Sept. 7, 1923 — July 21, 2013
Gail Martin, 89 years of age, passed away at Providence St. Mary Medical Center on July 21, 2013. Mr. Martin was born Sept. 7, 1923, in Ukiah, Ore., to Bert and Beaulah Martin. At the age of 1 year, the family moved to Stanfield, Ore. He attended school in Stanfield and Hermiston. When he was 12 years old, the family moved to Walla Walla, where he attended College Place Public School and Walla Walla High School. Upon graduating from Wa-Hi, he moved to Portland and worked as a welder in the ship yards until 1943, when he joined the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers during World War II. He received basic training in Texas, then he deployed to the European theater. His three-year tour took him to England, France, Germany and Belgium. He was honorably discharged at the end of the war in 1945.
Eva and Gail met at College Place Public School when they were 13 years old, and became high school sweethearts. He returned to Walla Walla after the war and married Eva Arbini in February 1946. They made their home on what was then Rt. 2 and raised their two sons, Terry and Dan.
Gail was employed by Safeway in 1946, Coca Cola from 1947-1949, and then became the government poultry grader at the Co-op Turkey Hatchery until he decided to start his own business full time. In 1951, he started the archery manufacturing and wholesale business. At that time it was called Blue Mt. Archery, but the name was changed to Martin Archery three years later. During that time, he designed industry-leading string and fletching equipment. In 1976, Martin Archery purchased the Damon Howatt Archery business in Yakima. Martin Archery now supplies archery equipment worldwide.
He was a volunteer fireman for District 4, Station 2 for 30 years, and retired from this in 1981. Gail was a member of Blue Mountain Archers Club, BPOE Elks Lodge, Walla Walla Gun Club, Touchet Gun Club, Waitsburg Gun Club, a lifetime member of Walla Walla Hi Alumni, Pope & Young Club, Safari International Club, Archery Manufacturers Organization, and numerous other business associated organizations.
Gail and Eva were added to the ranks of “Washington Generals,” a service organization. The Martins contributed greatly over the years to the YMCA, Steelheaders, Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club, Pope & Young, the Elks Foundation and other organizations. Gail proudly served as official measurer of wildlife for both Pope & Young and Boone & Crocket.
In 1955, he was inducted into the Bowhunters Hall of Fame. In 1984, he was chosen and honored as the Small Business Man of the year for the entire Northwest. In 2012, he was inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame. He was very innovative and continually produced new ideas for better archery equipment and products.
He was an avid archer, hunter, skeet, trap and sporting clay shooter and fisherman. He loved the outdoors and also enjoyed traveling and did so for both business and pleasure. Gail’s greatest joy came from spending time with Eva, his best friend and the love of his life! They were blessed with a wonderful 68-year marriage. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Surviving are his wife, Eva; two sons, Terry Martin, Dan Martin; daughter-in-law, Rebecca Martin; two sisters-in-law, Jacqueline Martin and Rose Arbini; seven grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother, Beaulah Martin; father, Bert Martin; two brothers, Glen and Clint Martin; sister, Myrtie Robbins; and three brothers-in-laws, Joseph Arbini, Gene Arbini and Roy Robbins.
The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on July 25, 2013, at the Herring Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla. Interment will follow at Mountain View Cemetery. A reception will be held at St. Francis Church after the interment. Memorial contributions may be made to charity of donor’s choice through the funeral home. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.herringgroseclose.com.