[April 03, 2014]Today we honor in memory Bill
Martin, a true and dedicated servant to the Atlanta and Logan County
community. Martin was a former alderman and mayor of Atlanta, a
Logan County Regional Planning Commission and Logan County Board
member for many years. He served on many related committees and
subcommittees in recent years, laying critical foundation for
economic development and quality-of-life improvements that would
serve our communities for decades.
Bill left his mark in humble service, kind words and model behavior.
If you met him, you knew he was a person you could trust to speak
truthfully and in the interest of the community that he loved.
Those who worked with him knew he could be relied on to follow
through in the best manner possible, no matter the apparent
obstacles. Often his tasks were huge, and few would know the time
and effort he would put forth to see them to fruition. There were
multiyear projects that would not bring him glory, but necessary for
our community's betterment and growth.
In most recent years, Martin aided in the development of a
revised Comprehensive Plan and a new Comprehensive Economic
Development Strategy, two large undertakings needed to bring federal
grants to Logan County and its communities. Another large impact he
made was as the chairman of the board of Christian Child Care in
Lincoln, assisting that agency in a financial turnaround from when
it was about to close its doors to how it is now on solid ground.
Always offering an encouraging spirit and a can-do attitude with
just the right and timely words, Bill was the needed strength and
endurance to move big projects forward. Logan County has much to be
thankful for that was accomplished by the hands of this man.
Bill was actively attending matters of importance up until his
untimely death at his home in Atlanta on March 26, 2014.
LDN news director Nila Smith recalled her first meeting with
I began working for
LDN in November of 2008. In February I was assigned to interview
Bill as an LDN personality of the week. Still being new to the job,
and still getting acquainted with the community, I was nervous about
sitting down with someone who was at that time a stranger to me.
Bill however, made it easy. He was open, honest, and forthcoming as
we sat at the Country Aire in Atlanta and ended up talking for
nearly two hours.
Bill was a kind
hearted person with a great love for his family, his community of
Atlanta, and the county on the whole. He took his various roles in
the community very seriously and spoke candidly about the good
points and the bad points.
When I left that
meeting, I felt like I had known Bill Martin for years, and that he
was not just an acquaintance, but also a friend.
In the years that
have passed, that feeling of friendship has continued. He and I were
never in the same place but what he was right there with a hug and a
few moments of catch-up conversation.
When I heard that
Bill was gone it truly broke my heart, as once again God claimed a
real keeper, Logan County lost one of its finest ambassadors, and I
lost a good friend.
The words below from a few of his colleagues are insightful and
offer a glimpse of how well this giant of a man quietly served
Atlanta and Logan County.
Carol Gustafson, Logan County Regional Planning Commission:
I had the privilege
of working with Bill on the Logan County Regional Planning
Commission for many years. Bill was always looking out for Logan
County. He took time to listen to everyone and he sought input from
all sides. Bill made sure he was prepared for meetings. He spent a
lot of time researching, understanding, and organizing data so that
when he presented it we were able to make the best decision for
Bill was very proud
of his hometown and his family. He told many stories and I always
enjoyed hearing them. I remember when Atlanta celebrated their
sesquicentennial. Bill grew a big beard for the celebration. I
didn't recognize him when he shaved it off!
Bill will be missed
Derrick Crane, Logan County Regional Planning Commission:
I write this
tribute today with a heavy heart. This was a man that loved serving
the people of Logan County. I witnessed first hand his passion for
making Logan County a great place to call home by how involved he
was on the Logan County Board, Logan County Regional Planning
Commission and Lincoln/Logan County Economic Developmental
Partnership and countless other organizations. I saw a honest and
caring man in action over the years and the County should be very
proud to have a man of his character and passion to have represented
them. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this...you'll be missed. Good
bye my friend.
Andy Anderson, Logan County Board:
In my conversations
with Bill what stood out the most was his straight forwardness and
honesty in answering any questions I had. I remember when the Board
voted to give ourselves a pay raise and I wrote an article in the
Courier criticizing our decision. Next time Bill saw me he pulled me
aside and said that while he agreed with what I said, what I should
not have done is beat my own chest. And to this day I remember that
advice from someone who was a public servant far longer than myself.
It was incredibly refreshing to engage in conversation with Bill
knowing he had a lot of knowledge and was willing to share with me
whatever I asked of him. Men like Bill are few and far between and I
know he will be sorely missed.
