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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
             Monday, October 14 2002  

UPDATE, April 5, 2009. Nanty Glo historian and former bureau chief of the Nanty Glo Journal Bill Martin died at 9:35 a.m. on Saturday, April 4. He had been admitted to Connemaugh earlier in the week with pneumonia related to congestive heart failure. The following profile by Judy Rose is from 2002.

Click here for Obituary | Eulogies: Jon Kennedy's | Judy Rose's

Bill Martin

Bill Martin in his milieu...
his Nanty Glo Journal office.

Mainline Newspapers' Nanty Glo Journal Bureau Chief Bill Martin is the subject of this week's profile. Born William Louis Martin March 9, 1939, "Bill," as he is known to the Blacklick Valley community, is the only child of Paul and Kathleen "Kitty" (Welsh) Martin. Bill is a 1957 graduate of the former Nanty Glo-Vintondale High School and his class was the first to graduate from the newly formed Nanty Glo-Vintondale joint school district, as he eagerly pointed out.

A childhood injury to his left eye resulted in a lifetime of poor vision and virtually no depth perception, so sports of any kind were not a part of Bill Martin's younger life. And although having learned to compensate for lack of good vision, it has required some minor driving adjustments. And as he jokingly states, "I pass people without seeing them."

A resident of Nanty Glo virtually his entire life, like many others he left the area briefly in the early 1960's to find employment. After his return to Nanty Glo, Bill was hired in 1964 to be the Bureau Chief of the Nanty Glo Journal, remaining in that position until 1974 when he left to work for the United Mine Workers of America as a loan investigator. He returned to the Journal in 1984, and although he was not working at the Journal between 1974 and 1984, he was "on call" if needed during his 10-year hiatus.

As a youngster, Bill was guided to reading by his mother. "From when I was a child, my mother read the comics to me using her voice to add sound effects as she read the Kats-n'-Jammer Kids using accents and using a deep voice for male characters." His love of reading continues to this day, with nonfiction heading his list of favorites. "I just liked the written word," he states. Nonfiction isn't his only favorite type of reading material, however. "I also love trivia...I have a mind that is full of useless information."

A few of Bill's friends have very kind and gracious things to say about him; "He is a very kind, loving, and gentle person and a very personal friend of mine since way back in high school," states lifelong friend and fellow Nanty Glo Beautification Committee member Barbara Leidy. "I never knew anybody who could remember so many different things the way he does, and his mother and father always made his friends feel welcome in their home."

The death of his mother in 1979 has left an unfillable void in Bill's life, and he speaks of her with great pride and affection, and a decade later his father passed away, a man whom Bill says was never reluctant to step in and protect him if need be. According to his Aunt "Nonie" Martin Kovach, "He's an all-around nice guy. He's always there for me...he was always a good friend to my mother and my niece Donna."

Recalls Home Page webmaster Jon Kennedy: "Bill was my first male friend in Nanty Glo, when my only other one was Caryl Rinehart. We met at Mitchell's Restaurant shortly after I started the teen column for the Journal. He was already graduated from high school and I was 15 when we met, so I also considered him an 'adult,' even though we're only three years apart. He and Kitty were the first to welcome me to their home and were fans of the column, sharing my enthusiasm for the town's teenagers in general, though Bill had to 'protect' me from threats by some of them several times. I think he was born to be the Journal bureau chief, an affiliation he has had longer than anyone else in the town's and paper's history. It's appropriate that the local history he so dearly loves has been shaped forever in such a big way by his contributions."

Along with reading, Bill loves and collects classical organ music and old post cards. "I am a deltaologist; that's a fancy name for a post card collector," a hobby that has earned him the position of vice president of the Greater Johnstown Post Card Club. Along with reading, organ music, and post cards, Bill loves history, especially the history of Nanty Glo. "The history of Nanty Glo has been a foundation all my life." Bill is currently on the Board of Directors of the Nant-Y-Glo Tri-Area Museum and Historical Society.

Favorite memories of growing up in Nanty Glo include, "Getting up at 5:30 a.m., helping my mother pack my Dad's miner's lunch bucket and waiting for him to come home at 3:30 to give me that soggy sandwich that he had with him all day in the mine...it had a flavor that no chef can duplicate. I remember going for walks with my mother along the streetcar line in May. I remember and miss the stage shows held at the theaters...and they can have their swimming pool, I'd rather go to Bathtub (a well known creek swimming spot for generations of local youngsters). I remember working at the Victory Theater. I'd let the kids sneak in for free; a lot of them would stand outside the theater pleading pennies from kids who could pay to get in. 'How about your extra penny?' they'd say. It was a poor town.

"I hope to spend the rest of my life and die here," he says of Nanty Glo, "but I don't expect it to recover its vibrancy of the past."

Anyone wishing to send greetings can find Bill at ronw5@floodcity.net.

If you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now, please write Judy Rose.

Today's groaner

Back in the day when sliced bread was a new invention, a baker had a problem. He needed to increase his output because everybody wanted their bread sliced. He found a cleaver that would cut two loaves of bread at one time, but it wasn't enough. He got one that would slice three loaves, but he still was having trouble. Finally, his luck changed; he found a four-loaf cleaver.

—Sent by Connie Cox

Thought for today

A friend who was an expert worrier said, "I gave up my worries when I realized that 50 percent of them concerned future events that I could not change, 45 percent concerned future events that might never happen, and the remaining five percent I turned over to the Lord, who knows how to deal with them better than I can."

Anthony M. Coniaris
Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth

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