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Dr. Lance Martin

Dr. Lance Martin was born at home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. on October 28th, 1918, in the tiny apartment above his father's laundry store in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and weighed with a laundry scale. Both parents were immigrants from Hungary.

A modern Leonardo, with a touch of Indiana Jones, his list of vocations and avocations begins alphabetically with architect, artist, author, aviator, anthropologist, adventurer, ... and would fill volumes. His formal education included three doctoral degrees, the latest in psychology, which he practiced into his eighties. After a few early years in Physical Anthropology, his professional career spanned mechanical and industrial engineering, holding titles such as Production Manager, Vice President, or President, at firms including Columbia Cable, Delta Brush, Papermate Pen, Rex Precision, and Yardney Battery. During World War Two, Lance Martin invented a variable-pitch selsyn drive for airplane propellors, donating the patents to the U. S. Army Air Corps, and serving on the War manpower Commission. For the 1964 Worlds Fair, DeCarolis-Martin (a partnership with a former student) designed and built more exhibits than any other firm.

Perhaps the most gratifying portion of his multiple careers was spent as an educator, dramatically and pivotally influencing the lives of countless students, as a teacher at Susan Wagner H.S. on Staten island, and as an Adjunct Professor at various colleges.

His avocations likewise spanned pursuits too diverse to enumerate completely. The true "amateur," performing primarily for the love of the thing, yet professionally and as a consummate perfectionist, these include oil painter, novelist, inventor (with several patents files), calligrapher, stage magician, flight instructor, and master of inland waters.

Reflecting this diversity, the organization memberships of Lance Martin include:

  • Daytop Village (Board of Governors),
  • Doctoral Society (Vice President)
  • Society of American Magicians,
  • Society of American Military Engineers,
  • Civil Air Patrol (Northeast Region Staff),
  • Long Island Early Aviators, OX5 Aviation Pioneers, and The Cradle of Aviation (Advisory Board)
  • Long Island Marine Association
  • Merrick REAP (Retired Energetic Active People)
  • Boy Scouts of America, National Eagle Scout Association, and Order of the Arrow.
During his early days as a physical anthropologist, he was formally adopted as a member of the Ponca Indian tribe of Nebraska, whose ancient dwellings he had unearthed and documented on a Columbia University "dig". Recently, Dr. Martin was inducted into the very exclusive group known as "Wise Gentlemen" and presented a well-received address to that gathering only a few months ago; his chair is now vacant.

He is survived by a younger brother, Eugene, now in Florida, and leaves three sons, Bruce, Kenneth, and Lance Jr. (Ronny), and two grandchildren, Adam and Crystal, all living on Long Island.


(Draft version, as of 2010 Nov 1.)



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Anthropological expedition:

"Dig Deep"

Ponca Stories

Smithsonian report on Ponca

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