Capt. James W. Martin, USN, Ret. 93, of Portsmouth, passed away Sunday, March 10, 2019 in the St. Clare Home, Newport. He was the husband of Lois (Renahan) Martin.
Born in Lowell, MA, he was the son of the late James and Gertrude (Holden) Martin. Captain Martin attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1948.
Captain Martin enlisted in the Navy in March 1943, was called to active duty in July 1943 and ordered to the College of the Holy Cross under the V-12 program. He received his commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve in March 1945 and was subsequently ordered to serve on the cruiser USS San Francisco (CA 38) in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. His long and distinguished career has included tours as Commanding Officer of four Newport-based ships: the radar picket escorts Sellstrom and Thomas J. Gary, the destroyer Gearing and as the first Commanding Officer of the replenishment oiler Milwaukee. Shore duty tours included attendance at and on the staff of the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, the original staff of the U.S. Naval Destroyer School, Newport, and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, Alexandria, VA. Prior to assuming command of Destroyer Squadron TEN, Captain Martin served as Chief of Staff Anti-Submarine Warfare Groups TWO and FOUR based in Quonset Point, RI.
Captain Martin is the holder of the following decorations and medals: Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of a second award; Naval Reserve; American Campaign; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign; World War II Victory; Navy Occupation; China Service; National Defense; and Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
Following his retirement from the Navy, Captain Martin taught Naval ROTC at Quabbin Regional High School in Barre, MA and ship-handling skills at Marine Safety International in Middletown.
Captain Martin was an avid sports fan, and shared his enthusiasm with others by coaching and umpiring Babe Ruth baseball and coaching girls’ softball and basketball. Through the years, Captain Martin also participated in innumerous golf outings and tournaments.
A devout Catholic, Captain Martin enjoyed the comradery he found while volunteering for many years at the St. Joseph’s Church soup kitchen. He was known for his tremendous sense of humor with his joke and story telling.
Besides his wife of 66 years he leaves his children, Susan Blake (Paul) of Cumberland, James Martin (Marcie) of Portsmouth, Patricia Lakin Allan (Ron) of Portsmouth, Beth Loftis (Richard) of Coventry, CT, Michael Martin (Carolyn) of Middletown, and Kevin Martin (Ann Marie) of Newport. He is also survived by his sister Florence Gallagher of Lowell, MA as well as 16 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM in the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 10:00 AM at St. Barnabas Church 1697 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871.
Due to the Lenten season, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Joseph’s Church Soup Kitchen c/o The St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Joseph’s Church, Newport, RI.