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William (Bill The Mailman) Martin, Sr.
 

Memorial for William (Bill The Mailman) Martin, Sr.

Born in Asheville, North Carolina on Apr. 6, 1932
Departed on Apr. 8, 2014 and resided in Austin, TX.
Visitation: Friday, Apr. 18, 2014
11:00 am - 6:30 pm
Service: Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014
11:00 am
Cemetery: Cook Walden Capital Parks
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

  
His Early Years
William "Bill" Martin, a powerful man with international inspiration, was a man of many names: Daddy, Papa, Deac, Uncle Bill, Uncle Bud, and Irving. Born on April 6, 1932 in Asheville, North Carolina to Olena Peterson and James Martin, he was the youngest of ten children- four brothers and four sisters who preceded him in death, as well as his mother and father.

William attended Mountain Street Elementary, Ashland Avenue Middle School and Stephens-Lee High School. He not only played tenor saxophone in the band, but also was also team leader, first chair, and a member of the choir. He even organized his own band called Flying Home Bud Martin. Bill accepted Christ and was baptized at Mt. Zion Baptist Church while in Asheville under the leadership of Rev. J.W. Hairston.

Music, Military & Marriage
Upon graduation from high school in 1950, Bill's musical talents enhanced his move to New York City to further his studies at the Juilliard School of Music. Although he was nine hours short of obtaining his Associate Degree from Austin Community College, he decided to join the US Air Force where he served from 1952 to 1956. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant and audaciously fought in the Korean War serving in Japan and England. After an honorable discharge from the US Air Force, Bill was sent to Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas. Here, he often visited the Huston-Tillotson College campus where he spied a beautiful songbird, Evelyn "Tutter" Franklin who was focused on her singing group, The Chariettes, and who also played piano at a small church. Their friendship continued to evolve from that time on. Bill often told of how much he wanted Evelyn- so much so that he would have to join her father's church in order to continue their relationship. The following Sunday, he made his way down to the altar and joined St. James Baptist Church where Rev. E.M. Franklin, his soon to be father-in-law was pastor.

On April 9, 1955, Rev. Franklin united them in holy matrimony at St. James. Shortly afterwards, William Martin, Jr. (Boo) was born and with his new bride and first son, Bill chose to relocate to New York with the intent to continue his music career. Through the contacts of his nephew Johnny "Spider" Martin, they formed many musical relationships with such jazz greats, as Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and he even became the neighbor to Thelonius Monk. To supplement their livelihood, Bill worked as a subway conductor with the New York Transit Authority from 1956 to 1966. While in New York, The Martin's also became the proud parents of four more children, Toni, Terry, Lori and Lisa.

"The Mailman"
Not happy with the environment after living in NY for 10 years, Tutter insisted they return to Austin, where he drove for Capitol Metro and began what would be a 26-year career at the United States Postal Service from 1966 to 1992. Before arriving to his postal job, he would wake before sunrise and deliver newspapers in the affluent West Lake Hills. On his postal mail route, he became acquainted with the late gospel announcer and host of the long-running Gospel Train program on KVET-AM, Elmer Akins. Bill soon grew to be Akins' protégé and affectionately became known as "Bill the Mailman".

Gospel Announcer
In 1980, Bill became a radio announcer while simultaneously working at the US Post Office. He became highly respected and loved throughout the music industry. His gospel radio show aired from 5:00am to 10:30am every Sunday morning on the former KIXL 970AM, now KLGO The Word - 1490AM.

At this time, he also joined the Gospel Music Workshop of America Announcers' Guild and in 1989 with just nine (9) members founded the Texas Gospel Announcer's Guild (TGAG).
To date, TGAG has over one hundred (100) radio announcers representing over twenty five (25) radio stations throughout the state of Texas. Bill served as President of TGAG since its inception and also as Regional Director and National Advisor of the Gospel Announcers Guild.

His most recent honor was the 2013 Central South Distribution Trailblazer Announcer of the Year Award conferred in January at the 2013 Stellar Awards held in Nashville, TN. He was also a Nominee in the 2013 Stellar Award Announcer of the Year category. Previously, in July 2012, he was honored to receive the Announcer of the Year Award at the 2012 Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) in Cincinnati. Bill was the ONE and ONLY recipient of this award which was presented to him by the National Announcer's Guild President Al "The Bishop" Hobbs". Bill was stunned and humbled to receive this award for the first time in his 32 years of service to the Gospel Music Workshop.

It should be noted that as a gospel announcer and promoter, he was instrumental in bringing some of the world's greatest gospel artists to Austin and the Central Texas area.

