(Asbury Park Press)
FREDERIC RICHARD "DICK" MARTIN
AGE: 73 OCEANPORT
Frederic Richard "Dick" Martin, 73, born on Sept. 7, 1935, of Oceanport, New Jersey, died at home on April 15, 2009. Dick was the founder and president of Surf Lifesaving. He founded Surf Lifesaving in 1966 out of a desire to provide more extensive lifeguard training along the Jersey Shore. Dick had served as an English teacher at Red Bank Regional High School for twenty-five years and also coached football and swimming at the high school. His boys' swimming team won two State Championships in 1975 and 1983 and the girls' and boys' teams won 270 meets during his nearly twenty years as the Head Swimming Coach. The girls' swimming team was runner-up in the State Championships for ten years in a row. During the years of 1972-75, the girls' team held the longest winning streak of any varsity team at Red Bank Regional at the time - 33 meets. Dick's freshmen football record at Red Bank was 74 wins, 9 losses and 2 ties (with 50 shut outs).
Dick worked summers as a lifeguard since 1951 and continued to guard and manage various beaches throughout the summer of 2008. He guarded at many beach clubs and beaches along the Monmouth County shore throughout his life. In 1961, he became the lifeguard captain at Takanassee Beach Club, where he stayed until 1982. His lifeguards at Takanassee were legendary for their victories in many lifeguard tournaments. His guards at Takanassee included Jonty Skinner, world record holder in the 100 meter freestyle; Mark Tonelli, silver medalist in the 1976 Olympics; and John Cannon, nine year veteran defensive end of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Tak lifeguard team's victories include the Nassau County Championships, as well as the East Coast Championships. Moreover, Dick was the captain of the 1983 Monmouth County Team that won the National Lifeguard Championships. While at Takanassee, Dick was the supervisor of the Sea Bright Beaches in 1965-66 and the Long Branch Beaches from 1965-68. During these years, the Surf Lifesaving Lifeguard Training Clinic began. Dick was the first to implement the teaching of CPR and First Aid - before they became state requirements. Additionally, Dick worked with state legislatures and helped to promulgate Water Safety regulations. Working for many area attorneys, Dick has been an expert witness on aquatic cases since 1981. A Peddie Prep School and Lafayette College graduate, Dick went on to serve as a Drill Instructor in the United States Marine Corps from 1956 through 1959 and as an officer in the Marine Corps Reserves until 1966.
Along with his lifeguarding, coaching and teaching duties, Dick had also been an avid participant in sports. He played football for the NY Giants in 1960. He played semi-pro ball for the NJ Generals from 1963-65. However, rowing was his passion. He participated in 19 "Jack Wright" marathon rows, 15 of which were with his longtime rowing partner and good friend, Phil Huhn, current Business Administrator of Neptune Township and former Mayor of Long Branch. In 1988, in very grueling conditions, Dick and Phil won their Division in the Marathon Row and were second overall. Dick won the Masters' National Rowing Championships in 1985. In the inaugural Jack Wright Marathon Row, Dick rowed with John McHeffey. They finished the race after great struggles and have continued their rowing partnership from that date in the mid-70's until Dick's death. Dick spent many hours in the boat each week with John and his brother, Jimmy McHeffey. Dick rowed several races with John and Jimmy throughout the years and considered the two of them as family.
Dick Martin had a strong commitment to water safety and this year will mark the 46th Annual Lifeguard Training Clinic to begin in May. The course will continue as Dick's legacy. He had trained over two thousand lifeguards, including the Jersey Shore's first female guards. In May 2005, a new lifeguard agency, North Shore Lifesaving Association ("NSLA"), was certified by the State of New Jersey to be an approved organization for Ocean and Tidal Certification. This agency now has about twenty (20) membership organizations including all the beach clubs in Sea Bright, Sea Bright Public Beach, Long Beach Township Public Beach, Loch Arbour, and other various beach clubs and condominiums along the Jersey Shore. Dick Martin was elected as the Chief Executive Officer and Training Director of the NSLA.
Dick was survived by his son, Jason Martin, and his wife, Nancy Steadman Martin. Jason and Nancy lived with Dick in Oceanport. He was predeceased by his oldest son, Guy Martin.
All services are private and under the direction of the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank, NJ 07701. Letters of condolence can be emailed through the funeral home website at www.sidun.com