Dr. William MARTIN

Obituary
  • "When Dr. Martin and his family moved to the Atlanta area in..."
    - Julie Setzer

MARTIN, Dr. William Dr. William "Bill" Culbertson Martin, 89, passed away at his home on Sunday June 22, 2014. A World War II veteran, respected sociology professor, and member of science fiction's First Fandom, he inspired many across generations. The eldest of eight siblings, he was born July 6, 1924 in Drake, Kentucky to Ira Allen and Ollie Mae (White) Martin. In 1931, his family moved to Portland, Tenn. At Sumner County High School, classmates remembered "Willie" for always having his nose in a book. He was a Buck Rogers Solar Scout and enjoyed pulp magazines, such as Astounding Science Fiction. Upon graduating as class valedictorian in June 1943, he reported for military service in World War II. He was trained first as an engineer in the prestigious Army Specialized Training Program. Then in 1943, he was assigned to the Eighth Armored Division (Battery A, 405th Armored Field Artillery Battalion). He served as Private First Class, drove a tank in Patton's Third Army in the European Theater, and was honorably discharged in 1946. He was a member of U.S. Army Organized Reserve Corps from 1946 to 1950 and U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1950 to 1953. He attended Vanderbilt University on the GI Bill, majoring in sociology, and completed his bachelor of arts degree in 1950 with magna cum laude honors, master's degree in 1956, and doctorate in 1971. He also did graduate sociology studies at Indiana University from 1951 to 1957, where he met Irma "Margareta" Carpelan, of Finland. They married October 30, 1955 in Helsinki, Finland. They have one daughter, Anya Martin, a writer and journalist. He contributed to the field of sociology with significant research and journal articles, especially in the areas of theories of social structure and change, race relations, multinational organizations, social psychology and popular culture. He was a popular and much-loved professor by students. He was an assistant professor of sociology at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., from 1958 to 1959; Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind., from 1959 to 1965; and Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1965 to 1968. In 1970, he joined the sociology department of Georgia State University (GSU) as an associate professor. He retired from GSU in 1991 as Professor Emeritus. Always eager to learn about and experience diverse cultures, he traveled widely in Europe, Asia and Egypt, including being one of the first Americans to visit both Russia (then the Soviet Union) in 1957, and the People's Republic of China, in 1985, when travel restrictions were lifted from both countries. He went on to visit Russia nine more times through 1991. In China, he met Wei Callahan and assisted her to come to the U.S. to study sociology at GSU and hosted her first year. His four collies--Rory, Tristan, Duncan, and grand-collie Max who passed away on June 24--and Siamese cat PuPu (Finnish for "bunny") were a dear and important part of his life. In his last four decades, he rediscovered his passion for science fiction and joined First Fandom, an organization of Golden Age SF fans, and the Science Fiction Research Association. He became well-known and loved in the SF/F/H community and attended many conventions with his daughter Anya, including being a guest at many Dragoncons. Local fans considered him "Atlanta's own Forry Ackerman," due to his fantastic collection of books and pulp magazines. He taught honors seminars in SF at GSU and penned professional papers on the development of SF as the "Literature of the 20th Century." He is survived by his wife Irma Margareta Martin and daughter Anya Margareta Martin, as well as brothers Richard and Howard Martin, and sister Louise Eden. He is predeceased by brothers James, George and Robert, and sister Marie. A Memorial/Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday July 6 (which would have been his 90th birthday) at 1 p.m. at A.S. Turner & Sons, 2773 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033, (404) 292-1551, www.asturner.com. His internment, with military honors, will be at 3 p.m. on Monday July 7 at Maple Hill Cemetery in Portland, Tenn. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made "in memory of Dr. William C. Martin" to either Southern Poverty Law Center or Literacy Volunteers of Atlanta (Library). A. S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory.
Funeral Home
A. S. Turner & Sons
2773 North Decatur Road Decatur, GA 30031
(404) 292-1551
Funeral Home Details
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 1, 2014
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