George T. Martin, 83, of Amarillo, TX went home on December 15th, 2021, in the presence of his wife Nellie and children. He will be remembered as a great husband, dad, friend, coworker, baseball fan, Sandie fan and servant of Christ.
Services will be at 10:30 A.M., Monday, December 20, 2021, at St. Stephen United Methodist Church. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
George T. Martin was born February 28th, 1938, in Jones County, Texas to H. L. “Lynn” Martin and Gladys Mae Hines Martin.
George grew up on a farm outside of Rule, Texas. It has been said that you could take the boy off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy. For years George’s backyard in Amarillo had a huge garden along with several chickens. George had an older sister Margie and a younger brother Monty that both preceded him in death. He often told stories of “farm life” which included hunting with his childhood friends and future brother-in-law Billy Hertel. Billy would often say that “George was the best shot I ever saw! I saw him shoot a rabbit on the run with a .22 not once but consistently”. Later in life, George went through marksmanship training at the FBI institute in Virginia and received the highest marks possible. He loved teaching his children and grandchildren how to handle and shoot a pellet gun that he kept leaning next to the back door just in case he saw a mouse in the chicken coop.
George did all the typical small-town stuff growing up. He was involved in FFA and participated in all the sports that were available. It was at that time that one of the true loves of his life was nurtured, baseball. He tells of listening to MLB games on the radio and soon became a huge fan of Willie Mays and the New York Giants. When the Giants moved to San Francisco, so did his allegiance. He would often preach that you didn’t change teams, you picked one and rooted for them and against the Dodgers.
Upon graduation from Rule High School, he attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He didn’t talk much about his brief stay in Lubbock other than the fact he and his buddies huddled around a TV in Sneed Hall and watched Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. After just one semester in Lubbock, he decided that school wasn’t for him at that time. He moved to Ft. Worth and began to work at an airplane manufacturing plant.
A couple of years later, he was home visiting his parents and ran into a friend of his and they began talking about “what are you up to nowadays”. The friend told dad that he was attending Hardin Simmons in Abilene playing baseball. George decided that that sounded a whole better than working at the plant, so he went home and told his parents that he was going to do the same thing. His parents told him that “we are Methodists, you should go to McMurry instead.” So that’s what he decided to do, go to McMurry and play baseball. His love for baseball led him to Abilene.
Upon enrollment at McMurry, he made his way over to the field house and went in to talk to the coaches. He informed them that he was there to play baseball and that he wanted to walk on to the team. They informed him that they didn’t have a baseball program and as he walked out of their office he made the decision to stay and go ahead and pursue a degree in math. It was the best decision that he ever made because it led him to meet the true love of his life, Sarah Annelle “Nellie” Martin. While at McMurry George and Nellie made some lifelong friends that included Bill and Evelyn Narrell and Jim and LuAnn Smith.
George and Nellie were married on August 9th, 1963, just a couple of weeks before Nellie’s sister Barbara married Kemp McMillin. The two couples epitomized the perfect relationship between siblings and spouses, spending holidays and vacation time together for the rest of their lives. They began a tradition of hosting each other’s children for a week each summer so that the cousins could get to know their aunts and uncles and first cousins and have a week alone with just each other.
George and Nellie both began teaching school after graduation, but George quickly realized that while it was the perfect fit for Nellie it wasn’t his. After a teaching stint in Portales, he was given the opportunity to apply to be an agent for the treasury department. In 1965, he passed the testing and soon got a job as a special agent for the treasury department where he worked as a criminal investigator for the Internal Revenue Service. His first assignment was in Midland, Texas.
Midland was a fruitful time for George and Nellie as they welcomed Patti and Al into the world. They loved their time at First Methodist Church and made great friends such as Gary and Myra Lynn Thurman and Marie Coleman. In 1974, George got a promotion and moved to Amarillo, Texas.
They built a house on 48th Avenue and it was in that house where he passed away, over 47 years later. There are so many memories that were made in Amarillo that it would be impossible to talk about them all, but the most influential decision that they made was to join St. Stephen United Methodist Church. From playing on the church softball team, to making coffee every Sunday morning for over 40 years for the John Mark Sunday school class, to serving in just about every leadership role possible, his time at St. Stephen was impactful. He was impacted and changed more into the image of Christ, and he impacted the lives of many that crossed his path.
It was in the late 70’s that he developed a new passion, a passion for the hundreds and thousands of student-athletes that passed through the halls of Amarillo High. George and Nellie began taking their own children to Sandie games to watch the son of his partner and great friend, Mac McMenemy. They never stopped going. They never stopped cheering. They never stopped supporting. Decades after his own children graduated from Amarillo High, he and Nellie could be seen at every volleyball, basketball, and football game. Whether at home or on the road, they were there. It was only in the past couple of years that they could no longer attend the games due to health reasons. They might be the only fans that can claim to see every state championship, win or lose, that the Sandies have been in since 1986. You could often hear George telling fellow fans that he remembered when a current player’s mom, dad, or other relative “won the state championship” or “had a great game against Tascosa”. George truly was the biggest Sandies fan. While he never attended Amarillo High, he embodied the mantra, “Once a Sandie, Always a Sandie”.
George was a great and faithful friend. Countless folks can tell stories of how intentional he was in nurturing so many relationships. From neighbors to coworkers to church members to random acquittances, George loved well. He would often be seen mowing the neighbor’s lawn or delivering groceries to a homebound friend. He served well.
George loved his family. He was the ideal father. His daughter, Patti gave him one of the highest compliments possible. She said, “when I heard God referenced to as ‘God the Father’ I knew exactly what that meant. I grew up with a father that cared, protected, provided, encouraged, sacrificed and loved in a way that drew me closer to God.” George didn’t miss one event of his children from kindergarten through graduation. He would often drive all night when he was working out of town to make it back in time for that early morning baseball game or band competition. He taught his children how to live faithful lives.
George’s grandchildren knew the love of the perfect “Grandad”. Kayla, Hayden, Maddux, Maddison and Mason could always count on spending incredible time with their grandparents. They all have special memories and probably all thought they were his favorite. He made them all feel special and loved. The only time George didn’t root for the Sandies was when the Sandies played his grandchildren, it wasn’t even a question as to whom he wanted to win. From trips to Mr. Gattis, to vacations in Colorado, to trips to watch the Rangers play, they have a lifetime of memories to reflect on and learn from.
George loved Nellie. They focused so much on their children while they were in the house that when they were moved out, George and Nellie enjoyed getting to focus on each other. George retired when he was just 55 years old, and his focus turned to Nellie. They traveled all over America. They visited all 50 states, all the state capitals, most of the national parks and almost all of the MLB stadiums. They had a hobby of taking pictures of lighthouses and stopping to read historical markers. They loved just being together. Recently in a weird set of circumstances, they were both hospitalized at the same time. In a sweet moment, they found themselves being pushed by each other in their own hospital beds. Al told the nurse that was with dad “that lady coming this way is his wife”. They paused in the middle of the hospital hallway and held hands. The nurse asked, “how long have you been married?”. George replied with a loving look, “58 years, we’ve got a good start on it I think”.
George was preceded in death by his parents, H.L. “Lynn” Martin and Gladys Mae Hines Martin; his sister, Margie Hertel; and his brother, Monty Martin.
He is survived by his wife, Nellie Martin; daughter, Patti Messamore and husband Dan; son, Al Martin and wife Jodie; grandchildren, Kayla Messamore, Hayden Messamore, Maddux Martin, Maddison Martin, and Mason Martin; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
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