Don Martin Obit

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Donald Francis Martin of St. Louis Park, Minn., died June 9, 2010, after a brief illness. He was 78.

Born in Rochester, N.Y., Martin was the son of the late Dr. Donald S. and Beryl H. Martin. He grew up in Durham, N.C., and graduated from Deerfield (Mass.) Academy.

After graduating from Duke University, Martin began a journalism career with the United Press in North Carolina, Atlanta and finally as state manager in Alabama in the 1950s and early 60s. Based in Montgomery, Ala., Mr. Martin knew the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King personally and covered the central events of the Civil Rights Movement: the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the attacks on Freedom Rider buses, and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

In 2003, the Rosa Parks Center in Montgomery honored him and other United Press International correspondents for their role in covering the Civil Rights Movement. When Southern newspapers and The Associated Press, which is owned by the papers, refused to cover Civil Rights issues, the independent UPI wire service reported on the movement, broke the information blackout and enabled the outside world to know what was happening.

Martin was an excellent golfer who played on the golf team at Duke and covered professional golf for UPI, including the Master's Tournament. As an amateur, he won numerous tournaments.

After leaving UPI, Martin taught English at the Tuskegee Institute and Auburn University and then taught journalism at Daytona Beach Community College, the University of Florida and Central Florida Community College, where the student newspaper won national awards. In retirement, Martin was certified as a master gardener by the University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service.

He was predeceased by a son Donald.

He is survived by three sons, David (Jamie) of Montgomery, Ala., Douglas (Carol) of Tallahassee, Fla., and Derek (Becky) of St. Louis Park, Minn.; and eight grandchildren.

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