Lawrence J. Martin
9/15/1921 – 10/25/2015
Lawrence J Martin was born 15 Sep 1921 in Hinckley, IL. His father, Claude C. “Red” Martin moved his family to Elburn a year later. Red Martin and Ethel (Eastabrook) Martin were parents to four sons – Larry was the third born. Larry’s further back ancestors came to Squaw Grove township in 1835, so he was an Illinois boy through and through. For most of his life he lived within a five block area of Elburn.
In his personal notes for a presentation to the Elburn & Countryside Historical Society, Larry writes that his elementary school was a frame building on South First Street. The gym had a low ceiling. In order to make a basket when playing basketball, they had to bounce the ball off the ceiling into the basket. Grades were combined (1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 5th and 6th, 7th and 8th). This can be seen in the school records book on display showing Larry’s attendance and grades. Larry’s notes also reflect that they played marbles on the playground, but not for “keeps” as that was considered gambling. His social events included picnics, class parties, birthday parties, and church youth group meetings.
High school was in the “new modern” building which now houses the Community Center. Classes were 10 to 15 students. Larry said it was “a private school education at public school prices.” The prom involved going to an out of town restaurant for dinner and then going to a movie.
Larry’s leisure time included reading, hanging out on Main Street, pickup baseball and softball, and watching cattle drives down Main Street. There were Saturday night free shows and movies at Town Hall.
Larry went to Chicago to the World’s Fair with the 7th grade class and the Boy Scouts. His family never went. Shopping for clothes and furniture was mainly done in Aurora.
Larry enlisted in the Army Air Force on 26 Dec 1941, following the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor. He served with the 18th Weather Squadron, 8th Army Air Force in England.
He married Beatrice Paulson (a Wisconsin girl) in 1958 and raised a daughter and son.
After the war, Larry completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. He taught military dependent children in France for 2 years. Back in Elburn, he was the first Director of Athletics for Kaneland. He eventually served as History teacher, Guidance counselor, and was the first Elburn High School graduate to be named Kaneland principal.
Lawrence J. Martin passed away on 25 Oct 2015 in Elburn, age 94, remembered fondly by many area residents.
Due to his extensive public service on the Elburn Village Board, as City Treasurer under two different Village Presidents, long-time Library Board trustee, and resident historian with the Elburn & Countryside Historical Society- it seems especially fitting that our Heritage Center honor him by adopting his name.