NORMAN — Dr. Robert L. Martin, scholar, university administrator and gentleman, died Monday, May 27, 2013, at his home in Norman. He was born Jan. 15, 1928, to Leslie H. and Edna Martin in Wichita Falls, Texas, the youngest of four children.
He is survived by Daisy, his wife of 58 years; his daughter, Miriam Fulkerson and special friend Pedro Caliman of Norman; his daughter, Margaret Martin of Austin, Texas; his granddaughter, Sophie; his son-in-law, Richard Martin; and a brother and sister in Texas. This gifted and gracious man is also survived by his many friends who were nurtured by his wit, integrity and intelligence, and doubly blessed by his friendship.
Dr. Martin’s academic career was long and distinguished. After service in the United States Army, he completed a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and physics and a Master of Arts in history at Texas Tech University. In 1959, he was awarded a Ph.D. in history from the University of Oklahoma.
After serving on the faculty at Texas Christian University and Arkansas State University, where he was dean of arts and science, Dr. Martin was appointed president of Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts in Chickasha in 1967. There he was given the task of developing a true liberal arts college on the foundation of what had been Oklahoma College for Women. Dr. Martin’s vision, his openness to academic innovation and his deep understanding of the importance of the humanities in a college curriculum were formative in what is now the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
In 1973, Dr. Martin was named associate vice provost at the University of Oklahoma and had that office until his retirement in 1988.
Dr. Martin was a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Norman, where he served as vestry member, junior church warden and senior church warden. A passionate advocate for lay ministry in the church, Dr. Martin received the Bishop’s Award in 1994 from Bishop Robert Moody in recognition of his dedication and commitment to the Episcopal Church in Oklahoma.
For many years, Dr. Martin chaired the selection committee of the Episcopal Commission on Ministry for the state of Oklahoma (the committee with oversight of those preparing for ordination to the diaconate and priesthood in the Episcopal Church) and was the first layperson in Oklahoma to chair the commission on ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma.
In addition, Dr. Martin was a moving force in the establishment of the St. Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal ministry on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, serving both on its board and as chair of the endowment committee.
Services in celebration of the life of Dr. Robert L. Martin will be 2 p.m. June 8 at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Norman.
Memorials in Dr. Martin’s memory may be directed to Episcopal Relief and Development or the charity of your choice.