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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2005

Fire chief's demeanor spread calm at crises

PEMBERVILLE, Ohio - Herbert W. Martin, 65, Pemberville fire chief for 27 years and a life-long area farmer, died of cancer Tuesday in his home.

Mr. Martin joined the fire department in 1957, the same year he graduated from Pemberville High School. He was a member of the first class of volunteers to receive training when the department began providing emergency medical service in 1976.

In 1978, Mr. Martin was promoted to fire chief. He could be counted on to arrive for most of the department's emergency runs, his son, Duane, said. His long tenure made him known to many in the community.

"When he went to something, there was just this relief in their faces," his son said. "Dad was a friend."

The chief and his volunteers went to calls in all kinds of weather, day and night, facing hazards at fires and accident scenes. Last year, Mr. Martin confronted the death of a friend found fatally injured after a house exploded.

"There was joy too," his son said, such as when he and volunteers helped deliver babies when there was no time to get to the hospital.

Second Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Jackson said Mr. Martin was well respected within the department. Among the chief's accomplishments was securing compensation for the runs made by volunteers, he said.

Mr. Martin also was a farmer, raising hogs and cattle, and growing tomatoes, corn, and soybeans.

Surviving are his wife, Jackie; sons, Dean and Duane Martin and Mark Mohre; brother, Daniel, and six grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The body will be in the Marsh Funeral Home after 7 tonight.

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