I served on several
committees with Bill and really admired the knowledge he brought to
the board. He was very dedicated in his work. He would always show
up early to meetings and take the time to ask about everyone and how
they were doing. He will be greatly missed.
Sally Litterly-Turner, Logan County clerk and recorder:
Bill was a man of
strong character. He was instrumental in the beginning stages of our
Geographic Information Systems Committee of which is now in full
swing and an intrigal of our mapping process in the county. At its
inception, we had many hurdles and Bill was at every meeting with
wise, thoughtful and innovative solutions to difficult problems. His
quiet demeanor and methodical way will be missed by those of us that
worked with him in county government. He was a kind, caring, gentle
man. We wish the family peace as they grieve for their husband and
Bill Thomas, interim executive director, Lincoln and Logan County
I think it was Sir
Isaac Newton who, after being commended for one or another of his
mathematical accomplishments, said something like "If I have seen
farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of
giants." I've been overly fortunate in my life when it comes to the
joy of helping accomplish things and being commended for doing so.
But for me - and I'm sure many others - we would not have seen as
far nor accomplished as much if not for Bill Martin. Whether he knew
it or not, Bill was a mentor. I can't think of the number of times I
called him up during the day to ask for his advice, his counsel, or
his wisdom. More often than not, the advice he shared centered on
how to work with others to get things done - something at which he
was a master. I hope I paid enough attention during those phone
calls to remember all his good guidance, because it's going to be a
struggle to not automatically reach for the phone to call Bill
whenever I need to once again stand on his shoulders.
Keith Snyder, Logan County Regional Planning Commission, Lincoln
It's hard to
summarize a person as fine as Bill. Let me just share some things
I'm going to miss about Bill Martin, the public servant.
I'm going to miss
Bill's sense of humor. When you're in public service you have to
have a good sense of humor to survive. Bill did. He made you feel
welcome with his smile, and he had an easy smile; not one you had to
force out of him. When Bill laughed, all of Bill laughed. His eyes
would twinkle and sometimes he'd laugh so hard he couldn't get his
next words out. Bill enjoyed public service, and he always kept
things in the right perspective.
I'm also going to
miss Bill's kind and gentle seriousness about public service. He
knew things needed to be done and he set about doing them. Not in a
showy, flashy way, but in Bill's way -- quietly and effectively. I
never once heard him denigrate anyone else or say a bad word about
something that anyone else was trying to accomplish. He didn't
always agree with the things that some people were trying to do, but
he never attacked them. He'd just listen, diffuse (or sometimes
ignore...) their arguments, and move on with what he knew needed to
be done. There was a best selling business book a few years ago
entitled, "Quiet Leadership." That's the type of leadership Bill
exercised and that's what Bill used to improve things for all of us.
The thing I'm going
to miss the most about Bill was his bent towards the future. It's
easy to get caught up in the day-to-day "mess" of local public
service. I think Bill tolerated the day-to-day stuff so he could
work on the long-term projects he knew that his community and this
county needed most. Logan County is part of a regional economic
development effort (CEDS) because of Bill Martin. He knew our county
couldn't do everything alone and had to be a part of a larger,
regional focus. It took several years, and that delay caused many to
doubt its benefit, but Bill never wavered. If he knew it was right
for our future, Bill was always there. No matter what the project,
he gave his all and worked hard to make the vision he had of our
future a reality.
Atlanta and all of
Logan County was blessed to have Bill Martin working for us. We'll
miss him tremendously. We need more people in public service like
Bill Martin was an alderman of Atlanta for two years, mayor of
Atlanta for 11 1/2 years and a Logan County Board member since 2008.
His many committee memberships included the Logan County Regional
Planning Commission, serving as chairman and vice chairman; Lincoln
& Logan County Development Partnership liaison; Regional Development
Council representative; Logan County Paramedics board; Atlanta
Historic Commission; and Atlanta Fall Festival Committee. He had
also served as the board chairman for Christian Child Care in
As a county board member, Martin served on numerous committees of
airport and farm, road and bridge, planning and zoning; law
enforcement, EMA, coroner, ambulance, executive/economic
development, animal control, insurance and legislative, and liquor.
He also held strong interest in and helped promote the countywide
bicycle trails plan development.
Bill was also an active member and church councilman of
LifePointe Church of God in Lincoln and a member of American Legion
Post 341 in Atlanta.