Billie Joe Martin
Billie Joe Martin was born April 9, 1928 in Gainesville, Arkansas, and he went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on February 1, 2018. Bill received Jesus into his heart when he was 7 years old and remained a believer and follower of Christ all of his earthly days. He has now been reunited with his parents, Charles Leonard Martin and Marie Martin, and other family members who loved Jesus.
In addition to Bill’s parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, Winston Martin, Erwin Martin, Gerald Martin, and his sister, Evelyn Smithson, and his great-granddaughter, Faith Ana Blackmon. He is survived by his brother, John Martin, and his sister, Shirley Bennett, as well as family members mentioned below.
Bill married his childhood sweetheart, Patty Louise Adams, on Easter Sunday, March 28, 1948, at the Cache Lake Methodist Church in Cache Lake, Arkansas. They were married for almost 70 years, demonstrating their love for each other and God’s grace.
Bill and Patty raised their 2 sons, Stan Martin and Joel Martin, in Opelika and are so very proud of them. Bill loved Stan and Joel and their wives, Sophia and Jan, and they all loved Bill dearly. Bill was also so very proud of his grandchildren, Allen Martin, Melanie Blackmon, and Caroline Bradley, and he treasured his time with them. Allen, Melanie, and Caroline also loved their Grandpa very much. Allen’s wife, Tiffany, and their children, Allen, Langston, Ellie, and Mary Chapman; Melanie’s husband, Will Blackmon, and their children, Web, Palmer, Hank, Barrett, Evie, Haddon, Georgi, and Camp; and Caroline’s husband, Collin, were so very special to Bill as well. The entire family will miss Bill greatly. He was a kind, sweet, patient, loving, caring, and generous husband, Dad, father-in-law, and Grandpa.
Bill graduated early from Clover Bend High School in Clover Bend, Arkansas and attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas for a year before joining the U.S. Navy in 1946. He was honorably discharged in 1948 and returned home to marry Patty. They then embarked on a lifetime journey together.
Bill and Patty’s married life started with Bill’s dream of playing professional baseball. Bill tried out as a pitcher for the Little Rock Travelers in 1948 and was assigned to the Amarillo, Texas club. After short stints with teams in Ballinger, Texas and Greenville, Mississippi, Bill accepted an offer to pitch for the Opelika Owls in 1949. Opelika became home for Bill and Patty.
Bill obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University). He taught school at Lafayette High School and Dixie High School and then went to work for International Paper Company. He was employed by Rust Engineering during the construction of the Uniroyal plant in Opelika. Bill then worked 26 years in management at Uniroyal retiring in 1990. He was respected at Uniroyal, as fellow workers recalled him as a fair, patient, even-keeled, honest man. Bill was a hard worker his entire life who provided well for his family.
Bill and Patty have been members of Trinity United Methodist Church, faithfully attending, serving, and supporting Trinity for approximately 68 years. They have had many dear friends at Trinity over the years and loved participating in XYZ and other fellowships at the church. Bill will be missed at Trinity. We are thankful as a family for the pastors and other members of the Trinity body for their love and prayers during the recent difficult days.
Bill never sought the attention or acclaim of others. He lived a quiet, humble life always looking to help his family and others. Bill genuinely cared about what was happening in the lives of Patty, Stan, Sophia, Joel, Jan, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Bill’s enjoyment of sports, particularly baseball, lasted his entire life. He watched many baseball games in the major leagues, the College World Series, and the Little League World Series. He coached or assisted youth teams, including Stan, Joel, Allen, Melanie, and Caroline’s teams. He was a great coach and teacher to many children over the years.
Bill and Patty bought their property which was named Cache Lake Farm in 1988. Bill spent countless hours clearing the land around the big lake, planting trees, cutting the pastures, and doing other tasks. He particularly enjoyed bush hogging on his tractor during the growing season until it was “laid by” in the fall. Bill did all of this work until he was 89 years old.
Cache Lake Farm has been the location for XYZ and other church events, New Year’s Eve parties for all ages, including games and fireworks, and many family outings. Bill enjoyed fishing with family and friends, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren now spend much time fishing the 2 lakes.
Bill and Patty had fun doing things together, whether it was sitting on the porch, going to the beach, traveling, visiting interesting places, celebrating birthdays with friends, watching children or grandchildren’s activities, or playing games. Both Bill and Patty played bridge very well and made numerous friends over the years enjoying friendly competition.
The family is grateful for all the kind and caring assistance provided them in recent days by various healthcare professionals. They are most appreciative of Bill’s primary care physician, Dr. Mike Gunter, for all of his time, compassion, and concern.
The celebration service was on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary at Trinity United Methodist Church, Opelika. A graveside service was held at 5 p.m. at Garden Hills Cemetery in Opelika, Alabama. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests consideration of a gift to Trinity United Methodist Church. Jeffcoat-Trant directed.