William "Wash" Martin, 75, of Brown St., Tamaqua, died Wednesday (December 10) in Coaldale. He was the husband of the late Jeanette (Praskac) Martin, who died in 1998.
Prior to retiring, he was employed by the Tamaqua Area School District as a bus driver. He was also an accomplished steel guitarist, having played with various bands.
Born in Coaldale, he was a son of the late Joseph and Elizabeth (Murphy) Martin Havron.
He was an Army veteran of the Korean Conflict, having served in Germany.
Martin was a member of First Congregational Church, Coaldale.
A 1952 graduate of the former Coaldale High School, he was a member of the American Legion Post 170, Coaldale, and the Disabled American Veterans Association. An avid pilot, he also constructed and flew model airplanes.
Surviving are a daughter, Cynthia Ann of White Haven; a brother, John "Jack," and his wife, Isabella, of Tamaqua; a sister, Margaret Ann, wife of Jack Julo of Allentown; a sister-in-law, Sandra Havron of Tamaqua; and nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by a brother, Dennis T. Havron, who died in 2004.
The Zizelmann-Roche Funeral Home, 500 E. Broad St., Tamaqua, is in charge of the arrangements.
Published in the Times News on 12/12/2008
Wash Flying to Texas
Flying to Texas Locally made model plane to be displayed at Vietnam War Museum
By CHRIS PARKER firstname.lastname@example.org
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Bill Gaddes and a quarter-scale flying model of a Vietnam-era military airplane.
A quarter-scale flying model of a Vietnam-era military airplane, crafted by the late William "Wash" Martin of Tamaqua, is on its way from Tamaqua to the National Vietnam War Museum in Mineral Wells, Texas.
Martin, who died at age 75 on Dec. 10, built the model of a United States Marine Corps OV-10A BRONCO, in 2007 in honor of Coaldale native Col. Bob Stoffey, USMC (ret.), who flew a BRONCO in the war.
Stoffey's name is on the plane, as it was on the one he flew as a squadron leader in Southeast Asia in the 1960s.
The model will be displayed next to a real OV-10 that saw service in Vietnam, said James Messinger, exhibit coordinator and treasurer of the board of directors of the museum.
"We are in the process of restoring a real OV-10 which will be on a stand near our replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall," he said.
Stoffey, who has been awarded the Marine Corps medal for Personal Heroism, now lives in Carlsbad, California with his wife Eleanor. He saw the model when he came back east several years ago for a Coaldale High School Class of 1953 reunion.
The model, complete with scaled-down pilots, sat in the Viennese Villa restaurant in Coaldale.
"Wash had called me some years back and asked me if I had some pictures (of the plane)," Stoffey said.
William Gaddes, who grew up near Martin in Coaldale, had made arrangements with Martin to have the model placed in the restaurant for him to discover.
"There, as a surprise, was this BRONCO, replicated, with my name on it," Stoffey said.
Stoffey flew 440 combat missions during three tours in Vietnam, flying the OV-10 as well as the UH-1G attack helicopter. He is the author of two best-selling books about the Vietnam War, "Cleared Hot" and "Fighting to Leave." Both books detail combat use of the OV-10A BRONCO aircraft in Vietnam.
Martin, who enlisted in the Army at age 16 during the Korean War and served in Germany during the height of the Cold War, was exacting. An avid pilot, he knew planes inside and out.
The OV-10 model was built to Martin's high standards. It flew in many "War Bird" competitions, winning awards.
"Wash was an expert in the restoration of antique aircraft," Gaddes said. "Wash was a marvelous guy. He was probably one of the best radio control aviators in the Northeastern United States."
Martin had built several quarter-scale aircraft, he said.
He was also an accomplished steel-guitarist and played in several bands.
After Martin's sudden death, his brother Jack kept the OV-10 model.
Stoffey said Jack Martin and Gaddes coordinated the donation.
"I said good, I'll pay for it and you do it," Stoffey recalled.
The model is on its way via UPS to Texas and is expected to arrive at its destination by Saturday.
"It's a very good replica of the plane," Stoffey said. The model's fuselage is about 10 feet long and the wingspan is about 11 feet.
It will be an asset to the museum, Messinger said.