Martin Flory Group mourns death of founder

GURNEE, Ill. – Martin Flory Group, newly merged with Jerry Martin Co., reported the death of its founder, Jerry Martin, in a statement earlier this week.

Jerry died peacefully at home on Friday, June 15, the PR firm stated. He had been ill for some time, but “continued to find energy in the activities of his beloved marine industry.”

Jerry started in the boating business in 1955, as Johnson Motors’ first sales promotion manager. He recognized a need for a liaison between manufacturers and boating magazine editors, and founded Jerry Martin Co. in 1962, which now is celebrating 45 years in business, according to the company. He also experimented with marine retailing by building Johnson’s hometown dealership, The Boat Show and Camping Center, in Gurnee, Ill. in 1964.

This led to a life-long passion for carving out a well-deserved place in the industry for retailers, the company said. He was among the founders of the Marine Retailers Association of America, and served as its director of development for many years.

When the Outdoor Writers Association of America was re-energized in the mid-1960s, he served as a financial liaison to put the organization on firm footing. He was recognized for his dedication to the industry many times over the years, according to Martin Flory Group. Of special importance to him was the Irv Rosenthal Award from MRAA. He also received the Mel Barr Award from the National Marine Representatives Association. As one of the earliest charter members of Boating Writers International, he was awarded a Lifetime Membership in 1997, one of only 6 individuals to earn this distinction.

“He also found great reward in traveling the world as a quasi-ambassador for boating,” Martin Flory Group stated. “Jerry was instrumental in the first boat show to take place in Malaysia, as well as exhibiting at the first Shanghai show. He was a true fixture on the international marine scene.”

Jerry and his daughter Laura announced the merger of their PR businesses, an event that brought great joy to both, the day before his death. He relished some of the early congratulations, the company reported.

Jerry was 79 years old. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara, his 7 children, 12 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Services are pending.

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