March 18, 1953 – July 13, 2014
Brian G. Martin, of East Aurora, a retired librarian and union official, died Sunday in Erie County Medical Center as a result of injuries he suffered when he was struck by a car March 15 in Buffalo. He was 61.
Born in Buffalo, he attended St. Thomas Aquinas School. In eighth grade, he was the school’s Buffalo Evening News Spelling Bee champion. He was awarded a full scholarship to Canisius High School.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Plattsburgh State College in 1977 and a master’s degree in library science from the University at Albany in 1979.
Mr. Martin began his library career in 1979 with the New York Public Library, where he became a senior librarian and was head of the Mott Haven Center for Reading and Writing in the Bronx. He also was a certified tree pruner in New York City.
In 1990, he returned to Buffalo to work for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. In 1991, he was the library’s first male employee to take parental leave to care for a newborn child.
Mr. Martin served as the librarian for Wyoming Correctional Facility from 1999 to 2012, when he retired. He held several positions with Local 356, Public Employees Federation, including secretary, vice president and president.
He was a member of the New York Library Association and served on its ethnic services round table. He often gave presentations on prison literacy. He also published articles on literacy and prison library services.
Mr. Martin volunteered with Literacy Volunteers and St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, and taught religious education at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. He was a member of Christ the King Council, Knights of Columbus.
He and his family hosted children from Northern Ireland for several summers through the Belfast Summer Relief Program.
An outdoorsman who could name many trees and birds, Mr. Martin enjoyed canoeing, kayaking, hiking, reading, travel and Notre Dame football.
A rower in high school, he recently resumed the sport and last summer took part in the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, the Head of the Fish in Saratoga Springs and the Tony Fooks Regatta in Mississauga, Ont., with the Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association Masters.
Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Mary Ostrowski, and a daughter, Catherine Ostrowski Martin.
A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in Immaculate Conception Church, 520 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora.