William "Billy Joe" Martin

William "Billy Joe" Martin was a family man who cared for members of his community as much as they cared for him.

"Bill was loved by people of all ages," said the Rev. Bonnie Cassida, Mr. Martin's pastor at Bethel Baptist Church.

Mr. Martin died Monday, Nov. 2, 2009, at Fitzgibbons Hospital in Marshall. He was 79.

He was born June 20, 1930, in Boone County to Joe A. and Wilmoth C. Martin. Mr. Martin remained in Boone County throughout his life.

Mr. Martin took an active role in his community. He taught Sunday school at Bethel Baptist Church, where he also served as a deacon and on the board of trustees. Mr. Martin also volunteered for the Rock Bridge 4-H Club, where he shared his love of the outdoors. He taught youth to cure hams and assisted with woodworking projects.

Mr. Martin was known to help cook breakfast for churchgoers and barbecue chicken for Rock Bridge High School events. However, when it came to Sunday night dinner, he usually left the preparation to his wife of 59 years, Ruth.

Sunday dinners with his family were one of Mr. Martin's greatest joys in life. His daughter, Brenda Ryan of Marshall, will always remember her father as a family man.

It is difficult for her to recall a favorite memory of her father, because "there are so many." She fondly remembers him carrying her inside and putting her to sleep after she fell asleep in the car, sledding down the hill of her grandparent's farm and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate along with the rest of her family afterward.

Not only was Mr. Martin a good family man and an active member of his community, he was a good friend.

"We traveled together, we played cards together, we ate out a lot together and we laughed a lot together," friend and travel companion Pete Knauff said. "But we never cried together."

Mr. Martin is survived by his wife; his daughter; three sons, Michael J. Martin of Millersburg, Rocky Martin of Moberly and William K. Martin of Armstrong; a sister, Jean Crowson of Columbia; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

His sister Sue Fenton, died earlier.

Visitation will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday followed by services conducted by Cassida at 11 a.m. at Parker Funeral Service, 22 N. Tenth St. Burial will follow the service at Millersburg Cemetery. Contributions in Mr. Martin’s memory can be made to the Bethel Baptist Church, 201 E. Old Plank Rd., Columbia, MO 65203, or to the Missouri Kidney Foundation.

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