It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our founder, Jerry Martin. Jerry died peacefully at home on Friday, June 15, 2007. He had been ill for some time, but continued to find energy in the activities of his beloved marine industry.
Jerry started in the boating business in 1955, as Johnson Motors' first sales promotion manager. He recognized a need for a liaison between manufacturers and boating magazine editors, and founded Jerry Martin Company in 1962, today celebrating 45 years in business. He also experimented with marine retailing by building Johnson's hometown dealership, The Boat Show and Camping Center, in Gurnee, Illinois in 1964.
This led to a life-long passion for carving out a well-deserved place in the industry for retailers. He was among the founders of the Marine Retailers Association of America, and served proudly as Director of Development for many years.
When the Outdoor Writers Association of America was re-energized in the mid-1960s, he served as a financial liaison to put the organization on firm footing. He was recognized for his dedication to the industry many times over the years. Of special importance to him was the Irv Rosenthal Award from MRAA. He also received the Mel Barr Award from the National Marine Representatives Association. As one of the earliest charter members of Boating Writers International, he was awarded a Lifetime Membership in 1997, one of only 6 individuals to earn this distinction.
He also found great reward in traveling the world as a quasi-ambassador for boating. Jerry was instrumental in the first boat show to take place in Malaysia, as well as exhibiting at the first Shanghai show. He was a true fixture on the international marine scene.
Jerry and his daughter Laura had just announced the merger of their PR businesses the previous day, an event that brought great joy to both. He relished some of the early congratulations.
Jerry was 79 years old. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara, his 7 children, 12 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Services are pending.