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Greene County World War II legend remembered, procession planned

A picture of a young PVt. Jim _Pee-Wee_ Martin, taken during WWII.JPG
Garrett Reese
A picture of a young Private Jim "Pee-Wee" Martin, taken during World War II

Jim "Pee-Wee" Martin died Sept. 11 at 101. He was a decorated World War II veteran.

The community joined family and friends Tuesday night to begin saying goodbye to Jim “Pee-Wee” Martin.

The decorated World War II veteran and native of Sugarcreek Township died Sept. 11 at 101.

The visitation and service Tuesday night was a few miles away from Martin’s home, which he built with his own two hands after returning home from the war.

It’s also where he died.

That home contains many memories for Jodi Martin, one of Pee-Wee Martin’s granddaughters. She says growing up, she wouldn’t have described her grandpa as warm and fuzzy.

“But now I know after I’ve learned more about what he experienced in World War II and the things they went through, if he didn’t have that disposition, he probably would have never survived,” she said.

Martin was a paratrooper in the 506 Parachute Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, famously known as the “Band of Brothers.”

He was among the last of what are known as the “Toccoa Originals,” the men who joined the 101st back in 1942 at its formation. At the time, paratroopers were an entirely new concept.

Martin got the nickname “Pee-Wee” for being the smallest man in his division. It was a nickname he wore proudly.

He was among those who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day in June 1944, and he fought through the European Theater until Victory in Europe Day in May 1945.

After the war, Jim Martin returned to Sugarcreek Township in Greene County, where he spent the rest of his life. He married, built the home they lived in, and grew his family.

Jodi Martin says in recent years, she got to see a new Grandpa Martin. He grew warmer.

A replacement jacket given to Martin after WWII.jpg
Garrett Reese
A replacement jacket given to PeeWee Martin after World War II.jpg

No matter what, she said, he was always positive. When he was knocked down, he got right back up. He was kind and smart, and always involved in his community.

And that community came out to say goodbye on Tuesday night.

A procession will head Tuesday from the Sugarcreek Township Administration Building to the Dayton National Cemetery, where Pee Wee Martin will be buried. The procession will begin at 9 a.m.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.