Jim Martin had an unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. He was “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Jim was an encourager and always reached out to others to see how they were doing. He was friendly natured, always had a smile on his face, and just by his eye contact with you, you knew he was there to listen.
With tens of thousands of people traveling the roads and railways of America looking for work and twenty five percent of the population on unemployment, 1933 was the worst year of the Great Depression. The film King Kong premiered, Shirley Temple signed a contract with Fox at the age of five, and the first drive-in theater opened. The World’s Fair opened in Chicago, the “spotting” of the Loch Ness Monster was reported worldwide, and the popular board game Monopoly was invented. That same year, on November 16, 1933, Jacob Calvin Martin and Dona Marie (Edgell) Martin welcomed their first child, a son, Jimmy Glenn Martin.
Born in Mannington, West Virginia, Jimmy grew up in the hills and hollers of Big Run, WV. The Martin family grew, and Jim became a devoted big brother to sisters Juanita, Mary, and Ellen, and brother Robert. His family moved to Ohio when Jim was a young teen. In 1952 Jim graduated from Fredericksburg High School in Wooster, Ohio where he participated in drama and played baseball. Just a couple of years ago he handed-down his baseball mitt to his oldest great-grandson. Jim went on to further his education at Findlay College, now the University of Findlay, in Findlay, Ohio. While a student in college, studying to be a History teacher, the Union Bethel Church of God called Jim asking him to preach on Sunday mornings and in return they would provide him a home cooked meal. Not one to turn down a free meal, Jim took this opportunity and the course of his life would forever be changed. Before long the Bloom Center Church of God also asked Jim to preach on Sunday. He would preach at both churches each Sunday and enjoyed many home cooked meals.
In the summer of 1956, Jim was invited to be the guest youth pastor at the Churches of God summer youth camp, Camp Inspiration, in Missouri. While there, he met the love of his life Ruby Carolyn Holdman of Leadwood, MO. He returned to college and pastoring in Ohio, but Jim and Carolyn corresponded regularly. In June 1957 Jim accepted the call to pastor the Esther Church of God in Esther, MO, just eleven miles from Leadwood. Correspondence turned to courting and on December 28, 1957 Jim and Carolyn were married, and they became partners in life and in ministry. Jim and Carolyn were blessed with three children, Susan, Mark, and Stephen.
Jim was ordained as a pastor in 1958 and went on to serve as a pastor to churches in Indiana (Silver Creek Church of God, Oak Grove Church of God) and Pennsylvania (Enola First Church of God, Chambersburg First Church of God). Jim also served as Director of Church Renewal for the Churches of God General Conference (Findlay, Ohio). Jim “retired” in 1999, and he and Carolyn returned to Columbia City, Indiana. For a few months he worked part-time at Teghtymeyer’s Ace Hardware. In 2000 he accepted the call as Associate Pastor of Columbia City First Church of God. Jim retired again in 2016 after more than 60 years in pastoral ministry. He continued to serve as an elder through December 2019.
Jim was passionate about helping people know Jesus and grow in their relationship with Christ.
His habit was to rise early in the morning to spend time with God, reading the Bible, praying, and journaling. He was an avid reader, enjoyed history, collected rocks and eagles. He enjoyed watching old western TV shows and movies. Jim cherished Carolyn and modeled Christ-like love in their 62 years of marriage. He loved his family passionately and was their biggest encourager, cheerleader, and prayer warrior. He would often call or text just to tell them he loved them and that he was praying for them. His big smile could easily turn to laughter, and he was known to pull a prank now and then. He loved Jesus, he loved people, and he loved life.
On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Jim was called to his eternal home. He no doubt heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:23). On April 4, 2020 his earthly body was laid to rest at Oak Grove Cemetery, Columbia City, IN.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Jacob and Dona Martin, sons, Mark D. Martin and Stephen G. Martin; sisters Ellen McIntire and Mary Daugherty, and brother Robert Martin.
He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Carolyn Martin; daughter Susan (Terry) Fenker; daughter-in-law, Kathleen Martin; sister, Juanita Thompson; grandchildren, Melissa (Matthew) Geiger, Ashlee (Andrew) Cook, Seth (MaryJean) Martin, Brianna (Emmanuell) Hernandez, Jessica Martin, Jacqueline (Michael) Barresi, Jessica (Zak Young) Lindner, and Katie Lindner; and great-grandchildren Maddie, Makena, Audrey, Aleena, Asher, Quincy, Ynez, Elissa, Lilianna, Amy, Brielle, Brody, and Bennett.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, August 15 at 10:00 am at Columbia City First Church of God. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and to help the church plan for safe and appropriate seating for all who attend, please RSVP at firstchurchconnect.
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