Dr. William B. Martin
May 12, 1926 ~ March 25, 2017
Dr. William B. Martin of Stephenville died peacefully at home on March 25, 2017.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 10, at 1:30 pm in Tarleton State University’s Clyde Wells Fine Arts Center. Donations to the William B. Martin Award for Writing Excellence may be sent to Tarleton State University’s Office of Development, Box T-0415, Stephenville, TX 76402.
Bill was born to Frank O. Martin and Dale Goolsby Martin on May 12, 1926 in Waxahachie, Texas. A 1943 graduate of Waxahachie High School, he served two years in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Following his service, he earned a BA degree from Southern Methodist University. In 1950, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland awarded him a Diploma in English Studies. That same year, he married Helen Mackenzie of Prestonpans, Scotland on July 11, 1950. Bill did graduate work at the University of London, then obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1953.
Bill taught at Texas A & M University before joining the faculty at the then Tarleton State College in Stephenville, TX. He left Tarleton to become an Associate Professor of English at Missouri State Teachers College in Kirksville, MO, returning in 1956 to become Chairman of the English & Languages Department as Tarleton was making the transition to a senior college, granting bachelor and graduate degrees. In 1960, he took a one-year leave of absence to teach at American University in Beirut, Lebanon, casting his vote for John F. Kennedy via mail-in ballot while overseas. He returned to Tarleton where he served as department head until August 1986. Shortly thereafter, he was named Professor Emeritus and continued teaching until January 1998, having served Tarleton for over 40 years.
Martin was the author of many articles published in academic journals. His 1985 book, Texas Plays, published by Texas A & M Press, was well received.
Bill was a good friend, great mentor, and prolific reader. He was a man who appreciated words, well told stories, spirited conversation, and a well-turned phrase.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister and brother-in-law, Dale Martin Culbertson and Warren Culbertson; and his daughter, Lesley Martin. His wife Helen; his son Bruce (Barbara Cheaney); his nieces Kaye Culbertson Fuller (Roger), and Margaret Culbertson (Sims McCutchan) survive him. The family wishes to thank Dr. Jeffrey Moore for his outstanding care and friendship, and caregivers Jeanna Groves, Chrystal Westmoreland, and Lucy Onsarigo for their exceptional compassion and most generous care.