Visitation Information:October 3rd, 2020 at 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery and Crematory
2030 Memorial Park Road Gainesville, GA 30504
Mr. Milton M. Martin, 91
Milton Major Martin, Sr., 91, of Gainesville, Georgia, went home to meet his Savior on Monday, September 14, 2020.
A lifelong resident of Hall County, Milton, Sr. was the son of sharecroppers and was born on March 7, 1929 to Utah and Ola Martin. He was the third oldest of six children whose first names all began with the letter M, and who was fondly referred to by their mother, Ola, as the original M and Ms.
Working and living as a young boy with his family on farms during the Great Depression instilled in Milton, Sr. a tremendous work ethic, determination and generosity that were only rivaled by his sense of humor. His first entrepreneurial ventures consisted of selling produce, vegetables or rabbits at roadside stands as a young boy or cutting yards with his tractor on his way home from school. After graduating from Sardis High School, he enrolled in the summer program at Young Harris College in 1947, but quickly realized he was not destined for academics. During study hall, while he should have been studying French and Algebra, he threw his books up in the air and said, “That’s it boys, I’m going home!” So he left and enrolled at Southern Business School in Atlanta, GA where he studied a few classes that made more sense to him. Milton, Sr. joined the Navy in the fall of 1948 and spent most of his time managing the ship’s store as a bookkeeper. He was discharged from New Port, RI in January 1950.
Milton, Sr. loved to tell his grandchildren stories and his most favorite one of all was how he met their grandmother, Damaris. After returning home from the Navy he asked his younger brother, Merritt, who the prettiest girl was in the senior class. Merritt responded by naming “Damaris Evans” and thus began a courtship that resulted in a wedding held on December 24, 1950. Damaris was Milton, Sr.’s faithful wife for almost 7 decades and raised their 6 children while he built his business.
Milton, Sr. began working as a bookkeeper for C.V. Nalley, a local car dealer, in October 1950 who would pass along to him a passion for the car business. In 1961, he hired his brother Merritt as his first employee and established Milton Martin Autos where he would develop his basic customer service philosophy over the next 9 years: “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” In 1970, he became the 3rd Toyota dealer in the state when he opened Milton Martin Toyota, which is now the oldest Toyota dealership in Georgia. Then, in 1989, he opened Milton Martin Honda. While the businesses evolved, Milton, Sr. never lost sight of his customers and employees - he treated both groups like family. He was always closed on Sundays and many of his employees still work for the companies he built to this day. And he was rewarded for his continued efforts. He received the coveted Toyota’s Touch Presidential Award 4 times in his career and was featured in the August 1991 edition of People magazine.
Milton, Sr. became known for his visionary and generous spirit outside of his business reputation. He was always looking for ways to invest and partner with developers to improve the landscape of Gainesville-Hall County. Projects such as Royal Lakes Golf & Country Club, the Medical Arts Complex, and others now exist because he helped support them. Simple philanthropic acts were modeled for him by his parents such as donating food or livestock, lending a hand on a farm, or setting extra places at the table for passing travelers. He in turn paid his success forward by donating funds to various charities, giving vans to homeless organizations, hiring people who needed jobs, slipping money or items into the hands of single mothers, as well as countless other ways we are not supposed to celebrate or even mention. He always preferred to do as many good deeds as he could anonymously and without fanfare.
Milton, Sr. was a charter member and lifelong deacon of Lakewood Baptist Church and is credited with naming the church when it was first organized in 1956. He also led Sunday school classes, served on the finance committee and Board of Trustees. Milton, Sr. also served on numerous boards and avidly supported the Boy Scouts, Eagle Ranch, Choices Pregnancy, Little League, American Legion, United Way and Hall County’s homeless organization.
Milton, Sr. retired in the early ‘90s and enjoyed playing golf at Chattahoochee Golf Course, living in Florida for part of the year, traveling to Hawaii, tending to his garden and spending time with his family. You could always find him on Sundays at Lakewood Baptist Church in the middle pew, swinging his fist to a good song or belting out the lyrics with his off-key voice. Or planting trees at his childrens’ homes, barking at his grandkids and pretending it was a dog, eating ice cream or popcorn, and watching football or golf on tv. Milton, Sr. was a very simple man at heart. He never cared about the clothes he wore, the food he ate, or even the car he drove in his later years. God, family, business, philanthropy and serving others - these were the most important things to him and the ones he took the most seriously. Most anything else would be met with his full body chuckle or one of his silly jokes. Milton Sr.’s personal philosophy in life was LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE.
Milton, Sr. leaves behind his devoted wife and caretaker of 69 years, Damaris Martin; son & daughter-in-law, Evangelist Milton Martin, Jr., & Lynn; son & daughter-in-law, Mike & Lisa Martin; son & daughter-in-law, Alan & Pia Martin; son & daughter-in-law, Ricky & Cindy Martin; daughter-in-law Wendy Martin; daughter & son-in-law, Malinda & Jim Foote; bonus daughter Judy Martin; 24 grandchildren & 27 great-grandchildren; sister, Mildred Martin; sister, Mattie Jane Talley; sister and brother-in-law Montene and Jimmy Lewis; sister in law, Bobbie Martin and countless nieces and nephews.
Milton, Sr. was preceded in death by his parents, Utah and Ola Martin; brother Marcus Martin, brother & sister-in-law Merritt & Mildred Martin, brothers-in-law, Walt Talley and Heyward Martin, his precious grandson, Gregory Alan Martin, Jr. and his youngest son, Pastor Robin Martin.
Visitation is scheduled for 11am - 1pm, followed by a 2pm Celebration of Life service, on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at Lakewood Baptist Church. Dr. Tom Smiley will officiate. The family requests all visitors to follow face mask requirements, social distancing and COVID-19 seating capacity guidelines.
In lieu of flowers, please forward all donations to Lakewood Baptist Church to provide for its local, national and global ministries at 2235 Thompson Bridge Rd., NW, Gainesville, GA 30501.
Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA 30504 is in charge of arrangements.
Send online condolences to www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com