Burdette "Berdie" Henri Martin, Jr.
July 24, 1929 – December 5, 2020
Burdette Henri Martin Jr, “Berdie," of Northfield IL, passed away December 5th, 2020. Beloved husband of the late Anne Raymond Martin; devoted father of Burdette Henri Martin III “Beau”, Susanne Louise Berner (Greg), and Elizabeth Joy Martin; cherished grandfather of Burdette Henri Martin IV “Buck”, Alexandra Martin Godzicki (Jason), Sara Anne Caveney (Michael) and Jessica Gatto; proud great-grandfather of Lilly Anne Caveney; dear brother of the late Betty Jane Stowe (late Gordon); loving uncle to Heather Stowe Schmidt (Bob) and the late Holly Stowe. Burdette Jr was born in 1929 at Belmont Hospital on the North side of Chicago near the small bungalow home his parents and two year old sister lived in at that time. When he was a young boy, the nation was rebounding from the Great Depression, his father began to excel in commercial property management, and he moved the family to the northern suburbs of Chicago. As a young man in the 1940’s, Burdette competed in youth sports, became interested in building hot rods, and graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka. He was always keen for adventure, so he headed off to the University of New Mexico. He enjoyed driving his modified Cadillac convertible on Route 66 back and forth until he graduated with his bachelor's degree in 1951. While in college, he had a roommate whose older brother was one of the founding members of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). While attending early race events with him, Burdette began his lifelong passion for sports car racing. Immediately after college, duty called in the name of the Korean War and he was off to serve for the United States Marine Corps. While enlisted he rose to the rank of Captain in the Radar Intercept and Helicopter Groups. Upon completion of his tour of duty, Burdette embarked on an adventurous one year trip around the world. When he returned to the Chicago area, he purchased a used MG TC to race and began to immerse himself in all aspects of the SCCA racing scene. In the late 1950’s he opened Vogue Motor Imports, distributing new Elva and Cooper race cars and parts. It was during this time his circle of customers and racing friends nicknamed him Berdie. Racing had thoroughly become his passion and it was at a Road America race that he would meet his future wife of 50 years, Anne Raymond. With his new wife and young family, Berdie’s focus shifted from driving to officiating, eventually becoming the chief steward of several top SCCA professional racing series including the Can-Am and Trans-Am. The late 1970s would see him become the executive Director of Pro Racing and earn the SCCA organization's highest honor, The Woolf Barnato Award. The next step up the ladder was his 1983 appointment as the President of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS) to oversee all United States Motorsport group activities. While serving as president of ACCUS, his skills were apparent and noticed at the international level. Berdie was elected to serve as the Vice President of the Federation International Autosport (FIA) and Chief Steward for many Formula One races throughout the world. He was a practiced world traveler and held numerous international advisory positions throughout the years, including membership in the FIA World Motor Sport Counsel and the Chairmanship of the World Records Commission. In 2005, after serving many years for SCCA, ACCUS, and the FIA, Berdie officially retired but continued to manage the Historic Vehicle Registry for ACCUS. He never stopped attending race events and remained a definitive source for racing knowledge, history and details. He was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2010. Following the passing of the love of his life Anne in 2010, Berdie enjoyed home projects and cherished time with his family. Due to the current health situation a celebration of life is being planned for the summer of 2021.
Burdette "Berdie" Henri Martin, Jr.
January 6, 2021
I’m so sorry to hear about Birdie’s passing. He was always great to visit with at the race track. I always enjoyed his stories and friendship.