rationale, he said bend over, 3 licks, and a firm command to take that tank back and don’t do that again without permission. So, he graduated from Technical High in 1952, having the distinction of being the only known instance of a student raising awareness of the ROTC program by Tank. He continued his military endeavors with 7 years in the 49th “Lone Star” Armored Division (NG Texas), attaining the rank of Sgt First Class.
The Motto of the 49th is: After Nothing Us There Is How they read it is: After Nothing Us There Is
He developed his helping nature somewhere along the way. As a new Corporal, he was feeling pretty low at Camp Polk one year, wouldn’t stop raining. Dropped your boots into the mud and watch the leeches start moving to you. He received a package at mail call; it was the whitest warmest driest pair of railroad socks EVER that his mom had sent. He was in tall cotton that day. He looked to the other end of the barracks and there was another corporal as down as he was. So. He offered him one of the pair. You’d have thought that fellow soldier had died and done gone to heaven. That small an act, that big an effect.
One night at camp, a B-36 landed in the wee hours after flying 24 hours. Crew was starving. As Eddie never slept much, his duty was to play reveille and get everyone up. The Captain found him and asked if there was anything to eat. Corporal Martin told him no, but after thinking for a minute, he allowed that if the Captain would order him to break into the Officer mess, he could fire up the outside fryer units and cook up some chicken. He got the go-ahead. The Captain was so hungry that Eddie just handed off the tongs and told him to eat it when it was ready. As the sun was coming up, the Capt was eating the half-cooked chicken under the trees, blood running down his forearms and happy as could be. At morning muster, the CO asked who’d broken into the Officer’s mess. The Corporal made no excuse, claiming responsibility. The CO stated, “Very good Sergeant, back in line.” That was how he earned his third stripe. [Of course, he’d been chosen to be the Colonel’s jeep driver a few days before. Lost that cushy job, no sergeant’s duty that.]
He rode for Pete Dallio for awhile. Pete owned the Indian Motorcycle dealership on Lancaster. Eddie raced dirt track with a lead shoe on the inside. At least until the night the throttle hung wide open. Off the track, through the hay bales, landing with little damage with several hundred pounds of bike atop him. Pete came running over thinking he was badly injured. Looked down at this scrawny rider and squinted at him and asked: Son, how old are you? Pop’s response? “14, sir.” Pete’s response: Get off my bike, you’re too damn young.
Granny passing out
Downs Race Track throttle
Ft. Worth Police
He and Betty met at the old Polly Parrot drive-in, introduced by a close friend, Richard Drake. The rest was history. They were married Dec. 9, 1955, in the house he bought for her on Chickasaw Street in Fort Worth by the Rev. Vanderpool. They were seldom apart and thought as one. An Angel on loan to the Soldier she loved. One heart, one mind, one soul, beloved.
It was said he was raised Methodist, but all the cousins were Baptist. The “I will” and the “I do” competed. So when the Preacher asked him “Will You” his answer came out “I Do”.
His love of Ham Radio, using the call sign WA5IOG (“Ignorant Old Goat”), was known throughout the state. His service with M.A.R.S. allowed him to provide personal communications from our soldiers in Vietnam to their parents in Fort Worth at a time when such things were rare.
He was a Class A Machinist. Anything made of metal was easy doings. His heli-arc welds were a thing of beauty. Even when the jobs went overseas to Japan, he was doing quality work. He worked at Convair on the B58 Hustler. One of the things that irked him to his dying day was being laid off just before his son was born and having the birth certificate state father’s employment: Unemployed.
When Buddy Rosen offered him a job at Loma, a bond of loyalty was forged. Until he just couldn’t afford to work there, the fact that Mr. Rosen had given him a job at a time he needed one, was well repaid. And then came Miller Brewing Company. He was the 1980 National Employee of the Year. That got Eddie and Betty sent to Milwaukee to be wined and dined and recognized for his level of work. A cruise followed where several Miller employees managed to, for good or ill, depending of who tells the story, drank the ship dry and they had stop mid-cruise to replenish ships’ stores.
His reputation was such that when a fiber6 mis-fired and stuck a spike through his hand up on a 10-foot catwalk that he had to take apart one-handed to get free, the presence of a representative from the German manufacturer was “requested” and was flown in to be present at 10 o’clock the next morning. [Faulty solenoids.]
He always jumped into hobbies with both feet. Scuba was a passion in the 60’s. He’d dice Benbrrok Lake and come up with everything from rings to outboard motors. Many a Saturday was spent eating hotdogs lightly treated with windblown sand. Then to make ends meet he began buying broken down motorcycles. From Cushman Silver Eagles to Zundapp 750’s, we saw them all. At one time there were 33 boxes in the backyard. Fix ‘em up, paint ‘em, sell ‘em and use the money for trips and little extras.
The Hootenannys on Saturday nights were legendary. Frank Johnson and so many others I cannot even remember them all. You were golden unless you kicked a beer over on my mother’s carpet. Whew!
