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William Newton Martin

  • "I was so sorry to read this in the paper, but just had to..."
    - Jan VanNess
  • "thank you Bill for your service and letting me get to know..."
    - joe dial

William Newton Martin

William Newton Martin, 90, of Springfield, was born June 22, 1923, and went home to be with the Lord on April 17, 2014, while a resident at the Missouri Veterans Home in Mt. Vernon, MO.

William is preceded in death by his wife of 71 years, Dorothy, and survived by his four children, Pamela (Jim) Morgan, Kelly (Janice) Martin, Eloise Magill, and Nancy (Mickey) Ray all of Springfield, 9 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, a brother, Gene Martin, a sister-in-law, Gloria Mingus, and many nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

William enlisted in the Navy on December 9, 1940, and after training was assigned to the battleship USS Nevada. On the morning of December 7th, the ship was anchored at Pearl Harbor and William was topside ready to go ashore. When the bombing began, William went to man an anti-aircraft gun just below the bridge on the starboard side of the ship. A bomb landed on the ship's deck and exploded and William was wounded and blown off the gun against the bulkhead. As he was laying there, an enemy plane strafed him with machine gun fire and he received wounds down the right side of his body. Through the hours that followed, William remembered being tagged dead three times. Within 4-5 days, he was placed on a hospital ship and returned to Mare Island, CA for treatment, removal of his right eye, and then was discharged from the Navy in May, 1942.

Even though William carried the reminders of the attack with him daily he didn't let it slow him down. He lived an active life, attended college classes at both Draughan's and Drury, and spent most of his working years traveling all over southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas as a commercial glass salesman. William also served as a deacon at South Haven Baptist Church and went on several church building trips. He loved spending time at the lake with family and friends, working in his yard, and traveling. He particularly enjoyed trips to Hawaii for the 25th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

William was very humble about his service to this nation and never wanted any special recognition. He was a kind, gentle, caring man who will greatly be missed!

The family will receive visitors at Greenlawn South from 6 - 8 pm Friday,April 18th and funeral services will be at Greenlawn South at 2 pm on Saturday, April 19th. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to St. Jude Research Hospital.


Funeral Home
Greenlawn Funeral Home South - Springfield
441 West Battlefield  Springfield, MO 65807
Funeral Home Details
Published in the News-Leader on Apr. 18, 2014
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