Will W. Martin
Will Martin, 92, passed away peacefully January 13 surrounded by family in Chicago.  An accomplished pilot, Will performed in many airshows flying his P-51 Mustang "El Gato," a high-performance WW II fighter plane.  His odyssey of buying the Nicaraguan military's fleet of WW II aircraft shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis and returning them to the U.S. became the basis of his book, So I Bought an Air Force, considered a modern aviation classic. Will graduated from the Chicago Public Schools and received his B.S. from Bradley University. Over his career as president of a business consultancy, Will served as a director of the Chicago Better Government Association, the Chicago President's Association, and several manufacturing companies, as well as chairing the board of Moraine Valley Community College. He founded the Squadron 4 Warbirds chapter of the EAA, an international organization of passionate aviation enthusiasts. A former sailboat racer, Will was a lifelong member of the Chicago Yacht Club. In addition to flying and sailing, Will loved his dogs, root beer floats, riding horses and motorcycles, and playing boogie-woogie on the piano. He bought his last motorcycle at age 90, much to the dismay of his daughters, but completely consistent with his approach to life. As one niece said, "Uncle Will taught us adventure." Survivors include his beloved wife of 63 years, Patricia (nee Daggett), his daughters Suzanne (Hart Weichselbaum) and Cassandra (the late James J. Moran), six grandchildren Claire, Paul, Alexandra, Christina, Anastasia, and Andrew, his brother Glenn Martin (Bobbe), and many nieces, nephews, in-laws, and cousins. A memorial service will be held in Chicago at a future date. The EAA has established a scholarship fund in Will's name that will provide young people the chance to learn to fly.  For those who wish to donate, visit www.eaa.org/donate and select "Other Named Scholarship" then enter "Will Martin Flight Training Scholarship."

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Chicago Tribune on Jan. 17, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Add a Message
7 Entries
W.W. Martin lived life as only a few are fortunate enough to do. His grit, drive, even rash adventuresome spirit surely marked him apart from ordinary. Godspeed to you Will in pilot Heaven where you may also encounter Gershwin I am sure. My sincere sympathy to wife Pat and family. Dear lady, you certainly chose well your piano-playing partner that evening at the Chicago Yacht Club.
Jaime G Vargas
February 26, 2021
My greatest memories of Will is when he was playing piano for my mother. The joy on her face was indescribable. My mother, Maggie Hollowell was Pat´s Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority sister at Northwestern. Having lost my mother in 2014, Will has joined her and once again playing the piano. God bless you Will. Sending all my love to you Pat and the family. Mary Anne
Mary Anne Barlow
February 10, 2021
We are sorry for your loss, Pat and family. We feel blessed to have known Will for a few short years. His life was inspirational, and through his book he will inspire many others to follow their dreams. Love, Jackie and Eric Uthus
Jackie and Eric Uthus
January 18, 2021
We so enjoyed hearing Will´s life accomplishments when he & his beautiful daughter spoke in our community. He was a blessing to hv touched so many. Kathy & Bob
Kathy & Bob Turcotte
January 17, 2021
Patty, you have my deepest sympathy. Will was an exceptional man and will be sorely missed. My condolences to you and your family. Bobbie
Bobbie Spradley
January 17, 2021
Will leaves a legacy of living life to the fullest and one of purpose and adventure. His spirit lives on in his beautiful family and everyone he touched during his long and wonderful life. Deepest sympathies and may he rest in peace.
Meredith Neizer
January 17, 2021
Our most sincere condolences to Pat and the Martin family. As the poem High Flight describes.. " I have slipped the surly bonds of earth.......reached out and touched the face of God". Godspeed Will!
Bob and Caryn Molinets
January 17, 2021