Robert Leroy Martin, 86, passed away on Dec. 16, 2020, at his farm in Moro, Ore. Bob was born on July 5, 1934, in Sherman County, the first of two sons to Orlow and Helen Martin. He was a lifelong resident of Sherman County and the fifth generation of the Martin family to farm in the Moro area.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Dean, his daughter, Tammy, and his wife, Kate. Bob is survived by his children Wendy (Bob) Freitag, Vicky Martin, Bob W. (Sherrie) Martin, Julie Minshall, Rich (Marcy) Minshall and Leslie (Jacinto) Hiebert, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Bob Martin’s life highlights a person guided by what makes the agricultural communities across our nation great — leadership, community service and a focus on preserving and improving our agricultural and natural resources.
Bob graduated from Moro High School in 1952 as senior class president. He was a star football (quarterback), basketball and baseball player. Athletics was very important to him his entire life. He enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren play many sports and remained a lifelong avid football and basketball fan.
Bob attended Willamette University, majoring in engineering. He married in 1955 and helped farm his wife’s family farm, the Ellen McLeod Sommers Farm (century farm) near Kent for more than 30 years.
After he began helping his parents farm the Leroy H. and Amanda Martin Farm in Moro (1886 century farm), Bob also began working for Sherman County Soil Conservation Service, which became National Resource Conservation Service. Bob was on an Oregon statewide panel that provided oversight and direction for the future of the agency. Bob dedicated 11 years (1990-2001) of service to NRCS and loved every minute!
Bob remarried in 1988 and spent 18 very happy years with Kate. They enjoyed living on the ranch, traveling and spending time with family.
Bob’s development as a leader started early in life as a 4-H beef club member. As an adult, he served as a 4-H beef club leader, superintendent of the county fair beef barn, and president of the Sherman County Leaders Association. He guided his own children through 4-H activities for two decades.
Bob was a member of the Sherman County Fair Board for 15 years, serving as president every few years. He and Kate were named grand marshals of the Sherman County Fair in 2001. He reprised this role, along with his mother, Helen, and other past grand marshals in 2009 for the fair’s 100th anniversary.
Bob raised Hereford cattle on the family ranch in Kent from 1955-1985. He was an Oregon Cattlemen’s Association member and served as president of the Sherman County chapter multiple years. He was also chairman of a Long-Range Livestock Planning Board to help improve the quality of beef raised in the county.
Bob and his first wife Sharon bred and showed registered quarter horses for 30 years. He was a member of the American Quarter Horse Association. They had one AQHA champion, Princessa Nan. Bob was also a member and president of the Sherman County Riders. His industry knowledge led him to serve for a decade as the ring steward at the Ellensburg Quarter Horse Show.
Bob served on the school boards for Kent Elementary School (15 years) and Sherman Union High School (nine years) with several rotations as Chairman.
As a member of the Oregon Wheat Growers League for more than 60 years, he was county president from 2004-2012, receiving an OWGL award for Outstanding County President in 2010.
Bob loved farming, harvesting his own crop until he was 84 and still driving his tractor as often as he could! He never fully retired. Bob was awarded the Diamond Pioneer Award in 2017, a fitting tribute for a man who worked hard, was devoted to his profession and gave back in multiple ways through his work and volunteer service.
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” — Robert Collier
The family suggests donations for a memorial scholarship be made to the Sherman County Scholarship Association, PO Box 3, Moro, Oregon 97039.
A celebration of life will be held in the summer of 2021 for family and friends.