Obituary of Joe R. Martin Jr.
Joe R. Martin Jr. was born in Dallas, Texas, on September 25, 1930, and passed away peacefully at his home in Westover Hills, on December 10th, 2023 surrounded by loving family at the age of 93. He was the first child of Julia and Joe R. Martin Sr. and was the oldest of four, somewhat rambunctious, boys.
An avid storyteller, Joe often told the tale of being asked to move his desk next to his teacher’s in grade school, and when he asked why, she replied, “Because I can tell you’re going to need a lot of help.” He had a quick-witted story for every occasion and a people personality from a young age. Joe continued his education at Auburn University in Alabama and Erskine College in South Carolina where he excelled as an elite baseball and football player. Upon hearing that he may be drafted, Joe honorably decided to fight for his country and voluntarily joined the Navy. Joe served his country during the Korean War on a destroyer and was proud to stand and salute for years to come upon hearing “Anchors Aweigh.”
At the young age of 31, Joe took over the family business based in Arlington, TX. He was the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Martin Sprocket and Gear, Inc. Joe’s leadership, vision, and fervent work ethic grew the company into a global powerhouse in the power transmission and material handling business. He is considered a maverick and a legend within the company and throughout the industry. “Joe’s Code” outlines the guiding principles all managers should follow including how to “get big and stay small” and the importance of always being able to “add something to the ballgame.” He was a mentor to many and had endless wisdom to share, but also modeled the power of learning through listening. Joe became a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization in his 30s and received an honorary doctorate in 1987 from Erskine College. In the ballgame of manufacturing Joe not only added something, but he won the Superbowl, many times over.
Another ballgame Joe loved dearly, possibly more, was football. Joe loved his Dallas Cowboys and could be found many Sunday afternoons at the game with family and friends cheering on his team. He also was an avid golfer and was passionate about playing and watching the game. Joe was associated with some of the finest golf clubs around the globe including: his home course at Shady Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth, Castle Pines Golf Club in Colorado, Eldorado Country Club in Indian Wells, River Crest Country Club, Atlanta Athletic Club, and Tres Vidas Country Club in Acapulco.
Much of his time enjoying sports was spent with his beloved friends and family who all treasured him dearly. He often greeted loved ones with, “how ya doin' kid,” always with a twinkle in his eye beneath the brim of a perfectly placed fedora. It is important to mention he was a man of great style, from his choice of a watch to his car, he was always wearing and driving something stylish and “sporty.”
And above all Joe was an amazing father, adored grandfather (aka Daddy Joe), and a loving husband. He was steadfast in his love, consistently generous, and a source of sound advice for his family and dear friends.
Joe’s generosity was also felt in the community that he was proud to call home. He made charitable contributions to a number of organizations throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth area including: The Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bass Hall, Texas Ballet Theater, Van Cliburn Foundation, and TCU. He also sat on the board of UTA and was a member of The Exchange Club of Ft. Worth. Joe knew what it meant to “get big and stay small” always remembering the community that helped him find great success.
Joe will be remembered as an icon of industry and a beloved cornerstone of his family and his community. He played the game like no other and his legacy is that of working hard, taking care of each other, and always believing great things are possible if we keep it simple.
Joe is preceded in death by his parents, Julia and Joe R Martin Sr., and his son, Russell Ramsey Martin.
Joe is survived by his loving wife Priscilla of 41 years, his brothers: Gary Martin, Edward “Butch” Martin, and Gene Martin, his children: Charles Thomas Martin of Dallas, Reid Martin and wife Linda of Ft Worth, Holly Martin Reynolds and husband Chuck of Arlington, his four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, six nieces and nephews, and ten great nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his dear friends and honorary pallbearers: Bill Bowerman, Denny Alexander, Ronnie Clinkscale, Dr. Jim Herd, Bruce Ashworth, Arthur Johnson, and Mike Farhat.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to allthe caretakers and staff for their constant support: Shelly Templeton, Lucky Duffey, Veronica Fields, Yuri Baraza, Bridget Hooker, Nicole Robertson, Cindy Littlehale, Joe’s full-time team Arthur Johnson, Suzana Gutierrez, Mica Flores and Ella Taylor and last, but certainty not least his longtime Executive Secretary CJ Colton.
The family will gather for a private burial on Tuesday, December 19th, 2023. Afterward, they will welcome friends to celebrate Joe’s life and attend a memorial service at University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Drive at 4:00 PM.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a gift to the Russell R. Martin Adoption Barn at Saving Hope (savinghoperescue.org) or the Cornerstone Campaign at the University Christian Church, 2720 South University Drive 76109.
Thompson's Harveson & Cole Funeral Home & Crematory
4350 River Oaks Boulevard
Fort Worth, TX 76114
Ph: (817) 336-0345
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