Jerry Chambers Martin, 80, the former chief speech writer for then-California Governor Ronald Reagan and longtime journalist passed away from a heart attack on Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Bluffton, SC where he had moved five years ago from his home of 30 years in English Hills, north of Vacaville.
Martin was born in Austin, TX, the sixth of eight children. He joined the US Air Force at the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 and served three years.
After leaving the service, Martin worked for several news organizations, including Associated Press, United Press International, and the Oakland Tribune, Oakland, CA, where he became chief editorial writer in charge of editorial page policy. While there he was a three-time winner of the Freedoms Foundation George Washington Honor Medal for distinguished editorial writing.
In 1969, he joined Gov. Reasan's staff as Assistant to the Governor for Research. He soon became the governor's chief speech writer, working closely with the governor on more than 300 speeches and other projects. Martin shared the same birth date as Reagan- Feb 6. Each year at the governor's birthday party, Martin was given the first piece of cake.
In 1976 he joined the public relations department of Chevron Crop. in San Francisco, CA where he worked until his retirement in 1995. There he oversaw the speech-writing efforts for the chief executives, and oversaw the publication of Chevron's annual reports and other financial publications.
After retirement, Martin remained active in the political activities in Solano County. He managed three supervisorial political campaigns, was a member of the advisory citizens committee involved in the creation of the Rural North Vacaville Water District, and served two terms on the Solano County Grand Jury.
During this period he and his wife, Helen, traveled the US with their dogs. He was also involved with a veterans' group who served in northern Japan during the Korean War.
Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Helen, of Bluffton SC, a former director of the Vacaville Fire District; a daughter from a previous marriage, Kelly Martin of Sacramento; a sister, Joyce Baker of Seattle, WA; a brother, and former journalist, Jack D. Martin of Omaha, NE, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services were private. The family requests that any donations be made to the Vacaville Fire District (vfpd.net) or the Wounded Warrior Project.
Visit the online guestbook at www.TheReporter.com.
Published in The Reporter on Dec. 3, 2013