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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Joseph E. Martin, USAFAugust 17, 1934 – April 16, 2012
Waterville-Joseph E. Martin, 77, of Oakland, died peacefully on Monday morning, April 16, 2012, after being diagnosed with cancer in December 2010.
He was born August 17, 1934, in Van Buren, Maine, the son and 16th child of William and Rita Anna (Lajoie) Martin. He attended Waterville schools after moving here from Van Buren in 1948 and graduated with the class of 1954 from Waterville High School. In high school, he played football and ice hockey. Joseph was also in the Maine Air National Guard in Bangor assigned to the 132nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron as a mechanic, which met twice a month. He was honorably discharged.
Upon graduating from high school, he was enlisted in the USAF for 4 years, 1954-1958. He was assigned a helicopter crew chief mechanic and conducted missions at the Atomic Testing Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands, South Pacific and at the Nevada Atomic Test Sites. He also served on the DEW line (Early Warning Radar System) in Northern Canada. He received the Good Conduct Medal and was honorably discharged.
After the USAF, he enrolled at East Coast Aero Technical School in Bedford, MA for 4 years under the G.I. Bill, and received his certificate to become an FAA Aircraft power plant & Airframe mechanic. He then proceeded to work at Kaman Aircraft Company in Windsor Locks, CT, as a Helicopter Production Line Mechanic. Due to a lay-off, he came back to Maine and met his wonderful wife, the former Marie Vigue of Oakland, and they were married on August 21, 1965.
Joseph then went to work for the Maine Dept. of Transportation (Motor Transport Service) in Augusta as a welder-mechanic for 26 years, with the last 16 of those years as a fabrication foreman of the Welding & Fabrication Dept. He was a certified welder and certified crane inspector and worked on high pressure steam boilers. He was also a member of the Army National Guard 112th AVN. Co. as an E5 working in helicopters and ground control approach radar systems as a mechanic, and was honorably discharged.
While in high school, he would walk to the airport on weekends and help out cleaning airplanes and doing odd jobs, in the hopes of getting free rides. Every time he earned $10.00, he would take a flying lesson, and soloed after 8 hours of instructions. Flying an airplane was his dream and he became a licensed pilot.
He enjoyed bowling and singing with the local church groups and the Treble Clef Choral Society back in the 1960-70-80’s, and boating on Snow Pond in Oakland, but, his biggest hobby was to make model airplanes and give them to local kids and the Civil Air Patrol (C.A.P.), of which he was a member in the 1950’s. It was the C.A.P. that got him interested in the USAF and airplanes.
He was a member of the American Legion Post No. 5 in Waterville. He was also a communicant of the former St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Oakland and current Corpus Christi Parish of Waterville. He served on the parish Council and drove the C.C.D. bus back in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Joseph was predeceased by his parents, 3 sisters and 10 brothers.
Survivors include his loving wife of 46 years, Marie, and his daughter Kimberly (Martin) Gilbert and husband Paul; two beautiful grandchildren whom he loved very much, Jennifer & Gregory Gilbert, all of Merrimack, NH.; two brothers, Rene Martin of Waterville, and Aurele Martin of Glastonbury, CT.; many nieces, nephews and cousins.
At Joseph’s request there will be no visiting hours. A mass of Christian burial will be held 9 A.M. Monday, April 23, 2012 at Notre Dame Catholic Church, Silver Street, Waterville with burial at the Maine Veteran’s Cemetery, Mount Vernon Road, Augusta to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Make-A-Wish Foundation, 477 Congress St., Suite M1, Portland, ME. 04101 or to a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Veilleux Funeral Home, 8 Elm Street, Waterville.
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