June 15, 1932 - November 22, 2017
Born in Grosse Pointe Farms
Resided in Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Bob was born on June 15, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan to Isabel Louise (Hart) and Franz Herbert Martin. He met the love of his life, Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) Huette in the auditorium at Grosse Pointe High School, and they were married on August 21, 1954 at Grosse Pointe Congregational Church and honeymooned at the family cottage along the Au Sable River in Grayling.
Bob earned his BA from Dartmouth College in 1954, and graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1957. He was a law associate at Schmidt, Smith, Howlett and Halliday in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1957-1961, before moving to Grosse Pointe Woods and joining the family business, F.H. Martin Construction Company. He served as President of the company from 1974-1995.
He was a member of the Michigan and American Bar Associations, Associated General Contractors (serving as the Detroit Chapter President in 1974, and on the National board beginning in 1988, Chairman of the Municipal Utilities Division, Executive Committee member, and Life Director). He was also a member of the American Arbitration Association, serving on the Commercial Arbitration Panel beginning in 1989, and acted as a mediator/arbitrator of construction industry disputes for many years until his full retirement. He and Betsy traveled extensively through his involvement in construction associations, attending conventions and making friends across the country.
Bob was honored with the “Construction Icon” Award from the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction in 2003, and was inducted as a “Distinguished Constructor” to the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame in 2007.
He and Betsy raised five children Cathy (John Leverenz), Peg (Jim Rohrkemper), Barbara (Andrew Glassberg), Andy (Sue), and Jim. He was blessed with eleven grandchildren, Lisa (Patrick Coletta), Johnny (Neena), Matt (Vanessa), Kimmy Leverenz; Christine, Jeff (Taylor), Eric Rohrkemper; Sarah and Emily Glassberg; Alissa and Hailey Martin, and one great granddaughter, Ava Leverenz. He also had a Swedish “daughter” (through a student exchange program), Ann Charlotte, and was “grandpa” to her children Miriam, Emelie, and Elias as well. Bob was active in the lives of all his children and grandchildren and many fond memories were created around the breakfast table, at the frequent birthday and holiday gatherings, and especially at the family cottage in Grayling. He loved the cottage, spending hours fly fishing in the “holy waters” of the Au Sable, or just sitting in his favorite spot watching the river go by. Music was also very important in his life, from playing the string bass in a jazz band in the early years, singing in choirs and glee clubs, to piano lessons starting at age 60, and even joining the Lakeshore Barbershop Chorus at age 80.
Bob also enjoyed playing golf and tennis, and was a long-time member of Lochmoor Club, where he served as president in 1986-87. He was also a member of the Detroit Athletic Club where he played squash and bowled for many years, and he was an avid contract bridge player.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Robert Martin will be held at Grosse Pointe Congregational Church, 240 Chalfonte in Grosse Pointe Farms on Wednesday, December 13. Visitation will begin at 10:30 am, with the church service at 11:30, followed by a light luncheon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Association (25200 Telegraph Road, Suite 100, Southfield, MI 48033, alz.org/gmc), Anglers of the Au Sable (471 S. Stephan Bridge Rd., Grayling, MI 49738, ausableanglers.org), or to Grosse Pointe Congregational Church (240 Chalfonte, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236, www.gpcong.org).
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