James Martin
James Martin
James Martin
James Martin
James Martin
James Martin

Obituary of James Reginald Martin

James Reginald Martin

January 15, 1938 - April 15, 2024


James Reginald “Jim” Martin was born January 15, 1938, at home in Bluff City, Arkansas. He was the firstborn child of Hardwick and Lois (Weaver) Martin. Three siblings would follow: Mary Lou, Glenda, and John.


Jim graduated from Prescott High School, lettering in football all four years as an offensive lineman for the Curly Wolves. He held his first job at 15 with the Arkansas State Forestry Department. From that time, he was never without a job for more than a few months until he retired in 2002.


He earned a BS in Business at Arkansas State University and an MBA from Henderson State University. He met Marilyn Mobley at South Texarkana Methodist Church and they married in 1958, the year he joined the U.S. Army.


Son, Michael, was born in 1960 and daughter, Jill, in 1965. The family travelled for the next 20 years as Jim’s Army career took them all over the world. Jim attained the rank of Staff Sergeant before completing Officer’s Candidate School, retiring at the rank of Major. His primary specializations were nuclear weapons, maintenance, and materials. Duty stations included Germany, Vietnam, Okinawa, and ten U.S states.


The many years of military service and travel provided no shortage of new and exciting experiences for Jim’s family.  Daughter Jill, a sailing enthusiast, remembers her introduction to the ocean while living on Okinawa.  “Dad scooped me up and walked straight into the waves.  I was hooked.”  Son Michael’s love of history developed early with a visit to the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.


Jim received many military awards, including the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.  His most treasured award, however, is an American flag presented to him by Leading Chief Petty Officer, James Ryan Martin, Jim’s grandson and namesake, in 2019 aboard the Navy destroyer USS Spruance during Seattle’s Seafair celebration. The accompanying citation reads: “This flag was flown aboard USS Spruance while underway from San Diego, CA to Everett, WA. It is presented to James Martin, Major, U.S. Army (RET.) in recognition of your honorable and faithful service to our Country.”   


Building on his military experience and business education, Jim held managerial positions in maintenance, materials and purchasing at companies in Washington, Arkansas, and New Jersey. In 2004, Jim and Marilyn moved to Panorama, a retirement community in Lacey, Washington. They continued to travel, making three trips to Europe, and numerous destinations in the U.S.  Among their favorites were Savannah, New Orleans, and the Finger Lakes region in New York state, their first home as newlyweds.


In retirement, Jim found more time for one of his favorite hobbies: cooking. Among the highlights of his eclectic repertoire were lasagna, French onion soup, beef fondue, escargot, and the best BBQ ribs in the world. He loved to eat.  Even more, he loved it when others enjoyed his creations. Son Michael called cooking “Dad’s Love Language.”


Jim was a maverick for his time in advocating for women.  It was not uncommon, even as the breadwinner, to find Jim retrieving kids from school, tending to cuts and scrapes, cooking dinner, or any other myriad of child rearing tasks, while wife Marilyn spent long hours in pursuit of her own academic and career goals.  These demonstrative acts did not go unnoticed and greatly impacted his daughter Jill.  “Such unwavering dedication to the advancement of the women in our family always stuck with me, particularly as I navigated my own career.”


Grandson, Casey, fondly remembers Jim’s stories about the “olden” times when he listened to the Green Hornet, and the Lone Ranger on the radio, a medium far superior to television, according to Grandpa. Both Casey and Ryan remember the unique stern, disapproving look Jim could deliver when needed.  Laughing when Jim dropped his Cinnabon (icing side down of course) on his shirt while driving, earned them that look.


Jim is survived by his wife, Marilyn Martin; son, Michael Martin; daughter and son-in-law, Jill and Darrick Michaels-Oliver; grandchildren, Casey Hinis and Ryan and wife Ashley Martin; great-grandchildren, Hal’e and Makaelyn Martin; and sister, Glenda Huffman.  Jim was preceded in death by brother, John Martin; and sister, Mary Lou Butler.


Private services will be held at Tahoma National Cemetery.


The family asks that any remembrances be made in the form of a donation to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.  Donations can be made online or by mail.


  • In Memory of:  James R. Martin, Major, U.S. Army (RET).
  • Notification:  marmartin1@comcast.net



Give to VVMF - Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund



By Mail:

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

3303 Wilson Blvd, Suite 300

Arlington, VA 22201


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