Paul H. Martin
March 13, 1921 ~ October 31, 2018
"At the end of each sermon he would hold out his arms--blessing, leading and containing us as a group for a few moments and then would say, 'Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.'" (childhood memory from family friend)
Our dad held the official title of pastor but in reality, he was co-pastor along with our mother Dorothy. They were pastors of Mennonite churches in many places, including Sarasota, Fla.; La Junta and Aspen, Colo.; Johnstown, Pa.; and Des Moines, Iowa.
Our mother, Dorothy Derstine Hackman Martin, was the light of Dad's life. His favorite picture by his side in these last years was a photo of the beautiful Dorothy as she was when they met. They were married in Souderton, Penn. on Sept. 3, 1944, and she died last year on Jan. 29, 2017. They had the four of us: Ed, Roger, Laurel & Sharon. We didn't have a lot of money, but we never felt deprived. We were rich in love, friendships and life experiences.
A centerpiece of our mother and dad's ministry was their inclusion of all people, including those on the fringes of society. Our home was open to everyone, and we as children were enriched by the steady stream of guests for Sunday dinners and holiday meals. Things didn't have to be perfect to include a last-minute addition to the table.
Dad set a powerful example for us in the way he practiced acceptance of all people. He didn't feel he needed to judge whether people were part of the Kingdom or not. In addition to a broad welcome within his pastorates, he embraced ecumenical and interfaith involvements and relationships.
He had a wonderful baritone voice and loved to sing. His favorite hymn exemplifies his spirit of service and openness: Will you let me be your servant….We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load…. I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night time of your fear. I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear….
Dad enjoyed his involvements in the broader Mennonite church. He was part of the beginning of Rocky Mountain Conference and later a moderator of that conference as well as of the Iowa/Nebraska Conference. He was a member of the Hesston College Board of Overseers, the Board of Education and the Board of Publications of the Mennonite Church, and the Iowa Peace Network.
He was a graduate of Goshen College, Ind., and after pastoring a number of years, obtained a master's degree from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind. In his early years, he taught Bible and church history and was campus pastor at Eastern Mennonite College, Harrisonburg, Va.
He enjoyed church and family history as well as writing, interests which culminated in a number of small books. One we refer to a lot is "Jacob A. Martin, His Ancestors and Descendants."
Dad was born in Guilford Springs, Pa. to Jacob E. and Rhoda (Eshleman) Martin and was the middle of five boys -- Jacob, Mark, Paul, Joe, James -- the brothers preceding him in death.
We are a small and close family and loved him dearly. We enjoyed spending time with Dad – singing with him, sitting by his side, taking him for Sunday afternoon drives to count the Amish buggies or to the wonderful Wednesday evening hymn sings in the Sunshine Room, or just stopping by to say hi. We will miss him so much.
We are deeply grateful to the staff at Landis Homes, especially Cedar, the Cedar dining room, and Manheim House, for their love and care for our dad – singing hymns with him while doing his morning care; being patient and seeing goodness while responding to his daily needs; making a special milkshake for him at a tough time; repeating to him through his fears, "I have you, Paul, I have you. I won't let you fall."
As with our mother, Dad wanted his body to be donated to "Humanity Gifts Registry" to be used for medical education so that his death could help others.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Caring Fund of Landis Homes, 1001 E. Oregon Rd., Lititz, PA 17543.
A memorial service is planned for Sat. Dec.1 at 11:00 am at the Akron Mennonite Church, 1311 Diamond St., Akron, Pa., with visitation starting at 9:00. Following the service, we warmly invite everyone to share a light lunch with us.
Children: Ed (Kathy) Martin, Roger Martin, Laurel Martin (Jase Gehman), Sharon (John) Bowman; Grandchildren: Shanti Martin Brown (Stephen), Jessica Martin, Christina Bowman;Great-grandchildren: Joaquin & Javier Martin Brown.
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