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Published: Tuesday, 7/25/2006

Former politician, war veteran led alcohol-drug treatment sites

PORT CLINTON - Robert M. "Marty" Galvin, 80, a former Marine, Ohio politician, lawyer, and alcohol treatment expert, died of heart failure yesterday in Stein Hospice, Sandusky.

Mr. Galvin was a heavyweight in the state Democratic Party during the 1950s, serving three terms in the Ohio House and two years as secretary of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

He later managed the campaign of former Toledo Mayor William Ensign.

He successfully battled alcoholism and helped found the organization that would become COMPASS, and later became executive director of the Fostoria Alcohol-Drug Center, a position he held for the last nine years.

"He believed in public service. He thought there was nothing greater anyone can do than hold elected office and serve," said his wife of 32 years, Christine.

His political career included the Ohio House from 1954 to 1959 and the utilities commission from 1959 to 1961.

He left politics in 1961 - except for running the mayoral campaign in 1967 and a short stint as Toledo's city manager - but later found other ways to help people.

"Sobriety was, I think, next to his family his proudest achievement," his wife said.

She said her husband worked full time at the center until about a month ago - he'd been sober 27 years, and entered the chemical dependency treatment field in 1984.

Mr. Galvin practiced law in Toledo after he left public office until 1984.

"Two individuals I know personally, who are upstanding, productive citizens, have told me they owe their lives to Marty," Port Clinton resident Robert Armbruster told The Blade last year when Mr. Galvin was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

Before his career in alcohol treatment and career in politics, Mr. Galvin served in two wars. He fought as a Marine in the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II and served in the Army from 1952 to 1953 in Korea, leaving the service as a first lieutenant.

He graduated from Central Catholic High School in Toledo in 1944 and received a law degree from Cleveland State University in 1954.

Though he did face hurdles in his life - a bankruptcy in 1961 and a law license suspension in 1984 - his wife said, "He didn't have one resentment in the world."

"His children loved him," she said. "He was an accomplished and show-stopping actor in community theater." He acted in performances including Guys and Dolls and Funny Money.

Mr. Galvin also loved living on Lake Erie, where he lived for the last 20 years after leaving Toledo for Port Clinton. "He just loved the lake," she said, adding that he wasn't a particularly avid boater or fisherman.

If invited to go fishing, "he was notoriously good at being the only one who didn't catch a fish," she said.

Mr. Galvin had a good sense of humor, a quick wit, and was well read. "He was a walking Ohio political history book," Mrs. Galvin said.

Surviving are his wife, Christine; sons, Ray, Bob, Riley, and Dan Galvin and Craig Woolfork; daughters, Linda Cooke, Mary Ruth Galvin, Judy Galvin, Beth Gillman, Molly Galvin, and Trish Galvin, and 11 grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 6 p.m. tomorrow in the Gerner-Wolf-Walker Funeral Home, Port Clinton. Services are set for

10:30 a.m. Friday in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Port Clinton.

The family suggests tributes to the Fostoria Alcohol-Drug Center or the Stein Hospice.



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