Ky. House adjourns in memory of Powell, Martin

Published 8:53 am Monday, January 29, 2018

The Kentucky House of Representatives adjourned twice this week in memory of significant Kentuckians with strong Boyle County ties.

The House adjourned in memory of Joseph C. Martin on Tuesday; it adjourned in memory of Stuart Powell on Friday.

Photo submitted
Joe Martin was inducted into the Centre College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013, for his skills as a tennis player while at the college. He graduated from Centre in 1950 and later opened an interior design store in Danville. Martin died Friday at the age of 91.

Martin died on Oct. 13. He was a decorated Navy veteran and a Centre College graduate who attended the Art Institute of Chicago and went on to have a very successful career as an interior designer.

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Martin “designed many notable locations, such as the Brown Hotel in Louisville and the Kentucky room for the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, D.C.,” the adjournment resolution notes. 

Martin was involved locally with the Toliver Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association, the Danville Schools Parent-Teacher Association, the Beta Alumni Association of Centre, the Kentucky School for the Deaf Museum Committee and First Christian Church.

While serving in World War II, Martin was the recipient of the Victory Medal; the American Theatre Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific, or Bronze Star, medal; and the Philippine Liberation medal. He was also named Outstanding Man of his naval unit and went on to become one of the youngest to command a World War II group in the Pacific Theater.

After the war, Martin attended Centre College, where he was the editor of the Cento, the Centre College newspaper, and a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He also played tennis at the college and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

It was while at Centre that Martin met his future wife, Frances Caldwell Martin.

“He saw my mother dancing and he said, ‘I like her legs,’” said Mary Cynthia Martin, Joe Martin’s daughter, in October after he had passed away. “I asked him why he married her, and he told me, ‘She had the kind of heart I wanted to be with.’”

The two were together 67 years, and had two children, including the late Gentry Wright Martin.

File photo by Ben Kleppinger/
Stuart Powell speaks to Danville City Commission in July about plans for the Danville-Boyle County Airport. Powell died in September; the Kentucky House of Representatives adjourned in his memory on Friday.

Powell died on Sept. 9. He was the owner of the Stuart Powell car dealership in Danville and considered by many to be the guiding force that grew the Danville-Boyle County Airport into one of the best general aviation airports in the state. The airfield at the airport is named after Powell.

The adjournment resolution lists numerous awards and distinctions earned by Powell over the years: “1996 Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, 2002 Ford Excellence in Customer Satisfaction Award, 2003 Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year, 2007 General Aviation Board Chairman of the Year by the Kentucky Department of Aviation, 2008 Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, 2011 winner of Ford Salute to Dealers Award, 2012 inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame, 2014 Honorary Lifetime Rotary Club member and Harris Fellow, 2015 Salvation Army Lifetime Business Partner in Hope and 2017 Civil Air Patrol Wartime Service Ribbon and Medal.”

“There was nobody like him for sure. He had the wit, the quickness, the wisdom, the integrity to do about anything,” said his daughter, Patti Powell, after he died in September. “… He was a six-day-a-week worker even up to 89. And he was working the day he fell, making his usual service trips through the dealership … so he was doing what he loved the most.”

The adjournment resolutions state that the members of the House of Representatives offer “their most profound sympathy on the passing” of Powell and Martin and extend “heartfelt condolences” to Powell’s and Martin’s friends and family.

State Rep. Daniel Elliott (R-Danville) sponsored both resolutions; state Rep. Kim King (R-Harrodsburg) also sponsored Powell’s resolution.