Long time Alaska resident William “Bill” Martin passed away peacefully in Anchorage, Alaska, Jan. 10, 2018, surrounded by family and friends.
He will be laid to rest in the Dallas Cemetery on Feb. 19, following a memorial service at 1 p.m. at the First Christian Church located at 1079 Southeast Jefferson St., Dallas.
The family asks in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: secure.nationalmssociety.org.
Bill was born in Dallas.
He was preceded in death by his parents Mildred and Luther Martin; and sister Janet. Bill is survived by his wife Mary, of 46 years; daughter Tami; son Rob and daughter-in-law Julie; daughter Ann and son-in-law Steve; and beloved grandchildren.
Following high school graduation and a year of college, Bill joined the United States Navy, and a career as a sailor was cut short by an unfortunate on-ship injury. However, this disappointment was turned into an opportunity.
The day of the great earthquake of 1964, Bill was due to leave Portland for Anchorage to begin his summer-only position with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, but was delayed a week with an eventual arrival on Kodiak Island. Unwilling to leave Alaska at the end of his first summer season, he accepted a winter position assisting with the construction of the power line in Talkeetna. It was this tenacity for achieving his goals that led to an eventual full-time position and notable career with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, ending with his retirement in 1972.
Immediately thereafter, Bill purchased land from Jay Hammond and began a second career as a pilot guide and sport fish lodge owner/operator.
In 1973, he and his wife — the greatest partnership of his life — opened the Royal Coachmen Lodge and enjoyed a 38-year adventure in what he always considered God’s country.
His son Rob writes, “He was an outdoorsman and a pioneer in Alaska’s bush aviation. He loved hunting and fishing almost as much as he loved his family.”
After many trials, stories, and successes, in 1999, he and wife, Mary relocated to the Aleutian Islands with the opening of the Cold Bay Lodge. This was a wonderful opportunity to support the local community, the Coast Guard, and travelers/visitors of all nations.
Bill, an avid conservationist, supported organizations throughout the world and most especially in Alaska until the day of his death. He recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of sport fishing in Argentina with his son, grandson, and wife. This was a truly spectacular event and epitomizes Bill’s zest for life, adventure, and travel.