EAST PEORIA - Richard "Dick" C. Martin, 91, of East Peoria passed away peacefully at his home at 6:45 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, surrounded by his loving family.
Dick was born March 16, 1922, in East Peoria to Robert and Olive Brown Martin. He later moved to Hoopeston with his mother. He married Lexie L. Pickens on May 10, 1942, in Rossville, Ga. She preceded him in death on April 25, 2007, after nearly 65 years of marriage.
Dick is survived by his three daughters, Donna (Terry) Hoyland of Grand Island, Fla., Dianne (Steve) Brandt of Washington and Danita Martin of East Peoria; three grandchildren, Trina (Randy) Hancock, Dawn Gries and Andrea (Scott) Haney; six great-grandchildren, Shannon, Shayla, Lexie, Morgan, Catherine and Hunter; and three half brothers, William (Carol) Butts of Yorkville, Lloyd Butts of Abilene, Kan., and Bruce (Katie) Butts of Ambia, Ind.
He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, four half sisters and two half brothers.
Dick served in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War. He was the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, The Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge with Silver Star. He was a life member of the AMVET Post 1992, American Legion Post 979, VFW Post 2078 and the 44th Infantry Division Veterans Association.
Upon returning from the war, he was employed with Caterpillar for 33 years, retiring in 1980.
Dick was a bowling fanatic, having been involved in bowling for over 60 years. He was a member of the Greater Peoria Bowling Association and was past president of the board. He was inducted into the Greater Peoria Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Illinois Bowling Hall of Fame in 2001. He bowled in over 32 ABC tournaments around the United States. He enjoyed attending sporting events, especially the Washington Cobra 14U softball games in the summer of 2013, where he cheered as the team won the World Series. He coached for his son-in-law, Terry's, Scrub Jay team in Florida.
His proudest moments were being with his family. He was always smiling and whistling a tune. His daughter, Danita, carries on his legacy of always telling jokes. His smile and laughter will live on through her. He was an inspiration to many, but especially his granddaughters and great-grandchildren. He was so very proud of them all. Although he will be missed greatly, we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of the Father and reunited with his true love, Lexie. Oh, what a great reunion is happening in heaven.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, at St. Monica Catholic Church in East Peoria. Father Stephen Willard will officiate. A visitation will be held Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington and a half hour prior to Mass at the church. Masonic services will begin at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home. Interment will be at Fondulac Cemetery.
Dick's memorial website is available at www.deitersfuneralhome.com, where condolences may also be sent to the family.