Roy O. Martin, Jr.
| Roy Otis Martin, Jr.|
(Timber businessman and philanthropist)
|Born|| June 3, 1921 |
|Died|| March 22, 2007 |
|Spouse|| (1) Barbara "Bobbie" Morros Martin (married 1942-1993, her death)|
(2) Vinita Grace Strackeljohn Johnson Martin (married 1994-2007, her death)
Roy Otis Martin, Jr. (June 3, 1921 – March 22, 2007) was a prominent businessmen, philanthropist, and political and civic leader in Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish and the largest city in Central Louisiana. He was the former president and chief executive officer of Roy O. Martin Lumber Management Company. He ran the company from 1962 until his retirement in 1978. In 2005, Martin was declared a "Living Legend" by Louisiana Public Broadcasting. A biography of Martin entitled Life by the Board Foot: Roy O. Martin and the Martin Companies by James E. "Sonny" Carter of Natchitoches was released in 2004 by Claitor's Publishing Company of Baton Rouge.
Martin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Roy O. Martin, Sr. (1890-1973), and Mildred B. Martin (1892-1995). His father moved the family to Alexandria in 1923 in order to establish the lumber company. Martin, Jr., graduated from Bolton High School in 1939, at which his classmates included Joe D. Smith, Jr., later the publisher of the Alexandria Town Talk, and W. George Bowdon, Jr., the Alexandria mayor from 1953 to 1969. Martin then studied engineering at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. During this time, he met his first wife, the former Barbara "Bobbie" Morros (August 10, 1923 - May 8, 1993) of Bunkie in Avoyelles Parish. They were married on October 8, 1942.
Martin left LSU to join the U.S. Coast Guard after the attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He served primarily in the Atlantic Ocean as a machinist's mate first class during World War II.
A large family-owned business
After his discharge, he returned to central Louisiana to join his father in the lumber business. Under Martin, the company modernized its Alexandria sawmill and expanded from a land base of 250,000 acres to more than 370,000 acres. The firm became one of the largest family-owned businesses in the American South. For many years it operated a sawmill at the company town of Roy, south of Castor in Bienville Parish in north Louisiana. In 2007, Martin Lumber, a general partner of Martco Limited Partnership, had a land base of nearly 600,000 acres of timberlands. In addition to its land holdings, the company has constructed a state-of-the-art strand board plant near Oakdale in Allen Parish to add to a portfolio of wood-products-manufacturing facilities. In 2004, Martin Lumber won the Forest Stewardship Award from the National Hardwood Lumber Association.
Martin was president of the Alexandria Lions Club from 1957-1958 and was recognized as having been one of the founders of the Lions Crippled Children's Camp in Leesville, the seat of Vernon Parish, in western Louisiana. He served until 1991 on the board of directors of the former Rapides Bank and Trust Company in Alexandria (since part of Bank One Corporation). He was instrumental in the creation of the private Alexandria Country Day School. He supported the United Service Organization to assist military service personnel.
Martin helped in the relocation of his church, First United Methodist of Alexandria from downtown to the mid-city Jackson Street location. He was a board member and fundraiser for the Salvation Army for fifty-four years. Under Martin's leadership, the Army raised $500,000 for a new building and shelter on Beauregard Street.
The Martins also supported the Prison Chapel ministry and helped to fund a chapel inside the state penal institution in Cottonport in Avoyelles Parish. Martin believed that religious conversion is the key to rehabilitating criminals.
Martin was also a longterm supporter of Louisiana Public Broadcasting. He was honored in 2005 as a "Louisiana Legend", along with former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young of Georgia and former LSU football Coach Paul Dietzel. In 2006, Martin was named "Cenla-ian of the Year" by Cenla Focus magazine, which covers people and topics of interest to residents of central Louisiana.
Martin was president of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra from 1987-1988.
Supporting LSU at Alexandria
On October 7, 1994, seventeen months after Bobbie Martin died of cancer, Martin wed the former Vinita Grace Strackeljohn Johnson (March 21, 1918 - January 1, 2007), who had once lived in Kansas years earlier. The two shared a common interest in philanthropy. Over the course of their 12-year marriage, they established numerous scholarships, including the thirteenth endowed professorship at Louisiana State University at Alexandria, the Roy and Vinita J. Martin Endowed Professorship in Mathematics and Science.
LSUA Chancellor Robert Cavanaugh said that Martin was a major supporter of his institution: "When we started a foundation several years ago, Mr. Roy was a big supporter, not just with his money, but he donated his time. He knew where to go, where the money was." The foundation started with a few hundred thousand dollars, and now totals about $10 million in investments plus another $5 million to $6 million in assets, Cavanaugh told the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Martin's hometown newspaper. In response to their generosity, LSUA named an oak tree on campus in honor of the couple.
Martin also subsidized scholarships in the study of forestry at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.
Martin the Republican
Martin was a member of the Republican State Central Committee and was a delegate to the two national conventions, 1980 and 1984, which nominated the Reagan-Bush tickets. Republican Governor David C. Treen appointed Martin to a four-year term to the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry.
He was also a board member of two interest groups, the Public Affairs Research Council and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, or LABI. He was an indefatigable promoter of efforts to improve the business climate to foster economic growth in Louisiana. He was a member of the Louisiana Department of Transportaton and Development Advisory Council. Martin contributed to the 2003 gubernatorial campaign of Republican Bobby Jindal; his family similarly continued to give to Jindal in the latter's 2007 election as governor.
Martin died at his residence, just eighty days after the passing of the second Mrs. Martin. He was survived by three daughters and one son, Roy O. Martin, III, president of the company. Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco issued a statement of condolences on Martin's death. His death was covered by the major media throughout Louisiana.
- http://www.rustonleader.com/obitsarch.php http://www.lsua.edu/picofweek/?week=1/23/2006