James "Ed" Martin passed away peacefully on Jan. 8, 2022 at the age of ninety in his
home in Hood River, Oregon. Ed jumped in his gasser, did a burn-out, and fixed his
eyes on the starting-line Christmas tree. When he saw green, he popped the clutch, put
the pedal to the metal, and hit the finish line on that great dragstrip in the sky.
Ed was born in Mabelvale, Arkansas on June 30, 1931. As a child he milked cows on
the family dairy farm until the Great Depression and the dust bowl forced the family to
head for California where they settled in Redondo Beach. At a local drag strip, barely
able to reach the pedals and see over the wheel, Ed learned to race hot rods. He
became a member of the Drifter car club which eventually was featured in Hot Rod
While working at Metlox Pottery in Manhattan Beach he met the love of his life,
Joyce. Together they spent the next seventy years loving, working, laughing, and
arguing. After losing all their savings on a "sure-thing" system for making big
money at the horse track and two years in the Army in Germany, Joyce and Ed
moved to Alaska and worked at Island Logging Company. A floating camp that
did A-Frame logging which pulled trees down to the water to be rafted and tugged
to the mill. It was anchored in many bays along the inside passage, primarily in
DeGroff Bay. They lived at the floating camp for several years where Ed worked
as a logger and Joyce worked in the kitchen. Ed suffered from cold feet and was
undoubtedly the first logger in Alaska to wear electric socks. Eventually, with their
son Marty needing to start school and the upcoming birth of their daughter Jamie
and in spite of finally having warm feet, Ed and Joyce moved to Sitka and opened
Tri-Ways Marina. It was located between ANB harbor and Sitka Sound SeaFoods.
In addition to usual marina activities, they repaired boat engines, sold sporting
goods, and the first Whalers, Honda motorcycles, and Schwinn bikes in Sitka.
With the birth of their youngest son Mitchell, Ed and Joyce started a new business
venture. A construction company that would champion affordable homes in Sitka
bringing the first modular home concept to town. Martin construction, which
eventually became Martin Enterprises, became a successful family venture for
over fifty years.
One of Ed's joys was all the trips to Aleutkina Bay aboard his 36 foot Unflite, The
Doo-Dah named after a horse racing song. From its stern he landed a 52 pound King.
He was never happier than when working on cars, and for the last twenty years he
restored numerous classic vehicles in his garages in Hood River, Oregon. Ed's last
words were, "I had an amazing life and am thankful for my family and their love."
Ed is survived by his wife, Joyce, his sister Muriel McElhaney, his children Marty and
Liza Martin, Jamie and John Licari, Mitch and Jill Martin. He is also survived by his
grandchildren Sydney and Cory Eubanks, Michelle and Scott Jones, Morgan and Mylan
Bruno, Vince Licari, Jacob and Aayrn Licari, Xavier Martin, Sofia Martin, and great
grandchildren Safaya Mann, Mason Martin, Joyce Bruno, and Athena Jones.