OREGON – David Hill Martin, 88, of Oregon, passed away Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, at Pinecrest Community in Mount Morris.
He was born June 8, 1925, in Dixon, to Lawrence Willard and Ruth Elizabeth (Stultz) Martin. While in his early teens, he worked with his father drilling water wells on farms all over Ogle County. He knew every farmer and all the gravel roads in the area.
While in high school during World War II, Dave drove cattle trucks to Chicago for his brother, Jonas, who was overseas in the service. He always laughed that he played in every Oregon High School football game his senior year but never made it to a single practice.
He married Nellie Maxine Mongan at the Oregon Methodist Church on June 14, 1948, after a courtship that started at Decker’s Drug Store soda counter, where she worked, and continued with many miles skated at the White Pines Roller Rink.
The greatest disappointments in his life were the untimely loss of his wife, Nellie, to cancer in 1986; his medical rejection when he tried to follow his older brothers, Howard and Jonas, into the military service during World War II; and that he never had a chance to continue his formal education beyond high school. He was predeceased by his brothers, Howard, Jonas, and Lawrence Jr.
He is survived by his daughters, Vicki Nel (Andy) Pratt, of Sugar Land, Texas, and Jody Kay (Mike) Ryder, of Oregon; son, David Lawrence Martin, of Dixon; and sister, Rose Thomas, of Oregon.
During his adult working life, he became a master bricklayer and stonemason, repairing chimneys on many of those same farmhouses where he drilled water wells in his youth. He performed house remodeling and repairs around the Oregon area as well as building houses and commercial property for himself. For years he drove a pickup truck with “David Martin, A little bit of this. A little bit that.” painted on the side.
The greatest joys of his life were his granddaughters, Becky Jo (Jason) Tremble, of Oregon and Julie Michelle (Sergio) Reyes, of Grapevine, Texas; his great-grandchildren, Joshua Martin and Jillian Rachael Tremble, and Eva Nicole and Claire Bethany Reyes; and dancing to a 1940s-style band, attending a good play or musical, or pedaling along the Wisconsin bike trails.
A visitation to share memories of Dave will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, 110 S. Seventh St., Oregon. Cremation rites have been accorded. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Riverview Cemetery, Oregon.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff at Pinecrest Community for their kind and compassionate care of Dad for the last week of his life. Memorials may be made in Dave’s memory to the Timber Lake Playhouse, P.O. Box 29, Mount Carroll, IL 61053; or the Black Hawk Statue Restoration with donations to Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702 (with Black Hawk Restoration noted on memo line).