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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