Tommy Charles Martin

1937-2016

Tom Martin obitBorn July 17, 1937, in Ash Grove, MO. Tom was raised in Ash Grove, son of Leo and Permelia Martin. He stayed busy during his younger years helping various Uncles with their farming operations, mowing lawns, delivering newspapers and playing high school basketball in Ash Grove. These early activities shaped his lifelong work ethic. He married Judith Thompson on August 20, 1960.

After serving in the US Army for two years and rising to the rank of Second Lieutenant, Tom embarked on a 30-year career with the US Bureau of Prisons, completing his college coursework at Long Beach State University in Long Beach, CA. His career took him and his family to periods of residence in California, Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Tom’s last assignment was as the Warden of the Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno Oklahoma which he began in in January, 1980. He held this position until retiring in 1989. While in El Reno he became active and well known in the community holding leadership positions with the Chamber of Commerce and First Christian Church among many. His illustrious career in corrections was marked with many advancements and awards. He served on task forces and elite response teams that resulted in him being personally involved in many significant events managing the federal prison population.

Upon retirement, he quickly recommitted himself to new work as he managed the construction, staffing, contracting and opening of the first private correctional facility in Hinton, Oklahoma bringing many new jobs and economic life to Hinton. Later, with Corrections Corporation of America, he did the same at other new Oklahoma private prison facilities.

Tom will be remembered by those who knew him as a true servant leader. He was hard working, fair, honorable, virtuous, faithful, a true man of integrity. He relished time spent in his vegetable garden, watching sporting events, occasional golf games and volunteering with his church and other organizations.

Family members include his wife of 55 years Judith Martin: daughter Mitsy Martin-Davis, her husband Craig Davis and children Elyse and Cole (all of Midwest City). Son Mel Martin, wife Julie Ross-Martin, and children Lauren and Matt (all of Edmond).

After a short battle with Lewy Body Dementia, Tom has been set free.

A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 12th, at Southern Hills Christian Church, Edmond.

Gifts in memory of Tom may be made to Central Christian Camp Fund (1981) c/o Central Christian Camp, 1 Twin Cedar Lane, Guthrie, OK 73044, or the charity of your choice.

Comments

  1. I was fortunate enough to work for Tom as Associate Warden at El Reno in the mid 80’s. He was everything you could hope for in a boss. Caring, willing to teach, praised your accomplishments, didn’t dwell on your mistakes, fair and unwavering integrity. Much of the success that I enjoyed in the Bureau can be directly attributed to the lessons learned under Tom at El Reno. To Judy and family, our heartfelt sympathy. A wonderful man. Will be missed.

  2. So sorry I missed the funeral, I only learned of Tom’s passing this evening. Our paths crossed numerous times during our careers with the Bureau of Prisons, culminating in eight great years concluded with my retirement from FCI-El Reno, just a couple of years prior to Tom’s retirement. I have the utmost respect for him, both as a friend and as a supervisor. My prayers are with Judy and the family.

  3. Tom Martin was a very special person, a dedicated public servant, who continued to serve our community in many capacities long after his distinguished career as a Federal Employee.

    He will be missed by the members of the Edmond Chapter of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE Chapter 947). Our condolences to his wife Judith and the family.

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