June 3, 1938 – March 2, 2015
Philip J. Martin of Clarence, a retired manufacturer who was an author and songwriter, died Monday in his Clarence home after a lengthy illness. He was 76.
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Martin attended St. Thomas Aquinas School and South Park High School. He served in the Air Force as an airman second class, serving as a medic in France. While stationed in France, he studied at the European Division of the University of Maryland and majored in history.
He and his wife, Geraldine, owned and operated Chester Manufacturing, a family business that supplied the lighting industry. He retired in 2000.
Mr. Martin wrote “The Long Journey Home,” a book about growing up during World War II in the tight-knit Irish-American neighborhoods of South Buffalo. He also enjoyed traveling, photography, golf and hiking.
A lifelong lover of music, Mr. Martin wrote “Sweet Memories of Yesterday,” which was recorded by Jimmy Sturr and the Jordanaires on Sturr’s 2007 Grammy-award winning album, “Polka in Paradise.” His daughter, Kristin Willett, noted that Virginia Ruda of Ruda’s Record Shop fame brought the song to the attention of Sturr, who has won many Grammy awards.
Survivors include his wife of 50 years, the former Geraldine Petko; two other daughters, Karen McMahon and Lisa Henrickson; and five grandchildren.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.