Captain Ralph K. Martin passed away peacefully at home on July 9, 2021. He was born in Pittsburgh, PA on November 18, 1942, the first child of Drs. Albert Martin, Jr. and Phyllis C. Martin.
Captain Martin was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in June 1964. He served duty in Vietnam USS DAVIS (DD-937) and USS HERBERT J. THOMAS (DD-833). Later, he served as Commanding Officer aboard USS CHEHALIS (PG-94), as Executive Officer aboard USS LEWIS B. PULLER (FFG-23), and as Commanding Officer of the AEGIS cruiser USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CG-57).
From 1972 to 1975, Captain Martin was assigned in the Office of the Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, for Strategic Arms Negotiations, where he served as an advisor to the U.S. SALT Delegation in Helsinki, Finland and Geneva, Switzerland. He also served as the representative of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, negotiating procedures for the dismantlement and replacement of strategic weapons systems with Soviet representatives in the SALT Standing Consultative Commission.
Personal U.S. decorations awarded to Captain Martin include the Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal.
Captain Martin retired from active duty in the U.S. Navy in July 1994, after 34 years in uniform. From 1996 to 2003, in “retirement”, Captain Martin administered HUD grants in the state of New York, assisting low income households become home owners. In 2005, he moved to the South Carolina Lowcountry where he initiated “Granddad Boot Camp” for grandsons, Will, J.D., and Matthew Monts.
In 2013, Captain Martin set up RKMARTIN Enterprises, LLC, where he was “Clerk of the Works” managing the properties for 80 Lowcountry home owners.
Captain Martin is survived by his loving wife, Adele S. Martin, and two daughters, Michelle Pennell and husband, Brian, residing in Bluffton, SC, and Noelle Vail, residing in Burke, VA. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Will, J.D., and Matthew Monts and Taren Suraci and her husband, Anthony, and one great granddaughter, Dylan Suraci. He is also survived by two stepsons and their families, David Morris residing in Beaufort, SC, and James Metz residing in Anderson, SC. He is also survived by his sister, Patricia Donner, residing in Greenville, PA and his brother, Richard Martin and his wife, Joy, residing in Placerville, CA.
Captain Martin will be laid to rest at the Beaufort National Cemetery following a private ceremony. Please join the family for a reception which will be held in the upstairs Chart Room at the South Carolina Yacht Club, 10 Yacht Club Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC from noon to 2:00 pm on Sunday, July 18.
The family would like to express deep gratitude to Crescent Hospice-Beaufort office for their compassionate care. The family requests, in lieu of flowers, that memorial contributions be made to Crescent Hospice-Beaufort office, 2208 Mossy Oaks Road, Beaufort, SC 29902 or to the Military Officers Association (“MOAA”) Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1824, Merrifield, VA 22116-9917 or on-line at https://www.moaa.org/donate.