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Abner Broadwater Martin

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Abner Broadwater Martin Obituary
Abner Broadwater Martin

GREENVILLE, SC-- Abner Broadwater Martin, born May 25 1927, third son of John Landrum and Blanche Wheeler Martin of Fairforest, SC, died Thursday, August 11, 2011 at age 84. The cause of death was Alzheimer's Disease.
Born into a family of modest circumstances with a strong respect for learning and higher education, he taught himself radio repair from a correspondence course, showing ambition and early aptitude as an entrepreneur. He decided while in high school at Fairforest that he wanted to attend West Point Military Academy in New York, which offered the chance of a free education to a limited few who exhibited the academic prowess, strength of character and persistence to win the necessary appointment through their state representative. In the interim, deciding that high school was not challenging enough, he left before graduating and enrolled at Clemson A & M College and then later North Carolina State University while pursuing his appointment to West Point. It finally came through in 1945 from Congressman Joe Bryson. Four years later on the 7th of June 1949 he graduated with the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. On that same day he and his high school sweetheart Agnes Smith (who had acquired the nickname "Smitty" during her Cadet Nurse Training) were married in the Cadet Chapel at West Point.
He pursued his interests in flying and engineering as his Air Force assignments took him back and forth across the United States with intermittent breaks to pursue educational opportunities whenever he could. His assignments included Flight Training; Flight Instructor; Project Officer in Air Force Aeronautics; Inertial Guidance for the Atlas and Titan Missiles; Director of Airborne Systems; Director of Minuteman III; Director of Technical Operations for Limited War (with a tour in Vietnam); Director of the Air Force Armaments Lab; Director of the Air Force Ballistic Re-Entry Program; Program Director of Minuteman; Program Director of the B-1 Bomber and Director of the Defense Mapping Agency. In between assignments he earned a Masters degree in Aeronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Masters from the Army War College, a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Masters in Business from Harvard University's Advanced Management Program. After 30 years with the Air Force, he retired in 1979 with the rank of Lieutenant General. Decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Bronze Star, among others.
Not ready to stop working yet, he became Vice President of Defense and Aerospace with the Sperry Corporation, a job he enjoyed until his second retirement in 1986. At that time he and Smitty retired to a home on a golf course in Rockwall, Texas. In 2005 Ab was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. In 2007 Ab and Smitty returned to the Greenville area to be closer to family, settling at Rolling Green Village. He is survived by his wife Smitty, sons Alan of Simpsonville; Dan of Redondo Beach, California; daughter Melanie of Larchmont, New York, and sister-in-law Ethel Dodson Martin of Greenville.
He was buried in a private graveside ceremony with military honors at Fairforest Baptist Church on August 16, 2011.
The family requests donations to the in lieu of flowers.


Published in Spartanburg Herald-Journal from Aug. 17 to Aug. 18, 2011
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