ITHACA — Longtime WHCU talk radio host and former GM Don Martin died on Monday near Seattle, WA. He was 88 years old. An Air Force veteran who served during World War II, Martin joined the station in 1947. He retired in 1979, but continued hosting his “Column Comment” feature for many years afterward.
Here’s a full obituary submitted by David Stewart:
One of the most familiar voices on Ithaca radio for more than three decades has fallen silent. Donald M. Jager, known professionally as Don Martin, died Monday, January 14, 2013, at age 88 in Bellevue, Washington. Born June 28, 1924, he served in the U.S. Air Force at MacDill AFB during World War II and spent most of his professional career at WHCU beginning in 1947. He stayed with the station until his retirement as general manager in August 1979.
Martin is remembered as host and commentator on a variety of WHCU programs, ranging from classical music to Cornell football broadcasts. His on-air stints included co-host of Nightwatch, with the late Barbara Hall. He also produced the daily “Column Comment” feature that was based on editorial comment from newspapers across the nation and overseas. Don Martin continued that feature for many years even after his formal retirement.
Martin’s community involvement over the decades included several civic boards, from Challenge Industries to the Ithaca Community Players. He was the recipient of many awards for his community service. Behind the scenes, he was instrumental in the founding of Tompkins Cortland Community College along with his friend and colleague, the late Robert R. Sprole Sr. of Therm, Inc.
A mentor to many young WHCU staff members, Martin also was well known in the classroom, having taught broadcasting courses at Ithaca College. Many of his students in and out of the classroom went on to become prominent broadcast and print journalists.
In the 1980s, Martin and his wife moved to the Seattle area, where he began a second career in the travel industry.
Martin’s first wife, Nita, was an editor and author at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University; she died in 1996. They had two daughters who survive: Deborah Hall and her husband David Hall, and Holly Lapole and her husband Pete Lapole, and a grandson, Jason Lapole, all of Washington state. Martin’s second wife, Francine Morrison, died in 2006.
Outside their professional careers in Ithaca, Don and Nita were known throughout New York and nearby states for raising and showing Newfoundland dogs.
Don Martin was interred January 15 at Sunset Hills in Bellevue, Washington.
CNYRadio.com thanks David Stewart for sending along word of Martin’s passing, and we wish to extend our condolences to all of Don Martin’s family, friends and colleagues.