Martin C. Harty Jr.

Obituary
  • " Memories of my Uncle Marty go back nearly seventy years..."
    - Janice (Harty) Lanou
  • "I remember one is those cross country road trips. We headed..."
    - Annette Call
  • "Monica and family. Please accept my deepest sympathy in..."
    - Jack Charland
  • "Enjoyed Marty coming to my garage with his wares and..."
    - Robert Patch
  • "Marty: "Will there be any freight trains in heaven, Any box..."
    - Lew Boyd

BARRINGTON - Martin C. Harty, Jr., 98, of Barrington, N.H., passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 12, 2017, in Dover, N.H., with family at his side. A New Englander to the core Marty knew exactly where he belonged, while the peddler in him needed to roam, to amble and to wander off. New Hampshire's Mt. Monadnock was visible from the kitchen window of the family farm in Barre, Mass., where on March 25, 1919 Marty was the first child born to Martin C. Harty and Annie B. (Cummings) Harty. He later claimed that northern state as his home and territory – along with significant sections of Maine.

Marty was a voracious reader with a prodigious memory for historical and geographical facts and sports trivia. He collected books everywhere he went, recalling the height of every mountain, the length and confluence of every river he had ever encountered in life or in literature. Well into his 90s he could recite verbatim, in Italian, the opening pages of Dante's Divine Comedy, which he purchased in Naples during World War II. He served in North Africa and Italy from July 1, 1942 to October 5, 1945 and was honorably discharged with four bronze campaign stars and a good conduct medal.

Throughout his young adult and middle years Marty built race cars, assembling teams of the best and brightest drivers and mechanics he could find and competing on the short tracks of New England in the 1950s and 60s: West Peabody, Millers Falls, Brookline, Hudson, Rhythm Inn, Thunder Road and many others. Brother John's enthusiasm inspired Marty's own interest in the new sport. At one point, lacking a driver for the N.H. state championship, they coaxed brother Tom to take the wheel. The Harty Boys won both the N.H. state championship and the Mass./N.H., championship match that year with Tom driving. Marty took considerable delight in mentoring young men with potential in the field, both drivers and builders, among them Vic Kangas, who was about 19 or 20 when they met. Marty's specialty was setting cars up to handle, getting them to go as smoothly through the turns as on the straight-aways. One of the last cars Marty built (with Vic Kangas) was among the fleet that Ernie Gahan drove to the 1966 NASCAR Modified National Championship, which pleased Marty immensely. For pure fan excitement, however, nothing could surpass the cerulean blue 000 (triple zero) which won and won in the glorious 1950s. His father-in-law Jerry Joyal assisted him with the lightning quick build. In 2010 Marty Harty was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame, and continued to serve as a living fact-pedia regarding the early and later decades of the sport.

Despite his love for and engagement in racing Marty was not someone you wanted to follow down a country road. He was a slow-pokey, inside-the-car yodeling, stop at every yard sale and historical marker man. Marty and his "little Arlene" raised 10 children over the course of their 69 years together. Burning retread rubber, they laughed and stretched their dollars to cover lunch until a sale could be made. Kids in the car – always a VW – they drove millions (yes, millions!) of miles bound for flea markets, county fairs and trade conventions all over the country. Marty and his 'pretty Arlene' meandered to Nevada, California and Florida many times over the decades. Florida could be done in a day and a night. Who needed to stop when there was gas in the tank and two licensed drivers on board? Still peddling and riding with Arlene in his 80's and 90's, Marty's wanderings led him to be in NYC on his way to a trade convention when the Twin Towers came down; and detoured again a few years later when Sully landed a plane in the East River. Marty could tell you the whole story – his own and what had happened in the greater world.

In his late 70's Marty climbed Mt. Katahdin, at the end of the Appalachian Trail without training, just to be with his brother Tom. "Like climbing the side of a house!" he proclaimed. As with much of his life, he didn't really plan it beforehand. He just took a mind to do something and he did it.

Marty was self-employed for most of his adult life, owning and operating junkyards in Massachusetts and New Hampshire through the early 1970s. His career as a traveling salesman, however, had its roots in the early 1960s with forays to county fairs and selling newfangled toys like transistor radios from the back seat of his car. Marty spent the last five decades of his life on the road, as the aptly named 'Yankee Peddler,' selling small tools and hardware to garages and auto body shops and setting up at flea markets all over New England and Florida. He counted his customers among his friends, and was generous to a fault with his time and resources. Over the course of his last months at Riverside Nursing Home in Dover, he was blessed with freedom from financial worry and the security of knowing that all his physical needs were being met. There he undertook his last, great internal struggle as he reflected on his life and regrets and made the amends that he could.

On a clear N.H. evening, Saturday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m., the last little caboose of Marty Harty's long, long train went round the bend and his light disappeared into the Great Mystery.

Martin C. Harty, Jr., is survived by his wife, Arlene Francis (Joyal) Harty, his children Monica Crockett, Mary Ann Harty, Margaret Harty, Martin Harty, Neil Harty, Jerome Harty, John Harty, Michele Scott (Kevin) and Tom Harty (Bailey); his brother John Harty of Barre, Mass.; 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and many friends.

He was predeceased by his daughter Marlene Schena (Joe), and siblings Tom Harty, Mary Kelley and Rita Gionet.

SERVICES: Burial will be private. A memorial service to celebrate Marty's life will be held at a future date. For information or to send condolences please contact [email protected]


Funeral Home
Cremation Society of New Hampshire – Hampton
861 Lafayette Rd.
Hampton, NH 03842
603-622-1800
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Published in Fosters from Aug. 16 to Aug. 19, 2017
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