Bill Martin

CLASS OF 1954

I moved from Springhill to Minden in 1952, when my dad became the chief deputy of J. D. Batton. When I lived in Springhill, we lived out in the country and the only interaction I had with the kids after school was playing football. At that point, of course I was on the Jr. team. I knew John David fairly well because his dad and my dad were very good friends. He lived in town, but I had an electric football game which he and I played with from time to time. We played more sandlot football than anything else during that time. He was, of course, a much better ball player than I was, so during my sophomore year he was already dressing out with the varsity even though he did not get play much that year.

When I moved to Minden, the first thing I did was find out about playing football. That was the first or second year for Coach Doherty. I cannot begin to explain how much positive influence he had on my life. I was amazed at the determination he had. When Springhill beat us that first year, I remember him making the statement "that would not happen again" and it didnít. I think the fact that he and the other coaches took more interest in me than had been the case in Springhill, caused me to make more lasting and stronger friendships in Minden in two years than I did in Springhill in fifteen years. This, of course, apart from family. The fact that I lived in town in Minden and had more social interaction probably also accounted for this to a large degree. My memories of fellows such Ken Beck, John Adcock, Jonathan Aarons, James McCabe, Billy Kidd, Graydon Kitchens, Red Couples, and Charles Hennigan , just to mention a few, are much more defined than my memories of John David.

I played center and right side linebacker during the my two years at Minden. Needless to say, I never caught the eye of the pro scouts. I was pretty much an average player, but I enjoyed the game. Iím sure I gave coach Doherty a few gray hairs by not being as focused as he would like.

The coach at Springhill was named W.D. Baucum. He was pretty good coach, but I think he just stumbled into a treasure trove of players such a John David.

After being graduated from high school at Minden, I went to Louisiana Tech. I met and married Helen Cain of Jonesville, La. in 1957. I finished college in January of 1960 and began teaching at Shongaloo High School. I taught there one and a half years and then went into the Air Force to fulfill a lifetime desire to fly. I was dual rated as a navigator and Electronic Warfare Officer. I was in Strategic Air Command most of my career and flew B-47s, B-52s and B-58s. I had eighteen months in Vietnam and S.E.Asia. I flew 42 combat missions and served with the Advanced Echelon of the Strategic Air Command in Saigon. During this time, Helen and I had three children and moved around to almost every part of the country. We currently have seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

I retired in 1980 as a Lt. Col. after 20 years and moved on to a career as marriage and family therapist for over 20 years in San Antonio, Texas. In 1998, Helen and I moved to Nixa, Mo. All the children are located within a two hour drive and we have firmly established ourselves in the Ozarks. I currently teach Sunday School and counsel one day a week for our church. The rest of the time, I work very hard at being retired.

Bill Martin