James T. Martin Sr.

James T. Martin Sr. of Beech Street, Wilkes-Barre, passed away Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

He was the son of the late Edward D. and Helen McCormick Martin, born May 21, 1937, in Plainsville (Plains Township). He attended Wilkes-Barre area schools.

He was an Army veteran of the Korean conflict.

James was a member of the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department for more than 27 years, where he was considered a hero for possibly averting a catastrophe when he responded to a bomb and hurled it into the air as it exploded. He also was employed as a former deputy sheriff and an active Pennsylvania state constable.

He practiced and taught martial arts for more than 50 years, achieving "Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame," "World Karate Union Hall of Fame," "World Christian and Pastoral Karate Hall of Fame," "Eastern Alliance Martial Arts and Legends Hall of Fame," "International Karate Hall of Fame," the "Crystal Diamond Award of Spirit" from Eastern USA International Martial Arts Association Hall of Fame, The "Crystal Diamond Award of Knowledge" from Eastern USA International Martial Arts Association Hall of Fame, "Hall of Fame" sponsored by International Martial Arts Magazine for "Grandmaster of the Year," and the "Plains Sports Hall of Fame." He was also the Mid-Atlantic "Black Belt of the Year" and Mid-Atlantic "Fighter of the Year." He was ranked No. 1 fighter by Karate Illustrated magazine. He was in "Ripley's Believe It or Not" for fighting his son in the same weight class. He's in Who's Who in American Martial Arts. He competed and won the USA Karate Federation Championships on the state, regional and national levels, which took him throughout the United States. He competed and won in Russia, where he was recognized as the outstanding competitor with the best technique.

He holds numerous congressional certificates and city resolutions for his martial arts. He earned the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Killer Bees. He was voted "Athlete of the Century" by The Times Leader readers in 1999. He had earned his "Doctorate of Martial Arts in Philosophy" from England University. He was awarded the "Kelly Cup," the highest award given by the state of Pennsylvania, in honor of Olympian John B. Kelly Jr., and he was given the "Key to the City" by Mayor Thomas McGroarty. He was also deemed a hero by the American Red Cross when, while at a karate tournament in Ohio, he saved a choking man by performing the Heimlich maneuver for which he received "The Certificate of Merit," the highest award presented by the American Red Cross.

A man of passion, character and heart, James T. Martin Sr. left us on Sept. 30, 2013, to begin the next journey of his life.

On March 3, 1992, an article titled "A Rare Man Indeed" was written about James T. Martin Sr., and that is a perfect title for a man like him. There are so many adjectives that parallel this man, brave, heroic, courageous, unselfish, relentless, unstoppable, fearless, determined and caring. His life touched thousands of lives, and like his brother, Ed Martin, who passed on Aug. 8, together they created a community that is shaped and sustained not only by a few women, men and children, but a full cast of characters whose lives were changed and will always be better. Jim Martin defined a passion here on this Earth to always stand up for the person who couldn't stand up for themselves, and he empowered the weakest to have the confidence, both physically and mentally, to be the strongest. That was his goal, that was his mission, that was his legacy. The strength of Jim Martin can never be defined by how many hits he has had; it is defined by how many lives he has touched, which will never be able to be measured. Jim Martin was a man of value, respect and success. He lived his life defying every battle, captivating every challenge, but not only in the martial arts, in every single moment of his life. His eyes spoke volumes but his heart and compassion wrote novels.

He was born with an innate sense of calling, whatever that may be. Whether it was his family, his community, his martial arts school or the fire department, he was part of that age of can-do and always will-do people who felt that, if they didn't do it, then perhaps no one would. Jim Martin committed his life to taking care of people in every sense and definition of the word. 

He is survived by his wife, the former Patricia Paraventi; son, James T. and his wife, Donna Martin Jr., Forty Fort; grandchildren, James T. and his wife, Lynn Martin III, and Kaitlyn and her fiance, Michael Fitzgerald; sister, Ellen Martin, Plains Township; several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Edward D. Martin, and sister-in-law, Florence Martin.

The funeral will be held at 9 a.m. Friday from Mamary-Durkin Funeral Service, 59 Parrish St., Wilkes-Barre.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. in St. Aloysius Church, Wilkes-Barre.

Interment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Hanover Township.

Friends may call from noon to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Funeral Home

Mamary-Durkin Funeral Service, Inc - Wilkes Barre
59 Parrish St.  Wilkes Barre, PA 18702
(570) 824-4601

Published in Citizens' Voice from Oct. 1 to Oct. 2, 2013