Friends remembered Don Martin as a man of faith, integrity and trust, a loyal and dedicated educator, coach and administrator who “leaves a tremendous legacy.”
Martin died Wednesday, and his services are set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Central United Methodist Church, where he was a longtime member and “served on every board the church had at one time or another,” said Kenneth West, who had known Martin since his high school days at Stamford.
“Don and my brother played on the 1955 Stamford High School state championship football team - the first state championship team Coach (Gordon) Wood ever coached,” West said.
In high school, Martin played basketball and football, and ran track, West said, “and he excelled at all three. That was the trademark for Don the rest of his life, whatever he did, he gave everything he had, so anything he chose to do, he did well.”
“Everything Don was involved in was good, and he was involved for the right reason, to help others,” said Royce Blackburn, who played football with Martin at Howard Payne, then coached with him and served with him in the Brownwood Independent School District administration. Both Blackburn and Martin were principals, and Martin, who earned his educational doctorate in 1988, went on to become BISD superintendent.
“He was more than a friend, he was like a brother to me,” Blackburn said.
Martin came to Brownwood in 1956 on a football scholarship “and he never left,” West said. “After he graduated, he and Betty got jobs with the BISD, and they were dedicated to the schools and to this community.”
Wood came to Brownwood to coach in 1960, and hired Martin to coach junior high football in 1961, then, when West joined the coaching staff in 1963, Martin moved up to high school. He became the high school basketball coach, but asked to be relieved of his coaching duties in 1974 so he could spend his weekends helping on his mother and father-in-law’s farm near Stamford because his father-in-law’s health was failing.
“After Mr. Boedeker died, Don had time on his hands again, and he came out and helped coach the Lions. He did it because he wanted to - he wasn’t paid a stipend or anything because there wasn’t a position open,” West said.
Steve Boothe, who became the basketball coach when Martin stepped down in 1974, said Martin “couldn’t have been a nicer guy. He helped me a lot. He helped a lot of people a lot. Don was versed in so many different things, and he was good at nearly all of them. The qualities that mean so much in a teacher, a coach, an administrator, Don had them all. He helped a lot of kids, and a lot of educators and coaches.”
Dr. Sue Jones, whose tenure as BISD superintendent began when Martin retired from the superintendent post, remembered him as “a great mentor and friend to all the administrators and staff of Brownwood ISD.
“He was a man of integrity and vision and his leadership inspired us,” Jones said. “We were privileged to be able to work with him and he will be greatly missed.”