We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home
Colonel (Ret.) Eugene Martin died peacefully on August 26, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. He was 89 years old and was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 55 years, the former Sylvia Ann Winter, his sons Gene Martin, Steven Martin, and Michael Martin.
"Gene" was born on December 19, 1932, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Walter Martin and Jeanette Martin. His drive and leadership were evident early in life as he captained his St. Thomas More High School basketball team and graduated with honors in 1950. Gene attended St. Joseph’s University with the class of 1954, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. He turned his desire to serve his country into a career and entered the United States Air Force in October 1954 as a 2nd Lieutenant, earning his fighter pilot wings in 1956. He later completed studies at the University of Maryland earning a Master of Science degree.
Colonel Martin's leadership spanned one of the nation’s most bitter conflicts, the Vietnam War, where he flew 240 combat missions in Southeast Asia in the F-4 Phantom and F-111 Aardvark as a fighter pilot and Commander of the 430th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nevada. After Vietnam he led secure strategic and tactical warfare projects as the Chief of Readiness Initiatives at the Pentagon. Colonel Martin served in Europe as the Base Commander at Hahn AFB and the Chief of MWR at Ramstein AFB-both in Germany and during the height of the Cold War. In support of his daughter's successful swimming career, he started the Hahn High school swim team.
Colonel Martin's military career took him around the world, as he served in Japan, Egypt, Germany, Vietnam, and the United States. Gene moved with his family 14 times in 30 years, finally settling in Tucson, Arizona for his last USAF assignment as the Inspector General at Davis Monthan AFB. Gene and Sylvia moved to the Destin/Niceville area for full retirement in 1996, returning to their favorite white-sand beach destination and where their kids and grandkids would be certain to visit on a regular basis.
During his career, Gene was recognized formally, earning the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Air War College Distinguished Graduate Award. Upon his retirement from active duty in 1984, Colonel Martin continued his extensive involvement in security, working in the private sector for Systems Software Engineering. Gene truly never retired and his devotion to our country was steadfast. He was a proponent of life-long learning, and he found great purpose in continuing to provide leadership and counsel on matters pertaining to national security. He was a realtor for Century 21 for 18 years and was a faithful member of the Catholic Church, Christ Our Redeemer. A man with many hobbies, on any given weekend, you might find him enjoying a game of golf with his friends, watching his daughter compete in a swim meet, cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles, or tackling the New York Times Crossword puzzle.
Colonel Martin is survived by his three daughters, Jeannette Janik, Lisa Potter, and Colleen Brown, and his son, Lee Kolb. He will also be dearly missed by his nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Church on September 14, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. Burial at Arlington National Cemetery with Sylvia will be announced at a future date.