Holidays with Uncle Vernie bringing his Guitar and the two of them playing.
Music was always a part. Still have a steel reel-to-reel from 1947 with a tenor voiced Eddie singing at the Panther City Ballroom Open mic night.
The music has died out with his wife’s passing, but it’s dividends still pay forward. Trinity Mission and Pastor Williams meeting at the Hospice House. Friendship bestowed
At the Hospice House a well-meaning saddle padre tried bestowing platitudes and long-windedness on my father. He was not coping well and promised if that individual came back he would… let’s say be disagreeable. Later that day I saw him jump up in a way reminiscent of a banty rooster heading to a fight. I had trouble getting out of the room figuring I’d be picking up somebody’s teeth. Turns out he was processing and moving toward a face he knew from somewhere. Turns out that years before his informal country singing group had played at the Trinity Mission. The preacher there and he hit it off. Walking down the hall was a man in the same level of confusion. When they reconnected, it cemented a bond that would give my father support for the rest of his life. On a weekly basis, whether through accepting meals or pies or just sitting and visiting, Pastor Williams was the earthly angel that my father needed. We cannot express just how lucky(?) we were.
His “Junk Room” was where all the Ham Radio action was. He could reach the World. QRL cards would arrive from operators the world over, like business cards, but just for the fun of it. During Vietnam the Military Affiliate Radio Systems would run phone patches as the atmosphere allowed. He would listen at night for the Red Cross station in Saigon and if he could hear it, he’s make contact. If there was a Fort Worth soldier there, Eddie would dial up the provided number and a parent could have 5 minutes to talk to their son. Today, we think nothing of communicating around the world. In 1970, that was still a dream away.
When his son married Julia Berggren from Illinois, Eddie [Eddie’s Dad being from Beason, IL] and Betty opened up the rehearsal dinner to everyone of Julia’s family in town for the wedding. Then sent the newlyweds to Hawaii for their Honeymoon,
His grandson was the light of his life. He quit smoking cold-turkey on the day Robert was born. Their Saturday mornings became legendary to neighborhood kids who were welcomed to take part in that breakfast extravaganza. The proudest he may have ever been was to receive a Mentor’s pin at Robert’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor.
He spent innumerable hours building chuck boxes for Boy Scout Troop 380, making tools and parts for Robert’s Delorean, coming up with all sorts of small gadgets and projects. The list was long.
He spent many years as the radio expert for Burleson’s Citizen’s Emergency Response Team, assisting in emergency services. In later years, Burleson residents were recipients of the many pies and cakes he became known for. His neighbors and their grandkids will be having to bake their own pies now, but their acceptance of his offerings made all the difference in his world. As he said, “that little VA doc told me I needed to find something to do. Try baking she said.” He did.
Eddie never stopped teaching. Neighbor Perry learned a little about mills and lathes from a master machinist and he and Sherry returned that relationship in full measure as true friends.
Surrogate grandson Christopher, who found out that even disoriented old men don’t go down easy, was a Godsend, and his mother and her family have been outstanding neighbors/friends through it all.
My parents’ personal physician, Dr. Thomas, was more than a friend, they were family. Supporting each other through good times and hard times. Some people are so special they deserve more than just an acknowledgement, but it’s the best I can do at present.
Eddie and Betty’s handprints and footprints are seen in so many wonderful ways in the lives of those who knew them, and they were humbled by the friendships extended by so very many people. Eddie has rejoined his bride, whom he missed so dearly. I’m pretty certain she was waiting at the Pearly Gates, waiting to ask St. Peter to open the gates so she could run out in her poodle skirt to bring her sergeant home. An Angel on loan to the Soldier she loved. One heart, one mind, one soul beloved.
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel and Cemetery
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel and Cemetery
11:00 am - 11:30 am
Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel and Cemetery
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel and Cemetery
August 2, 2020
I was privileged to read the lengthy obituary that related the story of the life of Eddie Martin. Although I was too young to know Eddie personally, he was one of my brother Neil's' best friends. We grew up in Polytechnic (Poly) on Fort Worth's south-east side and he was a frequent visitor at our house on Thannisch Street. Eddie and Neil were about the same age and went all through school together, starting at D McRay Elementary. The story is well written and extremely interesting - even to those who never knew Eddie. It gives a glimpse of life during a simpler time before cell phones, super markets and television. It tells about the humor, adventure and kindheartedness of a boy who's roots connected with my family. Thank you for sharing Eddie's story. A copy will soon be on its way to Neil in California.
July 28, 2020
The Captain or Capt. Eddie as some of us called him was the best of the best. In the 48 years that I had the pleasure of knowing him there wasn't anything he couldn't do or a friend or a stranger that he wouldn't leaned a hand to in their time of need. His door was always open and the conversation lively and when you left you left a better person.
I will miss you Captain, give my best to BJ.