By Mike Barnhardt
“Well, Squire ....”
“Well, my boy ...”
The voice is unmistakable. So is the calm demeanor and true caring nature.
And you can bet that if you ever stood before his bench, Judge Lester P. Martin Jr. gave a fair and just verdict.
And for those lucky enough to have Elizabeth Martin as a teacher, she’s probably your favorite.
On Thursday, at the 132nd annual Masonic Picnic, Lester P. Martin Jr. and his wife Elizabeth were honored. Humble people, it wasn’t their idea. He even tried to get one of the speakers to stay at home.
But they sat on the storied stage and smiled in approval as speaker after speaker told of stories of their kindness and goodwill to all things - two- and four-legged.
Grady McClamrock Jr. was a neighbor on North Main Street in Mocksville for years, and said as soon as he heard the word “Squire,” he knew the judge was making the greeting.
“They’ve been friends to me as long as I’ve been here,” he said.
Most everyone who has met the couple can say the same.
Mocksville Mayor Dr. Francis W. Slate presented the couple with a framed resolution, adopted by county commissioners and town boards in Mocksville, Bermuda Run and Cooleemee.
“If you look around Davie County, you will not find a couple more deserving of honor and recognition,” Slate said.
Their accomplishments were too many to list, McClamrock said.
Martin was the second person from Davie County to become an Eagle Scout. He was a World War II hero, surviving behind enemy lines when his plane was shot down. He was an attorney for 20 years, a member of the N.C. House of Representatives for two terms, a district court judge, chief district court judge and superior court judge.
A lifelong Mason (The picnic is an annual event sponsored by Masons to support a children’s home and a senior citizens home.), Martin advanced through the ranks to become Grand Master of the North Carolina Lodge. He served as chair of the Appalachian State Board of Trustees.
His most important accomplishment came in 1951, McClamrock said, when he married ...