Jim "Pee-Wee" Martin laid to rest
Jim “Pee-Wee” Martin, a decorated WWII veteran and Greene County native who died Sept. 11 at the age of 101, was laid to rest Wednesday morning.
Martin was a member of the 506th Parachute Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, known as the “Screaming Eagles.” The 101st was popularized in 2001 by the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.
Martin 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 a brand new concept.
Martin had personally requested Governor Mike DeWine say something at his funeral, and DeWine did.
“I came here today first as a friend, a friend of 50 years,” DeWine said. “But I also came here to represent the people of the state of Ohio because he was a hero, and we need to say thank you.”
The two met 50 years ago when the governor had been a prosecuting attorney in Greene County and Martin had been a concerned citizen. While DeWine can’t quite remember what the issue Martin had raised had been,
“I learned very quickly that you never want to have an argument with Jim unless you knew the facts, unless you knew the law, because Jim always knew the law and he always knew the facts,” DeWine said with a laugh.
DeWine also reflected on Martin’s devotion to his family, friends, and community. During the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, Martin had reached out to DeWine to give him some friendly encouragement.
“At the height of the pandemic, you know, he wrote me several letters, just words of encouragement,” DeWine said. “That meant a lot to me that Jim would do that.”