Leonard Martin remembered as extraordinary businessman, family leader

l p Martin

Humble, kind, God-fearing, trusting, forgiving, a problem-solver and mediator, were some of the words used to describe St Mary businessman, Leonard Percival Martin, also known as Doc, LP and Su-Martz.

Mr Martin, who is the founder of L.P. Martin Funeral Home in Bailey’s Vale, St Mary, was given a final send off in a tribute filled thanksgiving service held at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Port Maria in St Mary on Saturday, June 3.

Mr Martin was born on July 24, 1918 and died on May 1, 2017, just two months shy of his 99th birthday.

As stated in the eulogy read by his by granddaughters, Ruth DeLeon, Sarah-Lou Johnson, Sarah Elizabeth Newcombe and Jewel Martin, “over the years”, Mr Martin “earned the status as a citizen of the town (of Port Maria) and the parish who became widely known as one who had not only pulled himself up by his own boot straps and became a successful businessman, but also one who was honest and reliable, and was widely regarded as trustworthy.”

And these similar descriptions and more filtered throughout the thanksgiving service that was officiated by ministers: pastor Oral Campbell; pastor Ralph Thomas; pastor Jonathan Hemmings and Rev’d Dr Raymond Grant.

The thanksgiving service began with the opening sentences by pastor Oral Campbell and the opening hymn ‘He Touched Me’ was later sung, following prayer by Pastor Campbell.

The first lesson was read by Pauline McFarlane, following a selection given by Rupert Hemmings and the second lesson was read by Maureen Hemmings.

An item was later followed by the staff of L.P. Martin Funeral Home that was done in both tribute and song.

Several tributes from family members and friends later encompassed the thanksgiving service as several persons hailed the life that Leonard Percival Martin had lived as he was not only devoted to his business life, but also he was a devoted and unapologetic Christian with a kind heart.

In her tribute, Mr Martin’s daughter, Dr Yvonne Newcombe, who described herself as ‘the eldest of the clan’ said: “My father was always there for me… He protected me and he inspired to love God.”

Her tribute was followed by similar tributes by Mr Martin’s daughter and son, Dr Patricia DeLeon and Lenville Martin.

Mr Martin’s grandson, Richard Hemmings said that his grandfather built his life around three pillars, “God”, “his family” and “business life.”

“It was Grandpa who helped me to surrender my life to God,” Mr Hemmings declared.

He also added that his grandfather’s business acumen was beyond his time and he was a pioneer.

Another grandson, Sylvester Hemmings, throughout his tribute lauded his grandfather as a trusting, forgiving, simple, humble and loyal to his family and friends.

In his tribute, former custos of St Mary, A. A. Bobby Pottinger said Mr Martin “was a great blessing to us.” He added that he also impacted the lives of many persons.

The eulogy was read by Mr Martin’s granddaughters  Ruth DeLeon, Sarah-Lou Johnson, Sarah Elizabeth Newcombe and Jewel Martin.

“There is no doubt that our grandfather’s journey on this earth was a full and rich one. The evidence of his incredible journey is the strong legacy that he has left behind. His sense of humour was well known and, we believe is a huge reason for his longevity,” read a section of the eulogy delivered by the granddaughters.

Leonard Percival Martin was born on July 24, 1918 to Sarah and William Martin in Sandside, St Mary. At the age of 12, he aborted his short educational career, because he had to begin to provide for his mother and siblings when, in 1933 his father passed away.

“He (Mr Martin) immediately decided to acquire a trade and he went to a workshop in Llanrumney where he began training as a carpenter- a trade his mother had selected for him,” the eulogy stated.

That was the start of a long successful career in business.

Mr Martin was also an ardent member of the Kiwanis club and made further contributions to his community through this organization.

In 1983, Mr Martin’s first wife, Louise passed away and he later married Patricia Forth who also predeceased him and after her passing, he married Flora Bariaud.

In 2010, Mr Martin’s final business exploit before retiring from active duty in his businesses in 2010 at the age of 92, was his entry into real estate development.

In 1998, for his extraordinary accomplishments in service to the people and parish of St Mary as well as the economy, Mr Martin was recognized with the Governor General’s Achievement Award.

In 2009 He was recognized by the North Coast Times as a Gentlemen Empowering and Motivating in Society (GEMS).

The sermon was delivered by pastor Ralph Thomas.

The body of Leonard Percival Martin was interred at the Martin’s Family Plot, Brimmer Hall, Bailey’s Vale in the parish.