Joseph Alford Martin
Jan. 11, 1927 - Aug. 12, 2013
Joseph Alford Martin of Ocean Park, Wash., passed away in his sleep on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 at home after a lengthy 2 1/2 year illness with his wife at his side.
Joe was born Jan. 11, 1927 in Skellytown, Texas, to John and Mary Martin, both deceased. He had five siblings, all deceased. His family moved to Fresno, then to Sacramento where he attended school. In his sophomore year at the age of 17, he quit school and enlisted in the Navy.
His parents had to sign for him to enlist since he was so young. He served on the USS West Virginia, which had been sunk by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It had been raised and refurbished. He saw fierce active duty in the Philippines as well as Okinawa and was involved in the occupation of Japan. He witnessed the signing of the peace treaty with the Japanese through a pair of binoculars.
Upon his discharge from the Navy, Joe couldn't find a job so he enlisted in the Coast Guard and was stationed in West Port, Wash. His commander recognized that he had a good brain and was smart, so he said he'd arrange for an early discharge if Joe would go back to school and get an education. So Joe got his GED first and then went on to college and then law school, taking advantage of the GI Bill that President Franklin Roosevelt instituted.
Joe graduated form the Pacific McGeorge School of Law attending night classes while working full time as a police officer during the day at the Sacramento Signal Depot. Upon graduation in 1957, he opened a private law practice in Sacramento.
In 1960, Joe was appointed deputy district attorney in Yolo County. In 1962, he became the Yolo County public defender. Upon Judge Degener's death, Joe was appointed judge of the Winters Justice Court by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.
Since the case load was light, the Judicial Council had Joe traveling to the higher courts all across Northern California. When Yolo County established municipal courts in 1977, he was appointed judge of the Municipal Court located in Broderick. He instituted the first Driving Under the Influence School in East Yolo, as well as a Spanish speaking DUI course, and he created many innovations for the East Yolo community. He retired February 1988 after serving 22 years on the bench.
The Judicial Council took advantage of Joe's many talents and gave him assignments trying controversial cases all over Northern California. These were "Hot Potato" cases that the regular judges, who had to run for re-election, did not want to touch.
Joe enjoyed an excellent reputation as a very fair but tough judge. The prisoners at the jail would plead with the deputy sheriff's to "please do not take me to Martin's Court."
He received commendations for his work from judges throughout California, and his capacity for hard work and tough decisions, his legal wisdom and experience of dispensing justice, tempered with mercy and understanding will long be remembered.
Joe said so many newly appointed judges were very nervous upon first taking the bench, but he said the minute he sat down at the bench he knew that was exactly where he was supposed to be.
Joe was married to his first wife, Jean, for 22 years before she passed away. They had three children: Jerry, a former Winters Police officer and later an Alameda County deputy sheriff, who retired and is now deceased; John, who has also passed away; and daughter Jean Darlene Rippy. He is also survived by grandchild Joseph Alford Martin 11, and a great-grandchild Brenan.
Joe and his second wife, Mary Jo were married in 1971 and enjoyed 42 years together. He had a stepson Tim Holman (Sheila Pinkston), and grandchildren Leslie Westmoreland and Brian Holman; and a great-grandchild Cole Westmoreland.
After retirement Joe and Mary Jo enjoyed going to Dixieland Jazz festivals, taking numerous cruises and traveling. He and Mary Jo moved to Ocean Park, Wash., in 1994 seeking clean fresh air (doctor's orders) as he suffered from lung problems. He loved the ocean and had a beautiful view from his home - which he designed and had built - to take advantage of it.
He loved walking on the bench and feeding the sea gulls. He also enjoyed getting together with friends and neighbors and all going out to dinner.
A graveside service was held Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the Oysterville Cemetery presided over by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Published in Daily Democrat from Sept. 26 to Oct. 16, 2013