By Jeff Gallatin
To colleagues in Bay Village city government, retired city council President
T. Richard “Dick” Martin was the epitome of class and a key in their reaching current and future positions.
Martin, 81, a retired financial adviser, died Sept. 20. He was appointed to city council in 1967, when the positions were at-large. He became council president in 1972, a post others said he held with distinction until he he retired in 2005.
“He was Mr. Bay Village,” Bay Village Law Director Gary Ebert said. “He always had the best interests of the city and its people in his heart.”
Ebert, who was a city councilman prior to becoming law director, said Martin was much more than a colleague.
“He was a great adviser and colleague who helped me on my way in city government,” Ebert said. “Whenever someone came to city council, whether he agreed or disagreed, Dick would make sure that that person had a chance to air their view of whatever issue it was. No one could ever say he didn’t give them a chance to be heard. Both old and new members of the Bay Village community speak highly of Dick because he always treated all other people fairly in whatever he did.
“Personally, he and his wife Betsy were great friends to my wife Pam and myself,” Ebert said. “They were like second parents to us. We would travel to conferences and events together. This is very tough for us and a lot of other people.”
Mayor Debbie Sutherland said Martin was crucial to the city’s development.
“Bay Village would not be the city it is today without Dick Martin,” she said. “He always was there helping and guiding the city along on many issues to make sure it was best for the community in the long run.”
Sutherland, who served on council with Martin, said he was vital to her attaining her current position.
“I wouldn’t have succeeded Tom Jelepis as mayor without his support and encouragement to me,” she said. “He was always available for advice and a good thought.”
Current city council President Brian Cruse lauded Martin as a friend and mentor.
“I’ve only held the position since he retired,” Cruse said. “I don’t think anyone could truly replace him as council president. He always had good, sound counsel for anyone who needed good advice.”
Current Ward 2 Councilman Paul Koomar, who is running unopposed to succeed Cruse as council president in 2012, also appreciated having Martin to learn from.
“I absolutely will be using a lot of what I learned from him when I take the position next year,” he said. “How he treated people in general, how he ran the meeting and made sure all sides of an issue were heard. He was a great example of a public official.
City Clerk Joan Kemper also appreciated her time with Martin.
“He was always a perfect gentleman with me and in how he treated others,” she said. “His meetings were always run wonderfully and covered everything in a professional way. He was so very easy to work with on all parts of city business.”
Ebert said there will be a memorial service at noon Oct. 10 at the Bay Presbyterian Church.
“It will be a good way to honor him publicly for all he did for people,” Ebert said.