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.

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Condolences 22
Abit Massey 2020-09-14 20:20:55
Certainly sorry to learn about the loss of Milton. Kayanne joins in sending our strongest sympathy. His family has our thoughts and prayers. Glad I had the privilege of knowing him. His influence, inspiration and legacy will continue.
Malinda Sund 2020-09-14 20:47:42
May his memory be a blessing.
Ed Wayne 2020-09-14 20:50:04
To all the Martin family So sorry to read about your loss of Milton. He was a great visionary in the automobile business in Gainesville. I had the privilege of being Milton's banker for many years.He was a fine man and will be missed for many years to come.
Barbara Allen 2020-09-14 21:55:31
Malinda and family, I was so sorry to learn of your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers..Thankful l had the chance to get to know him. Special man
Jackie Nicholson 2020-09-14 22:45:07
Love and Sympathy to all of the Martin family! Bless you for your Christian influence on Gainesville throughout the years.
Judy Scupin 2020-09-14 23:09:13
So sorry to hear about Milton. He was a wonderful man that will be missed by many. Love to all of his precious family.
Valerie Bennett 2020-09-15 11:30:50
My deepest condolences to his family. I purchased my first car from Milton at his first dealership. He was a fine man, and gave back so much to our community. May his fellowship continue, as well as his memory.
Diane West 2020-09-15 11:58:12
So sorry for your loss. Your long lives together are to be admired. Always with purpose and helping many others to find a peaceful steady moment from which they could deepen their experience with God.
Kathy & Bill Clifton 2020-09-15 15:00:28
Please know that we are sending prayers for comfort and strength to the entire precious family during this difficult time.
bonnie smith 2020-09-15 15:19:44
That was my mother uncle she love him so much and always speak of him of gratitude love and respect.even tho mother passed away in2012 she can't wait for his arrived.i know she will be glad to see him up there with crowd saint that love and trust in the lord.he was a very family man and he love his. Children's grandchildren.uncle milton,you show the world we all can do better if we lived for Christ every day you did.thank for heaven is awaiting for arrived.god blessed you and all your family. Love ya Myrtle Martin daughter.bonnie Smith.
Sherry Howell 2020-09-15 15:23:03
My thoughts and prayers for the Martin Family. May God give you peace and comfort in the days ahead.
Paul barnes 2020-09-15 21:33:43
I am so sorry for the loss of your husband, father, grandfather Milton Martin.
Ethel Clark Lambert 2020-09-15 21:46:14
With deepest sympathy.
Lanelle Martin Romines 2020-09-16 07:42:55
Milton and I are related through our 3rd great granddaddy. Sorry to learn of his demise. May God come close in this time of sorrow. Prayers and thoughts with all the family.
Chris Greene and all of us here at Greene Ford 2020-09-16 14:54:30
Milton is an icon here in Gainesville. He did wonderful things for people and will truly be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Martin family. May he rest in peace
Beverly & Lyle Andersen 2020-09-16 15:30:33
To all of the Martin family, I want to extend my condolences in the passing of Mr. Milton. I have known him since my earliest remembrance at Lakewood and then later on throughout my life. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.
Deborah Walls 2020-09-16 16:16:53
From the family of Lawrence Patterson and Jean we are so sorry for the loss of Milton. He was a great man!!
David and Angie Mote 2020-09-16 19:09:18
So sorry for the passing of Mr. Milton. I have known him and the Martin family all my life. He is most certainly celebrating in Heaven now.
Greg & Brandy Sandoval 2020-09-17 11:08:23
To all the Martin family, Greg & I are so sorry for the loss of your husband, father and the grandfather of your children! He left behind the evidence of what God can do with a vision, such a the legacy is left to his generations and our communities far and wide! We are so blessed & thankful to know some of your family members and what a blessing they are to us and the people of our community! You are in our thoughts & prayers for the love & comfort of God to be with all of you!
Vivian Street 2020-09-18 11:41:42
Malinda and Jim I am so very sorry to hear of your father's passing. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Prayers for comfort in your shared memories. Prayers for peace as you recognize the impact his life had on others.
Paula and Robin Sawyer 2020-09-19 17:48:37
Once upon a time on Springdale Road.......Great memories....Sending our love and prayers to the the Martin Family.
Diane Robinson Roberson 2020-09-22 14:41:36
Sending my love and many prayers to my precious cousins. Milton has been in the family all of my life. He surely was a good Christian man and will be greatly missed. It's not good bye, it's see you soon in heaven with all the saints of GOD.
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