Bill E. Martin, 80, former publisher of the Longview News-Journal and the Lufkin Daily News, died Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, in Tyler of congestive heart failure.
Martin was born in Bryan in 1932 to Madama and Frank Martin and spent his childhood in Montague and Decatur. He graduated from Decatur High School in 1950 and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism education from the University of North Texas in 1953 before serving two years in the U.S. Army.
His newspaper career took him to four cities in Texas, two in Georgia and one in Ohio. Martin, described by associates as the quintessential newspaperman, often said he was happiest when he heard the press rumble and could feel the building floor begin to vibrate.
Martin signed on at the San Angelo Standard-Times as a reporter in 1955 and served as city editor, managing editor, editor and finally as assistant to the publisher.
While at the Standard-Times, Martin also was an adjunct faculty member at Angelo State University for 10 years. He taught journalism courses.
Martin was highly respected in the news business, and in 1976, his peers elected him president of Texas Associated Press Managing Editor’s Association.
In 1977, he married Reta Sue Boster, and the newlyweds immediately moved to Georgia, where he was publisher of the Walton Tribune in Monroe. In 1980, Harte-Hanks Newspapers named him president of its Georgia Newspaper Group in Carrollton.
Martin returned to Texas in 1985 as publisher of the Greenville Herald-Banner. He moved to Mansfield, Ohio, in 1988 as publisher of the Journal-News then came home to Texas again in 1989 as publisher of the Lufkin Daily News.
“Bill Martin was the ultimate community newspaper publisher,” said Caroline John, former vice president of community newspapers for Cox. “He cared deeply about excellent journalism, his readers and the bottom line. He was exceptionally smart, witty and had little use for fools. But even those who fell into that category were treated with kindness.”
Martin moved to Longview in 1993 when he was named publisher of the News-Journal. He served on the board of the Longview Partnership, Longview Economic Development Corp., Greater Longview United Way, Action Longview, the President’s Advisory Council of LeTourneau University and the citizens advisory committee of Texas Eastman.
He was a member of the Longview City Council task force that recommended that the University of Texas establish a campus in Longview.
Martin retired in 1997, moving to Tyler several years later.
He is survived by his wife, Reta; son Patrick Martin and Susan Garrett of Dallas; daughter Shanna Russell and husband, Rodger, of Lubbock; sister Janice Cates and husband, Burton, of Fort Worth; granddaughter Shea Perry of San Angelo; great-grandchildren Hayden and Haylie Perry of San Angelo; brothers-in-law Royce Ballinger of Marana, Ariz., and Mart Ballinger and wife, Judith, of Durango, Colo.
Memorials may be made to a favorite charity.