A Regular Guy

By Terry Martin, Rumford, ME 

Dear Rhea, 
         I wrote Ed's obituary.  I think it describes him as he was. 
         Good therapy to write. 
         Thought you might enjoy reading this as well. 

He thought of himself as a regular guy.

In his search for Acadian Roots, he met a priest in Prince Edward Island who viewed the Acadians with an attitude.  " They won't amount to much, the priest said to him ".  I disagree, he said.  " You became a priest, and I am a physician.  That's something."

"Doc" as his lifelong patients liked to call him, was born in Mexico, Maine on January 8, 1928, and named Joseph Edward Martin.  His parents, Louise Campbell McCafferty and Joseph Agape Martin raised him in the town that he lived and worked in for most of his lifetime.  He considered himself a hometown boy graduating from Mexico High School in the Class of 1945.  That High School Diploma always hung in his medical office.  He was proud of his class and clung to those friendships made early in his lifetime.

"Eddie" as his early lifetime friends called him, played football for his alma mater and from there was awarded a full tuition scholarship to Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  His college days were interrupted by World War 11 and a hitch in the U.S.Navy led him to be stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1947. He became a pilot at the age of 15 daring to pilot his airplane under both the Memorial Bridge and the Morrison Bridge. His lifelong dream of becoming a fighter pilot changed as the War ended. He finished his tour of duty and returned to Colby to finish his studies.

It was during the last of his Colby years that Eddie caught the eye of the College Dean.  A simple phone call and an interview would catapult this young man, a regular guy, with an outstanding academic record, to an interview and acceptance as a medical student to the University of Vermont College of Medicine. 

He recognized the need in Maine for family physicians.  His greatest mentor, Dr.Elsworth Amidon, from the College of Medicine instilled in this young physician the basic need to care for patients at the entry level of care.  It was his calling and he accepted it willingly.  He completed his internship at Central Maine Medical Center and was recruited to the Jay-Livermore Falls area where he practiced for a number of years.

 But, he was interested in practicing medicine in his hometown.  He returned to the Rumford-Mexico area where he gave nearly 40 years of service to those people he loved best--his hometown.

It was during that time that he delivered 2,500 of the towns finest babies and sat many nights and week-ends helping his old time patients live and die.  With several five generation familes still in his practice when he retired, he embodied the art of family practice.  He loved his patients, and they loved him. 
" Doc", was a champion of the underdog.  His many known challenges to the paper companies and their toxic waste dumping are legendary.  He became known as the outspoken physician who was the centerpiece for the TV documentary " Cancer Valley". During his tenure at the Rumford Community Hospital, he served on many committees.  He was Public Health Officer for the towns of Rumford and Mexico for many years and was a pilot and an FAA physician offering a service to area pilots that was unique for its time.  He was co-founder and medical director of the Cozy Inn Nursing  (now known as the Rumford Community Home) recognizing the need for elderly care in his community.

Doc was a history buff. That interest led him to explore the world of art and antiques. For many years he ran an antique shop and was well known throughout the state as a most knowledgable art and antique dealer.  His documentation of the artist Jonathan Bartlett resulted in a comprehensive reference of this Rumford artist's life in book form and led him to study and complete a second book on the Abenaki Indians of this State. The second book called "Thunder from the Mountains," is a historical novel about the Abenaki Indians.

Perhaps he best loved the discovery of the history of the Acadians.  It was thru this historical pathway that he came to know the history of his Martin ancestors and that led him on a journey that would change his life. He documented many of the events in his life and those of his patients' thru the medium of poetry.  It wasn't unusual for him to stop in the middle of a patients history and document an idea that would lead to a poetic verse at a later time.

He was the founder of the Acadian Society of this area and functioned as its advisor for many years. 

In 1992 the Maine Labor Group on Health awarded him the prestigious Health and Safety Advocacy Award for outstanding efforts to improve Maine's Workplaces and Communities.

In 1993 the University of Vermont Medical Alumni Association  presented him the Award for Service to Medicine and the Community . 

Doc died at home under the devoted care of the  Androscoggin Home Health Care Hospice Program and his loving wife of 32 years.

He is survived by his wife, Marie-Therese (Terry); a daughter, Rebecca and her husband,  Larry Grenadier of Newburgh, N.Y. and two sons, Dr. Jonathan Martin and his wife, Dr. Amy Martin of Washington, D.C. and Franklin Martin of Boston, Mass.

A former wife, Patricia Brann and six children; Joseph E Martin, Jr. of Rumford, Me., Dr. Priscilla and her husband Dr. Don Bordley of Rochester, N.Y.; Dr. Kathleen,and her husband Richard Beaudet of Brunswick, Maine; Barney Martin and his wife, Lauren of Scarborough Maine ; Michael Martin, and his wife Amanda of North Conway, NH, and Patrick Martin and his wife Margaret of Boxborough, Mass.

A sister, Mrs. David Stone (Marjorie) of South Paris, Me. and a brother Mr. Frank Martin of Worcester, Mass.

Also surviving are 13 wonderful grandchildren many nieces and nephews, and a loving faithful chocolate lab named Rufus.

In lieu of flowers the family has asked for donations be made to the Acadian Society for a scholarship fund in his memory.

Acadian Society mailing address is 159 East Andover Road, Rumford, Me. 04276 

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