Friday, 01 October 2010 00:00
Robert A. Martin, 89, who grew up in Garden City and Amityville, died of cancer in Bend, OR, at an assisted living facility.
In the 1960’s one of Robert Martin’s jobs as head of employment at Hughes Aircraft Company was compiling a team to build the first U.S. spacecraft to make a soft landing on the moon, Surveyor I.
Martin’s brother-in-law, Reginald Bellantyne, 87, of Westbury, said, “At the time, it was very difficult to find engineers to do that kind of work. I know he always was very proud of what the thing accomplished.” Many experts believe that Surveyor’s landing in June 1966 is credited for having set the groundwork for the Apollo mission.
Martin graduated from Garden City High School and attended Colgate University before joining the Navy. “He was on the USS Killen when the destroyer was damaged by a kamikaze pilot in 1944,” Ballantyne said.
After being discharged in 1947, he left Long Island. He attended Northwestern University and the University of Southern California earning a master of business administration degree. He worked for Hughes from 1951 retiring in the mid-1970s. He moved to Bend from California about 10 years ago.
Martin is survived by his sister Constance Ballantyne, 86, of Westbury and several nieces and nephews.
A service was held at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Bend. Burial Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, OR.