Vincent Charles Martina

July 16, 1936 - June 12, 2023
Vincent Charles Martina

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Vincent Charles Martina, who left his most indelible marks as a loving father and impassioned Catholic, was born in Albion, New York, to proud Sicilian Americans Charles and Sara Martina. As the youngest of three children, Vin was close to his sisters Marilyn and Joanie.

Vin’s early fascination with flight – which he courted as a child with an umbrella from the second floor of a barn – ultimately led him to serve as a U.S. Navy officer and navigator for a reconnaissance P-3 squadron. His children reveled in his tales of tracking Soviet submarines at the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. A sustained interest in aviation led him to pursue private flight lessons later in life.

While Vin’s preference for playing and socializing led to meager early academic achievements, he found success at Le Moyne College, and there participated in theater, with a main role in a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear. After graduating, he worked for many years with his father, who was a serial entrepreneur in the grocery and theater businesses. When Charlie retired and they sold the theater business in upstate New York, Vin chose to pursue a lifelong interest in law. His intellectual gifts were revealed at Franklin Pierce Law School in New Hampshire, and he graduated at the top of his class. After passing the state bar he practiced law in Amherst, New Hampshire, for more than 20 years while building a successful title company.

Throughout his legal career Vin exhibited a spirited antagonism toward the abuse of judicial authority, and he embodied an oft cited bible passage, ‘it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,’ through his frequent pro bono advocacy.

Although shrewd in his suspicions, Vin proved a ripe target for jest, often from his brother-in-law Earl on the golf course, and pranks levied against him by his children. Ultimately, it was his full-bodied laugh – a guffaw that would devolve into a joyful wheeze – that motivated those antics through the years. As a result, many good stories were created. He knew how to laugh, and laugh he did, even at his own expense.

So much of his marriage with Susan, his wife of 24 years, was marked by this humor and companionship, culminating in some of the happiest years of his life. The pair spent many weekends traveling the East Coast with a close-knit group of four couples they dubbed their “golf family” in a quest for freeways and friendship. A devout Catholic, Vin found purpose in his final few years after his move to Wilmington in his local Catholic men’s group where his presence and wisdom was celebrated and appreciated.

Vin is survived by his four children with his first wife Barbara – Liza, Anthony, Max, and Michael; his wife Susan; his sister Joanie O’Neill; and five grandchildren, Peter (22), Zoe (19), Elliot (15), Sawyer (13), and Rhys (10).

A funeral mass will be held 12:00 PM, Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at St. Therese Catholic Church, 209 S Lumina Ave, Wrightsville Beach, NC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Vin’s name to Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, Wilmington, NC.

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  • June 22, 2023
    Joann F says:
    My dear Vinny, How I’m gonna miss you my dear friend is beyond words. Even though we only met a few years ago in bowling, your the best teammate any one can ask for. You showed up ever week,even if you felt under the weather. You were a walking phenomenon at Ten Pin alleys. People were shocked at your age.”,how much younger you looked) and then in awe of how well you bowled . Being in your late 80’s and averaging around 170 was outstanding. I will miss gabbing with you about-religion,saints,apostles and life in general . You were intelligent,admirable,respectful and all around a wonderful friend. I will miss you terribly and will pray for you ,Susan and your family Love joann f

  • June 19, 2023
    Charles Gabriel says:
    Claudia and I feel blessed to have known Vincent “Vinny” Martina, even for just a short time. We were probably orbiting him when we first met Susan in early ‘22, and Vinny practiced Tai Chi in a dappled-shade section of Long Leaf Park. And we were even drawn to the feisty Charlie, since our own three young pups were of the same breed. We hit it off quickly, and Susan invited us to meet Vinny and try out the first of 10 eateries we visited in a regular early-supper club. I’ll never forget Vin’s initial testimonial, complete with a long list of maladies he’d conquered over the decades, his Sicilian origins, his sons, his faith and his legal career. We absolutely loved the 2:30/3 pm dining slot, and quickly assumed it the secret to how he stayed so astoundingly vital. Along with his love for Susan, which was evident and deep. He had the charm and class of David Niven, but the energy and swagger of Clark Gable. He had us laughing from the first minute, unlike any other individual we’ve met. Susan had told us he was having a relapse of ill health this spring, and we ‘d become a bit more anxious, praying for him. Somehow we’d hoped he’d live forever — as we see he will given the other beautiful tributes we’ve read alongside this one. All we can say is, we love you, Vinny. Thanks for coloring our world. And we promise to be there for Susan as we toast your love and memory in days ahead.

  • June 19, 2023
    Louise & Jerry says:
    The "golf family" has greatly missed Vinny, especially the Tuesday guys group, since the move to Wilmington. We will treasure the memories of our wonderful trips in NH and Canada and HHI.... always lots of laughs and good times.

  • June 19, 2023
    Larry Johnson says:
    Even though I only had just met Vin since he moved to Wilmington NC. His smile and quick wit was infectious. I told him I always wanted a Cousin Vinny and from that day on he was "Cousin Vinny". You will be missed my friend ! Cousin Larry and Leslie

  • June 19, 2023
    Gregory Knapp says:
    Vinny truly loved God and shared his joy in being reciprocated in kind by Him. He was humble and inspiring, and I am blessed to have known him and had him as a friend. I came to know who he was --- more by what I would say to him --- than by what he said to me. Vin was happy; it was a delight to be in his presence, with his ear-to-ear smile, ready laugh, and the booming baritone. He came prepared with pearls of wisdom for our edification on Saturday mornings at St. Therese’s Men’s Meetings. Vin was erudite and he listened, a rare combination. In his wisdom he was forever gently beseeching us to ‘GROW.’ Whenever he and I would talk or write to each other, there seemed to be a greater Company present. I always felt He joined us in our collaborations. Vin loved his wife Susan dearly and treated friend and stranger the same --- as God’s children. I admired his creative way of living his telos; he elevated all whom he knew. I hope and pray I see him again one day, where I know he is. One of a kind, Vin Martina. Rest in your eternal reward, my good brother. May God bless and keep Susan and your loved ones.