Family, friends and firefighters paid tribute to W.L. “Nub” Martin Thursday.
The man who was instrumental in helping shape the Bastrop Fire Department for many years and pursued the initiative to secure benefits for its firefighters was laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery.
He died June 11 at the age of 84.
His casket sendoff included escort atop a 1955 American LeFrance engine starting from Cox Funeral Home.
District fire chief John Hattaway, who served starting in 1985 under Martin when he held the same title, described Martin as “everyman's grandpa.”
“He was gentle, a good man who you looked up to for guidance,” Hattaway said.
After working 15 years at the IP mill starting in 1948, Nub joined the fire department.
He would go on to mentor many new firefighters, including Johnny Moreland, who became close friends with him, enjoying bird hunting and fishing together.
“If I had a nickel for every mile I rode with him in a car, I'd own a new Cadillac. Never once did I hear him say one bad word about anybody,” Moreland, a pallbearer in the funeral, said of Martin.
Moreland said that Martin and another former fire official, the late Walter White, were persistent in lobbying elected officials in the state's Capitol to include the town's fire department into its pension system when there were a lot of doubters due to its financial costs.
“He had a quiet demeanor, but he meant what he said though it was never abrasive,” said Moreland.
Martin was an avid baseball player, fan and coach. He was supervisor of the Dixie Major's Baseball Association.
Martin, born in Brookhaven, Miss., held particular loyalty to athletics at Oak Grove High, where he was a volunteer coach; he was a recipient of the Bob Harp Award for contributions to service and youth in Bastrop.