The Honorable David O’Brien Martin, 68, formerly Canton, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 20 in his home while under the care of Hospice and surrounded by his wife and family.
He was born on April 26, 1944 in St. Lawrence County to the late Edson A. and Anne O’Brien Martin. He graduated from Hugh C. Williams High School in Canton in 1962 and then followed in his older brother Edson’s footsteps and attended the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated in 1966.
Upon graduation from Notre Dame, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps where he proudly served in Vietnam as an F-4 Phantom aviator earning numerous citations including the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and fourteen Air Medals. After being honorably discharged from his service in the Marine Corps in 1970, he attended and graduated from Albany Law School in 1973 and returned to his roots in Canton. He practiced law with the firm of Kitay & Elmer and served as a member of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators until his election to the New York Assembly in 1976 where he served until 1981.
In 1980 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives where he proudly represented his constituents in Northern and Central New York for six terms until his retirement in 1993. During his time in Congress, he was a member of the Committee on Armed Services for ten years as well as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was the ranking Republican member of the Military Installations Subcommittee and the Vice Chairman of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Panel which oversaw the worldwide military commissaries, exchanges and related activities. Representative Martin was the linchpin behind the relocation of the 10th Mountain Infantry Division to Fort Drum, an accomplishment that he proudly reflected upon and considered the highlight of his political career because of the tremendous economic impact it has had on the North Country.
Upon his retirement from Congress, he taught as a professor of national security decision making at the Naval War College in Newport, RI from 1993-1994. He then returned to Washington, DC accepting a position as vice president for state and local affairs of the National Soft Drink Association. From 1997 to 2000 he was President of InterBev Limited, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Soft Drink Association, which produced the most comprehensive all beverage trade show and conference in the world. In 2000 he established and served as president of Martin, Fisher, Thompson & Associates, a Washington, DC based government affairs consulting and marketing firm.
To those that knew him, Dave was the consummate politician who had a warm handshake, a quick smile and an ability to tell a story like few others. He was also an avid student of history, especially as it pertained to the Civil War. As an aficionado of poetry, he enjoyed reciting the classics, especially with his granddaughter.
Congressman Martin is survived by his wife of 19 years, Dana; three daughters, Victoria (Duskas), Kelly (Bridges) and Julia (Bassett); two grandchildren, Jacqueline Victoria and William O’Brien; a stepson Michael McGee; a stepdaughter Kimberly Travis and, shared with his wife, eleven grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his beloved brother Edson J. and sister Jean (Carroll).
The family will receive friends in West Virginia on Monday, Nov. 26 from 3 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Brown Funeral Home, South Berkeley Chapel in Inwood, WV. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held the following day, Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 11 a.m. at St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Hedgesville, WV with Father George Pucciarelli, celebrant.
The family will also receive friends in Northern New York on Monday, Dec. 3 from noon to 8 p.m. at the O’Leary Funeral Home in Canton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held the following day, Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Canton with Father Douglas Lucia, celebrant.
Congressman Martin will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, 909 N. Washington St., Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314 and/or The Wounded Warrior Project, 1120 G Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 2005.