Amherst Magazine

Arthur L. Martin '52

Arthur L. Martin '52 died March 21, 2009.

Arthur L. Martin, 78, died after a short illness, on March 21, in Los Angeles. 


Art grew up on the south shore of Long Island and attended Baldwin High School.
During college and law school, he was a Jones Beach lifeguard and had walk on night employment with Mike Todd’s shows at Zach’s Bay.

For the charity drive at Amherst, he perpetuated the aquacade in Pratt Pool that brother Bob had done several times before.

At Chi Phi, Art handled liquor accounts for the house and, after graduation, had to make good on an unwelcome bill that arrived in the mail.

Art roomed with Levy-Despas Scholar Mike Cabour, one of France’s best swimmers, who bolstered Lord Jeff’s team.

In 1955, Art received a law degree from Univ. of California’s Boalt Hall and became a deputy attorney general.

He served as counsel to the medical board and to the horse racing board.

After five years of state service, Art formed what would become a longtime partnership with Joe Aidlin and law school classmate, Jim Maraskos.

Art had many cases, but one was most satisfying.  It involved a bruising battle with unsavory characters who opposed Art’s creating an independent Jockey Association which secured reliable benefits for all riders.

Art owned oil and mineral properties in California and Oklahoma which gave him a good excuse to pursue his interest in the Indians of the southwest. This continued when Art operated a fleet of houseboats at Hite Marina on Lake Powell, Utah.

Art’s wife of 50 years, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bonnie Lee Martin, predeceased him as did son Kevin, who died shortly after graduating from college. Art is survived by daughter Erica ’81, grandchildren Duncan and Brigid and brother Bob ’49.

Memorial contributions in Arthur’s name can be made to the Amherst College Library Fund.

—Bob Martin ’49

Dear Artie:

It seems strange for me to have to write to you rather than just talk…either in person or by phone.

For through these many years, the thought or sentence that ended with the last phone conversation between us would be picked up as though it was fifteen minutes, instead of months or years.

While there may have been several years separating the words or partial verbal concepts in play, nothing was ever lost between us…like the time I called you on an Easter Sunday morning reminding you of the private service that we enacted with a couple of classmates, and/or, fraternity brothers. This was, as always with us, simply a continuance of the conversation instigated on that early Easter Sunday morning years ago with the sun rising over the Holyoke Hills, between us and South Hadley. It was a place where, little did I know, or realize, during our four years at Amherst that I would have two daughters who would each attend Mount Holyoke, or your Erica, who, like your brother Bob, would look in this same direction as you and I were on that fateful morning. 

It is difficult for us to realize how we expanded the various words of our language to communicate with each other during the four years of our school days’ closeness, or the 3000 miles difference for the rest of our lives.

Your assistance in the foreign words or concepts you translated or explained to me during our literary trips through Dublin, and its environs, with Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” or his “Ivy Day in the Committee Room,” were invaluable. Your Celtic expertise with “Gaelic and Erse” later on in life was fascinating, as was “Mike” Cabour’s suggestions for French conversations, i.e. “Ca va?”, “”Oui, Ca va.”

Not to be forgotten were the more erudite discussions with Frank Randall, with whom we also lived.

Another statement which was added to our verbal knowledge took place on the Amherst Common late on a Saturday evening when John Stanton and Dan Pearson were hauling up one of their “skivvy” shorts on the Commons’ American Flag halyard, which was made of chain, and made enough noise to gain the attention of the local police, located just a few yards away, who then proceeded to chase them across the Common in front of us, while we yelled “who are your friends in blue.”

These were only a few of the amusing individuals in our lives together at Amherst, Jones Beach and Mike Todd’s Water Show.

While you had the physical background for several college sports, you wished not to participate except for the school’s water show that you helped run and do your comic water routines.

I shall always remember the “language and physical jokes” which we continuously worked on that made our joint lives one laugh after another; including those connected with the “Amherst Decency League.”

It was obvious to me how much pain you suffered by the passing of your son and your wife, but, think not that you suffered alone.

Wherever you are now, I envy your being able to carry on with Dan, John, and others too numerous to mention. Nevertheless, our “brief sortie” in the fall of 2008 to Amherst and New York to take in the weekend class reunion at the Lord Jeff Inn, the Algonquin Hotel and a drink at the Harvard Club was typical of our past adventures.

I must say, Art, I looked forward to the time that this letter would be written to me by you, instead of me to you.

My deepest and warmest love to you, et al.

Sincerely and Fraternally,
Don Baker ’52

 

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