Don Anthony Martin passed away December 5, 2022. He was born to Roy Martin Sr. and Marguerite (Alexander) Martin on October 17,1936 on the farm east of Broughton Kansas. He attended Gatesville grade school and graduated from Clay Center High School in 1955. He was an outstanding athlete at Clay Center High School as a football All-American and All-State player his senior year. He was part of the state track & field championship team in 1955 competing in the 880 relay and high hurdles. He was recruited to play college football at SMU and Oklahoma but committed to Kansas State University to stay closer to his parents. He played football at KSU for four years and earned three varsity letters. He passed on opportunities to play in the NFL to pursue his passion for farming. He graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. The competitive drive that made Don successful on the football field was also important in growing his new farming operation.
When he started in 1959, he farmed 160 acres of rented land. Today he and his son, Tim, farm over 6000 acres. He was a pioneer in new technology to improve his farming operation. In 1967 his new automated cattle feeding system was featured in the Kansas Electric Famer magazine. He installed his first center pivot irrigation system in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s he started replacing flood irrigation with reversible center pivots, which reduced water usage and, more recently, installing underground drip irrigation. He purchased one of the first rotary combines in the late 70’s and now uses equipment with GPS guidance. He received the Kansas Young Farmers Beef Producer award in 1968 and the Star Young Farmer of Kansas Award in 1970. He and his wife Lois received the Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers award in 2015.
He was also a DeKalb seed dealer for many years.
Don was a lifelong member of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Clay Center. He was involved in 4-H growing up and continued his support throughout his life. Don and Lois were named Friends of 4-H in 2019, he was inducted into the Clay Center Tigers Hall of Fame, he was a member of the Elks and Kansas Young Farmers.
He met his wife Lois Jean (Wingate) when she was teaching at Clay Center High School. They were married on December 28, 1960, at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church and were married for 60 years.
Don is survived by his children, Francine Jo Martin of Topeka, Kansas; Roy Scott (Polly) of Aurora, Colorado; Angela Jean Martin of Manhattan, Kansas; Steven Bruce (Charity) Martin of Terrell, Texas; Melanie Marguerite Ramsey of Manhattan, Kansas; and Timothy Michael Pat (Roxie) of Clay Center, Kansas. He has eleven grandchildren: Andy (Tori), Emily, Tyler Martin; Matthew and Courtney Martin; Ryan and Cole Ramsey; Amanda (Jayde) Kolterman, Luke, Sarabeth, and Kelly Martin. He has one great granddaughter Madilyn JoAnne Kolterman. Also, brothers Noel (Vicki) and Max (Kathy); sisters Jeanne (Larry) Gagnon and Joan (Jerry) Davis; sister-in-law Mary Ann Martin and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by wife Lois, parents Roy Sr. and Marguerite, brother Roy Jr. and son-in-law David Ramsey.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday, December 16, 2022, at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church and burial will follow at the Greenwood Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 4:30 – 7 PM on Thursday, December 15, 2022, at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church with a vigil and rosary service at 7PM.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Don Martin Memorial Fund c/o the Neill-Schwensen-Rook Funeral Home. The memorial will be used for the handicapped restroom at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, staff appreciation at CCMC and Clay County 4-H.
This service will be livestreamed at https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCRxO13-eI6YzFaI-6HviVKg