Franklin Martin (1928 - 2014)

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In Loving Memory of,

Dr. Franklin W. Martin

April 14,1928 ~ February 25,2014

Franklin W. Martin, 85, of Lehigh Acres, FL, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014.

Born to the late Herman Martin and Anna Jewett Martin on April 14, 1928, in Salt Lake City, Utah, he was married to Adiela R. Martin for 41 years and they lived in Puerto Rico before relocating to Lehigh Acres in 1986.

Frank was a graduate of the Oklahoma Baptist University, and obtained a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics at University of California in Davis, CA. He was a Horticulturist, a scientist, and spent his career at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. He served as the Director of The Mayaguez Institute for Tropical Agriculture for 20 years. He became an expert on rhubarb early in his career, and was sent around the world by the Department of Agriculture to study the yam, Discorea spp., as a food source for people in underdeveloped countries. Frank became a world-recognized authority on yams, and later, sweet potatoes. He was also a renowned authority in palms, and had a vast number of scientific and popular publications.

Frank enjoyed hiking in the wilds, and had a deep appreciation of nature and science. An avid gardener as well as a fruit and vegetable collector, his goal in horticulture was to learn what he could and to pass it on to others. He belonged to The Garden Club of Lehigh Acres and wrote a book on the subject, Gardening in Lehigh. Frank published several books while working throughout the tropics of the world. Some of his better-known titles are Edible Leaves of the Tropics, Techniques and Plants for the Tropical Subsistence Farm, Survival and Subsistence in the Tropics, Handbook of Tropical Food Crops, and Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics.

Frank was a talented author and wrote a number of short stories profusely depicting the nature of human existence, some of which were written in Spanish, a language he spoke and wrote fluently. He masterminded the Creative Writing Group, today's Penpushers, which originated at the Senior Citizens Center Inc., sponsored by Lehigh Regional Medical Center and Lee County, and continues to this day.

Frank served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

He is survived by his wife, Adiela, his sister Anna May Burson, of Southerlin, OR, two brothers, Roger Martin of San Diego, CA, and Bud Martin of Durango, CO. Seven children, Jonathan D., Alison G., Roderic L., Cecilia A., Carlos E., José M. Juan C., ten grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Frank also had another sister, Ada Doty, who proceeded him in death.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, March 13, 2014, at St. Raphael Catholic Church at 9:30 a.m., followed by a celebration of a Life family reunion.

Published in The News-Press on Mar. 12, 2014
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