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Francis's Story

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Francis Lewis Martin, 86, formerly of Gary, WV, passed away at his home with his family by his side in Beckley, WV on July 22, 2017.
Born April 1st, 1931 in Gary, WV, he was the son of the late Napoleon B. and Effie Martin.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by siblings Willis (W.J.) Martin, Lucille Smith, Allen Martin, Napoleon Martin, Jr. and Henry Martin; and grand-daughters, Latasha Perkins and Ayana Patton.
He is survived by his loving wife, Ruth Oden Martin, and their four sons, Robert Allen Martin and wife Lesley Savin- Martin, Dennis Ray Martin, Francis Lewis Martin, Jr., and Kevin Lynn Martin. He is also survived by his siblings, Elizabeth Smith, Alice Martin, Fanny Smith, McKinley Martin, Phillip Martin and Pamela Butts; and great-grandson, Handsome "Roosie "Cuthbertson.
Francis lived most of his life in Gary, WV where he graduated from Gary District High School before serving in the United States Marine Corps. After his service in the military, he worked several decades for U.S. Steel at the preparation plant in Gary. As a coal miner, he selflessly devoted his time and energy to improving the working conditions and benefits for coal miners and their families. Francis was the first African- American to serve on the United Mine Workers of America's International Executive Board. He continued his union work after retirement, including traveling throughout the country as an active and engaged union organizer. He will be remember as a trailblazer and champion for union workers and their families. He worked tirelessly and never wavered in his beliefs.
He was deacon with Rock Hill Baptist Church in Gary. He was a generous family man, devoted friend with a strong conviction and faith in God; and an avid gardener. He made a difference in the lives of people in need of an advocate and champion for their cause. His legacy will carry on as his commitment and memorable speeches remain entrenched in the minds of all who were blessed to have known him.
The family is grateful to everyone who has reached out to them in so many ways during this time of bereavement. Funeral services will be held at 129 Rice Street, St. Paul Baptist Church, Beckley on Saturday July 29, 2017 at 11 A.M. Reverend Walter Leach will be officiating. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park, Bluefield, WV.
Arrangements are by Durgan Funeral Home Beckley.
Published on July 26, 2017
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