Thomas (Tom) R. Martin, a long-serving South Bay community leader and field representative for several elected officials, passed away this morning at the age of 61 after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Tom was a prominent figure in the South Bay and Beach Cities for over thirty years, serving as a field representative to former State Senator Bob Beverly for twenty-six years and as a field deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe for nine years.
He was a California native, attended grammar school in Manhattan Beach and finished high school in the South Bay. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 1967 with a degree in Political Science and Public Administration. After a tour of duty in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War, Tom returned to the South Bay to work for Senator Beverly from 1969 to 1996. He joined Supervisor Knabe’s staff in 1996 and served until his battle against cancer forced his retirement in 2005.
Tom was involved in numerous community service clubs and organizations, including the Navy League, Rotary, The City of Hope, YMCA, South Bay Symphony Association, Redondo Beach Beautification Committee, the South Bay Juvenile Diversion Project and the Jaycees. He once served as president of the Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council and Beach Cities Council on Aging.
He served a term as a trustee on the Beach Cities Health District. In 1994, he was named recipient of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year award, and in 2000 was honored by the Torrance Chamber of Commerce with the J. Walker Owens Outstanding Volunteer award.
In 1999, The Los Angeles Times featured an extensive ‘Column One’ profile of Tom and the unique aspects of his work as a field representative to an elected leader. More recently, over 100 community leaders, council members and Mayors gathered last month to honor Tom by dedicating the Lifeguard Headquarters on the Manhattan Beach Pier in his name.
Tom always displayed the qualities that are the foundation of a truly remarkable public servant – character, trustworthiness, honor, and courage. He used these attributes every day in his lifetime of service to the communities he loved so much, said Supervisor Don Knabe. Tom Martin was a friend and a professional in the truest sense.
Tom is survived by his wife Jeri, stepsons Brian and Jimmy, and stepdaughters Teri and Leisha. In lieu of flowers, the Martin family requests donations be made in Tom’s honor to the 1736 Family Crisis Center, (323) 737-3900, or the Los Angeles County Junior Lifeguard Program, (310) 939-7214.