Robert Martin, a service-station owner and a former Oregon City councilman who helped encourage others to join politics, died Sunday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg. He was 85.
He had been suffering from kidney failure and blood clots, his son Bob Martin, Jr., said.
As a resident of Oregon for 46 years, Mr. Martin was well-known in the area for politics and for his involvement in community organizations and clubs.
In the 1980s, when Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian said he was considering running for office, he knew Mr. Martin could help explain how to become more involved in politics.
“So when I was first entertaining the idea of running for office, it was through a conversation I had with him. I didn’t even know how to get on the ballot. He’s actually the person who told me what I needed to do to get on the ballot,” Mr. Seferian said.
He said he knew Mr. Martin for many years prior to that conversation.
“I knew Bob Martin, Sr., from when I was a kid, and his kids were roughly my age. Our family owned a service station and so did he, and we had that in common,” he said.
A Democrat, Mr. Martin served as a councilman for Oregon’s City Council from 1971-1973 and from 1975-1981, Mr. Seferian said. Mr. Martin ran for mayor in 1981.
According to Blade archives, Mr. Martin’s platform when running for mayor included creating a decisive administration and creating better communication between residents and the city. He finished third in the Sept. 15, 1981, mayoral primary and went on to endorse the incumbent, Democratic Mayor Leonard Wasserman, for the seat.
He was born on May 26, 1928, to Harold and Ruth Martin in Toledo. He was a Waite High School graduate and was as a mechanic in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was involved in Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Micronesian Islands of the Pacific Ocean, the site of U.S. nuclear testing in the 1940s and 1950s.
He attended the University of Toledo for a public works program and Oklahoma State University in the 1980s for a program involving road and street maintenance.
After working at Libbey-Owens-Ford for nine years, he took a leave of absence in 1958 to start Martin’s Gulf service station, his son Bob said. He worked there for 26 years.
Mr. Martin was a member of the American Legion Arthur Daly Post and Paragon Lodge No. 788. As past president and secretary of the Oregon Businessmen’s Association, he also served as president for the Oregon Police Athletic League.
Involved in the Kiwanis Club of East Toledo and volunteering as an ombudsman for St. Charles Hospital for 17 years, Mr. Martin enjoyed giving back to the community, his son said.
Through his participation in so many organizations, he became heavily involved in politics. He was employed for two years at the Oregon Municipal Court, and he was commissioner of city streets for 10 years.
“He started meeting other politicians, and [they] told him he was civic-minded,” his son Bob said.
Mr. Martin is survived by his wife, Betty, whom he married in 1955; sons, Robert, Jr., and Danny Martin; and three grandchildren.
His funeral will be at Eggleston Meinert & Pavley Funeral Home, Oregon Chapel, 440 S. Coy Road on Friday at 11 a.m. Friends and family are invited to visit the funeral home on Thursday from 2-9 p.m., with Paragon Masonic services taking place at 7 p.m.
Memorials are suggested to Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
Contact Kelly McLendon at: email@example.com or 419-724-6522.
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