Walter Raymond Martin, 85, of Plains, died Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006, at the Clark Fork Valley Hospital.
He was born on June 20, 1920, in Florence, the son of Elijah B. and Grace (Peters) Martin. Walter grew up and attended school in Florence, where he lettered in basketball.
After graduating from high school, he attended CCC camp before entering the service. Walter enlisted into the U.S. Navy in Missoula on May 18, 1944. He served during World War II and was honorably discharged on Nov. 28, 1945, at Bremerton, Wash.
After his discharge, he spent a short time in California but soon found that he missed Montana. Walter moved back to Missoula, where he began working for the Northern Pacific Railroad. He married Ann Benson on March 17, 1950, and a daughter, Rosanne, was born to this union. They later divorced.
Walter retired from the railroad in 1964 and soon after purchased the Mint Bar in Plains. He married Helga Mostad in October 1972 in Polson. Together they continued to operate the bar and cafe until 1981. For several years they ran the bowling alley, and Walter also helped out at the golf course from time to time.
Walter was a lifetime member of the VFW as well as the director of the Montana Tavern Association. He was also active in the Democratic Committee and the Elks Club. Walter enjoyed golfing, hunting and fishing; he especially enjoyed spending time at his cabin on the Thompson River. Those who knew Walter knew he was a wonderful person with a big heart, despite the gruff exterior he showed. He will be missed dearly by many family and friends of the community.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Louie Martin; a daughter, Sharon Martin; 12 siblings; and a grandson, Jeromey Robbins.
He is survived by his wife, Helga; two daughters, Rosanne Haugen and husband Kelly of Libby and Debra Robbins and husband Chester of Spanaway, Wash.; three sons, Howard Martin of Plains, Jan Owens of Hamilton and Elroy Owens of Plains; 10 grandchildren, Heather Taylor, Shad Haugen and wife Kelly, Kelly Wiley and husband Todd, Shawn Robbins, Nicholas, Whitney Jo and Chelsea Owens, Lisa Hower, Christina Hanks and Ronald Christensen; 10 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, at Bunch-Toews Chapel in Plains. Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, at First Lutheran Church in Plains. Military graveside rites will take place at Plains Cemetery following the service. Arrangements are under the direction of Bunch-Toews Funeral Chapels.