A memorial service for veteran newspaperman Bill E. Martin, 80, will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Christ Episcopal Church in Tyler under direction of Stewart Family Funeral Home of Tyler. Martin, former publisher of the Longview News-Journal and the Lufkin Daily News, died on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, in Tyler of congestive heart failure.
Billy Earl Martin was born in Bryan in 1932, the son of Madama and Frank Martin. His childhood was spent in Montague and Decatur. He graduated from Decatur High School in 1950. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism education from the University of North Texas in 1953 before serving two years in the U.S. Army
His newspaper career took him to four cities in Texas, two in Georgia and one in Ohio. Martin, described by associates as the quintessential newspaperman, often said he was happiest when he heard the press rumble and could feel the building floor begin to vibrate.
Martin signed on the San Angelo Standard-Times as a reporter
in 1955 and steadily worked his way up the journalism ladder with stops as city editor, managing editor, editor and finally as assistant to the publisher.
"In my 62 years as a professional journalist I have never known anyone more dedicated to this profession and committed to making it an honorable cause to make society better," Tucker Sutherland said of Martin. "Bill came to work every day with a passion to do a good job and expected the same from all who worked with him. But I will remember him best as a rock-solid friend and co-worker that I could trust and depend on always."
Sutherland is the retired publisher of the Standard-Times.
While at the Standard-Times, Martin also was an adjunct faculty member at Angelo State University for 10 years. He taught journalism courses.
While editor of the Standard-Times, Martin hired David Easterly as a beginning reporter. More than 30 years later, Easterly, then president of Cox Enterprises, hired Martin as publisher of the Lufkin Daily News.
"Bill had a good heart as well as pithy sense of humor. He was a great guy and I was so happy in later years when I talked him into joining Cox," Easterly said. "He was a perfect for our culture. He was bright, quick, funny and had no tolerance for corporate bull . . . ."
Martin was highly respected in the news business and in 1976 his peers elected him president of Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association.
In 1977, he married Reta Sue Boster. The newlyweds immediately moved to Georgia where he was publisher of the Walton Tribune in Monroe, Ga. In 1980, Harte-Hanks Newspapers named him president of its Georgia Newspaper Group in Carrollton, Ga.
Martin returned to Texas in 1985 when he was named publisher of the Greenville Herald-Banner. From there, he was off to Mansfield, Ohio, in 1988 as publisher of the Journal-News. He came home to Texas again in 1989 as publisher of the Lufkin Daily News.
"Bill Martin was the ultimate community newspaper publisher," said Caroline John, former vice president of community newspapers for Cox. "He cared deeply about excellent journalism, his readers and the bottom line. He was exceptionally smart, witty, and had little use for fools. But even those who fell into that category were treated with kindness."
Martin moved to Longview in 1993 when he was named publisher of the Longview News-Journal. He served on the board of the Longview Partnership, Longview Economic Development Corp., Greater Longview United Way, Action Longview, the President's Advisory Council of LeTourneau University and the citizen's advisory committee of Texas Eastman.
He was a member of the Longview City Council task force that recommended that The University of Texas
establish a campus in Longview.
Martin retired in 1997, moving to Tyler several years later.
He is survived by his wife, Reta; a son, Patrick Martin and Susan Garrett, of Dallas; a daughter, Shanna Russell and husband Rodger, of Lubbock; a sister, Janice Cates and husband Burton, of Fort Worth; a granddaughter, Shea Perry, of San Angelo; great-grandchildren, Hayden and Haylie Perry, of San Angelo; two brothers-in-law, Royce Ballinger, of Marana, Ariz.. and Mart Ballinger and wife Judith, of Durango, Colo.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to