Church and Community Affiliations
For over 40 years, Bill was a faithful member of the St. James Baptist Church, under his father in law, the late Rev. E. M. Franklin and currently pastored by Dr. B.W. McClendon Sr. Here he served as a deacon, Director of Ushers, Nurses and Greeters, Executive Board Member (Elders), member of the Male Chorus, Promotion Resource Liaison, faithful attendee of Wednesday prayer meeting & Bible Study and recently recognized for being the Chairman of the Pastor's Anniversary committee for 37 years.

In 1977, Bill managed the Children of Faith- a gospel music youth group - three who were his children, a niece, cousin, and several other youth who attended St. James Baptist Church. He introduced and accompanied the group to the GMWA and throughout the states until they all grew into adulthood.

Bill's impact on the community was massive and embraced the youth as well as adults.
He coached a number of Little League baseball teams in collaboration with the East Austin Optimist Club and redirected the lives of hundreds of young boys in a positive and focused direction. He was an asset to the community through feeding the homeless in countless fundraising efforts. As an avid golfer, Bill was also a proud member of the Travelers Golf Association for over 15 years, thus forming the 4 Musketeers, Bill, Sam, Jeff and Harrison.

Additionally, Bill was a member of the Freemasonry Fraternal Organization, a Board member of the Texas Folk life Resource Center, member of the "Veterans for Change" committee, a member of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Association, American Cancer Society and Jerry's Kids MD campaign volunteer and local organizer, a Charter and lifetime member and Board of Directors of the East Austin Optimist Club, lifetime member of the US Postal Carriers Union Branch 181, volunteer for the Negro College Fund campaign at Huston-Tillotson University, and the United States Postal Baseball League.

Honors & Awards
As a model citizen and active community leader, Bill's name is recognized in various circles and genres. Some of his noteworthy church and civic accomplishments include:
• 1982 - First Gospel announcer on KAZI – 88.7FM radio station
• 1982 June 18 - City Council recognized civic contributions, declared "Bill the Mailman Day" in Austin, TX
• 1989 May 14 - Recognized by the Mayor of Austin who proclaimed "Bill the Mailman Day"
• 1989 - Received a meritorious sealed award from Texas Governor William P. Clements for dedicated service and actions shown in the protection of Texas way of life and well-being of its citizens
• 2009 - Inducted into the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Detroit, MI
• Named the 1st "Man of the Year" at St. James Missionary Baptist Church
• Martin Luther King Humanitarian Recipient Award
• Al Edwards Emancipation Un-Sung Hero Recipient Award
• Capitol City Lions Club Community Service Recipient Award

His Departure
In May 2005, Bill and Evelyn celebrated 50 years of wedding bliss in the presence of over 400 guests. In the same year, five (5) months later on October 23rd, Evelyn "Tutter" preceded him in death. On Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, one day before what would have been their 59th wedding anniversary, William "Bill the Mailman" Martin gracefully slept in the direction where Tutter once lay in their bed, and with his lips pressed together as if to give her a good night kiss, peacefully entered eternal rest.

Left to cherish his loving memory and anticipate a glorious reunion 2 sons: Rev. William "Boo" Martin Jr., of Austin, TX, Terry Martin (Vivian) of Del Valle, TX; 3 daughters: Toni Martin-Wilson of Manor, TX, Lori Martin of Harker Heights, TX, Lisa Martin-Curtis of Pflugerville, TX; 2 adopted daughters: Sylvia Lynn Harris (Donnie) of Austin, TX, Cathy Brewer (Charles) of Red Oak, TX; 1 sister - Frances Tate of Miami, FL; 1 sister-in-law - Dorothy Franklin of Hawthorne, CA; 1 brother-in-law - Maurice Franklin (Gloria) of Austin, TX; step-mother in law – Annie Rae Franklin; grandchildren: Lori (Rodney), Apryl Rose, Briana, Tera, William III, Michael (Zandria), Erin, Gregory II, Draylen, Terrance, Regis, Eric, Caryn, Eleah, Erika, LaToya, LaKeisha, Paul Jr., Stacey; 19 great-grandchildren; godson - William Moore; special friend - Bobbie Neal and a host of special nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and countless friends, gospel announcers and supporters. One adopted daughter, Bridgett Limuel, preceded him in death.

His thunderous laughter, sharp-witted sense of humor and love will be missed at the Martin house, which became the "Grand Central Station" of Austin, inviting any and everyone for food, fun and fellowship. He and Tutter have raised and nurtured countless children who affectionately call them "Grandma & Papa".

"Sometimes it takes people longer to find the purpose God has for their life," says Martin. "As I look back over my life, I feel this (gospel announcer) was the purpose God always had for me."
Bill "the Mailman" Martin
  

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