George Harold “Hal” Martin, Jr., died at Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community in Asheville, NC on April 30, 2020. He was the eldest child of George H. Martin, Sr. and Mary Cleo Huguley Martin, born at home in Zebulon, Georgia on February 17, 1937. He grew up with his younger sister Mary Elaine “Laine” Martin in Griffin, Georgia, where the family owned and operated a dairy farm.
Hal met his wife, Nancy Christine Vegors, in the Griffin High School band, where he played trombone and she played clarinet. Hal graduated from Griffin High in 1955. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he played trombone in the band and was a photographer for the Technique, Georgia Tech’s student newspaper. Hal and Nancy married on May 29, 1961, and he earned his degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1962. Hal and Nancy raised their two daughters, Deborah and Sharon, in Stone Mountain, Georgia and gave them a love of travel through their many trips across the US.
Hal worked for IBM for 27 years, retiring as a Senior Communications Specialist, then performed similar work for Centron for seven additional years. He loved his work and was also passionate about ham radio and music. Hal built his own ham radios as a teen, becoming and remaining an avid ham radio operator (call sign KI4RD). Hal had the spirit of an educator and volunteer, preparing would-be ham radio operators for testing, administering tests and working many a parade route with his local ham radio club. He was also a dedicated volunteer with the Stone Mountain High School Band Boosters, where he encouraged his daughters and other students in their musical pursuits. Hal loved singing and was a faithful church choir member for many years.
After Hal and Nancy retired to a mountain home outside Brevard, NC in 2004, Hal began to play trombone again. He spent many happy hours practicing and performing with the Brevard Community Band. He and Nancy joined friends for hikes to waterfalls in Transylvania County, saw plays at Flat Rock Playhouse and went to concerts at the Brevard Music Center. Their four grandchildren share fond memories of time spent with their grandparents on Indian Camp Mountain and in the town of Brevard. Hal and Nancy were also active in the Brevard Hendersonville Parkinson’s Support Group for many years, as Hal had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2000.
They moved to their apartment at Deerfield in 2010 and have enjoyed the rich community experience there. Hal sang in the Deerfield chorus for a number of years, where he enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow music lovers. Nancy and the rest of Hal’s family are grateful for the care Hal received from Deerfield staff in Assisted and Skilled Care as his health declined due to Parkinson’s Disease.
Surviving family includes Hal’s wife of almost 59 years, Nancy Vegors Martin, daughters and sons-in-law Deborah and Jim Dickerson of Knoxville, TN, and Sharon and Mike Reed of North Augusta, SC, grandchildren Heather and Lauren Dickerson and David and Michal Reed, and sister Laine China of Salisbury, NC, as well as brothers-in law and spouses John and Ginger Vegors and Bob and Sue Vegors, all residing in Jackson, Tennessee. Hal is preceded in death by both his parents and an infant brother.
Services will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations to support Parkinson’s research be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 (michaeljfox.org), for music student scholarships to the Brevard Community Band, P.O. Box 1911, Brevard, NC 28712 (brevardcommunityband.org), or for Deerfield employees’ continuing education through the Danny Boone scholarship to the Deerfield Charitable Foundation, 1617 Hendersonville Road, Asheville, NC 28803 (deerfieldwnc.org/deerfield-foundation).
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