Leighton "Chick" Martin, age 87, died on June 3, 2016, following a year of declining health. Born in Montgomery County, NC, he was the son of the late Charles Howell and Mary Wright Martin. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ruth Scroggs Martin of Brevard and two children, Michael S. Martin of Charlotte and Marcia Martin Copeland and husband Andy of Morganton, NC. In addition, he leaves two brothers, Charles E. Martin and wife Martha of High Point, NC and William (Bill) M. Martin and wife Eileen of Greer, SC.
Chick graduated from Mt. Gilead High School in Montgomery County, Mars Hill College, and Mercer University in Macon Ga. culminating in a BA in 1949. Thereafter he earned his Master's in Education from UNC in 1960. He began his teaching career in Asheville at Fairview and Biltmore High Schools. In 1955 he joined the faculty of Brevard College and ran a program of excellence through 1972 as Athletic Director, Chairman of the Department of Health and Physical Education and coach of multiple team sports. He is best known for the success of the men's basketball program, being the winningest coach at BC and the development of the athletic facilities still in use today. He also served on the Presidential Council, 1968-69, while the Board of Trustees recruited a new president.
He has been honored repeatedly for his tenure at Brevard College including NJCAA regional representative, BC Athletics Hall of Fame, WNC Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee, BC Alumni Honor Roll and most recently, having the Boshamer Gymnasium floor, named the Chick Martin Court. His greatest honor has been the ongoing connection he has enjoyed with previous students, players, colleagues and dear friends from that time.
Following his work with Brevard College, Chick entered the field of real estate and in 1986 purchased Coldwell Banker Melton Co. where he served as Broker-in-Charge. His wife joined him in this endeavor as office manager and they maintained a successful business with a prominent community presence. He served as President of the Board of Realtors and received awards of Realtor of the Year multiple times. He was active in community business development and served as president of the Chamber of Commerce. Chick also was appointed to the NC Housing Trust Fund Study Commission for over a decade.
Throughout his life, Chick held strong interest in farming, public service and the Democratic Party. He spent his free time cultivating Christmas trees, landscaping plants and blueberries. He served as Chairman of the 1976-80 Transylvania County Commissioners and later as member and Chair of the Transylvania Board of Social Services for 10 years. Always a dedicated Democrat, he was awarded the Liston B. Ramsey service award in 2006.
Chick will be sorely missed by those who loved him and enjoyed his wit and wisdom. The family thanks the staff of Tore's Homes who served him this past year, especially Angie Zachery, for her special care and friendship.
A Celebration of his Life will be held at 4:00 P.M. on June 11 , 2016 at The Porter Center at Brevard College. Family will receive friends from 3:30 until 4:00.
Those wishing to donate memorial gifts should send them to the Brevard College Chick and Ruth Martin Endowed Scholarship, One Brevard College Drive, Brevard, NC 28712.
June 11, 2016
June 11, 2016