December 10, 2018

Obituary: James R. Martin, AIA

James Ralston Martin:  09/08/1954 - 07/12/2015

James Ralston Martin: 09/08/1954 – 07/12/2015

James Ralston Martin AIA, 60, of Essex, Conn., passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of Sunday, July 12, 2015 in Jackson, Wyoming.  ‘Jim’ to some, ‘Jimmy’ to others was born in White Plains, N.Y., on September 9th, 1954 to Ruth Christine Wetzel and Charles Ralston Martin.  He is survived by his four children; Tess, Madison, Alden, and Jacob, older brother Dean, and granddaughter; Svea Brosnan.   He was an inspiring spirit, family man, and friend to all he knew.

James was an extremely passionate person and placed his family and their happiness above all other things.  He was extremely talented and accomplished in his career as an architect.  He is responsible for the design and planning of many university campuses, labs, and homes in Connecticut and around the country.  He was an avid sailor who had a deep passion for the sea.  He crewed on Amistad and was very proud to call the crew his dear friends.  He was a beautiful painter, chef, hiker, skater, and most certainly a technology and robotics enthusiast.

Greater than his worldly accomplishments was his deep and endearing love for his family. There has never been a more caring, engaged, responsible and “hands on” father than Jim Martin. He was the rock that held the larger Martin Family together. Jim was a shining example of love and sacrifice for those he loved and cared about. Beyond family he was always there for his family of friends whom he met from all over the world.

Jim was deeply proud of his children; they were his reason and inspiration in life.  Jim also loved and cherished his relationship with Robbi Grayson, his “significant other”, he was over the top in love with his granddaughter Svea and his best friend “Sir George” who he loved to walk every day in Essex Village and many began to associate with Jim.

Jim’s childhood homes included Largo, Fla., Mountain Lakes, N.J., and at age 12 his family moved to Westerly, R.I.  He attended college at Franconia College in Franconia, N.H., a place that provided wonderful friendships he has maintained to this day with only one month until his 40th Franconia reunion.  He went on to study sign language at Gallaudet School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C. and passed this on to his children, who signed before they could speak.  He then went to Ithaca, N.Y., where he attended Cornell University and received a his degree in Architecture.  Jim arrived in Essex, Connecticut for a job interview after graduating from Cornell, fell in love with the town, and raised his family there. Jim was very invested in the community. He served as a Town Selectman as well as on the Zoning Board of Appeals.  He continued to live in Centerbrook, a village of Essex, on a beautiful, magical piece of land with his children and all the many people he loved, a special haven where he would live for the remainder of his life.

The family will receive loved ones, friends, colleagues and all who Jim touched on:
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 at 2 p.m. at Centerbrook Meeting House, 51 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT.

A more informal ceremony will follow at:
Pettipaug Yacht Club, 145 River Road, Essex, CT

Jim’s greatest desire was to see his children complete their higher education; to that cause the family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to:
The James Martin College Fund, c/o Liberty Bank, 7 Main Street, Essex, CT 06426

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