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Army retired CWO Teddy Gail Martin, the youngest of 13 children, joined his family’s ranks in Pocatello, Idaho on August 26, 1933 and marched into heaven on October 1, 2019 ending his final battle in a list of many wars meriting him many military awards including 5 Bronze Stars, the Meritorious Service Medal and several Purple Hearts.
He lost his mother, Rose Lena Curtis Eckersley, when he was one and later orphaned at 9 years of age after the death of his father, John Alfonzo Eckersley. At first, he was sent to live with his mother’s bother and his family. When that didn’t work, he was sent to an orphanage in Idaho, which he hated, seeing himself a prisoner. Not long after living there, he was assigned the job pruning the hedges surrounding the orphanage. Determined to leave he found freedom by cutting through the tall hedge. Once freed he hitched rides back to his hometown. The warrior found and asked his father’s friend, who operated a gas station, to let him sleep in the back of the station on a cot. He helped in the station and began delivering newspapers both day and night to earn money, all the while faithfully attending school every day, so no one knew he was on his own.
He continued trooping through until, at fourteen, one of his older sisters spotted him delivering papers, stopped her car, ran to Teddy telling him she had been looking for him all the past years. He was welcomed into her home until he was called into military service at sixteen. Which is another story. He served six months in Korea until he was found to only be a high school student. He returned home and after graduating from high school he found he liked the service, which provided him an actual type of home. He rejoined the military and spent 22 years dedicating his life to his country in the US Army. He served in Greenland, three years fighting in Vietnam, where he was shot down three times while flying his helicopter. He served several years in Germany and other locations throughout the United States, finally retiring at Ft. Warden, Washington on assignment from Ft. Lewis, Washington. During his service the military provided him the opportunity to acquire his BA degree in Business from NYU.
While valiantly serving, he was stationed at Hanford Army Base near Richland, WA where he met the Martin family, and at the age of 35 they asked him if he’d like to be adopted, hence becoming Teddy Gail Eckersley Martin. It was also where he met his future wife and later, married Janice Lee Edgar, in the Hawaiian Temple in 1969, from which they had five children; Scott Royce, Anne Lorraine, identical twins Arah Lee and Amy Louise (Deceased), and Christopher Paul.
After retiring from the military in Washington State, he worked as a Maintenance Administrator for the Bellevue Athletic Club, the Derringer School District, and later The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he worked for 17 years and retired in 2003. Not wanting to stop marching, at the age of 80, he accepted a job with the Salt Lake City School District in Utah as a CTE van driver, finally leaving their service after being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer brought on by Agent Orange from his service in Vietnam.
Teddy would say, he loved the Army: it reared him, it nurtured him, it gave him the most satisfying years of his life besides that of his family and his faith in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is what kept him alive. Finally, he was called home from his last duty station. He never knew what it was like to be too old or too tired to do anything. He lived a full life serving both his country, church and his fellowman. Teddy loved to serve in the Church and cherished his calling in the Seattle Temple and attending temple sessions regularly while he lived in Salt Lake City. Teddy loved 100% Home Teaching and loved those he home taught and prayed over and served them often. He was faithful in his testimony of the Gospel to the end. A testimony which he shared with everyone he would meet.
Besides saluting farewell to his children, Teddy also leaves behind 8 grandchildren; Brandy Martin, Spencer Martin, Weston Martin, Carter Martin, Ryder Martin, Gage Martin, Bailey Shafer, Darin Cooley and 2 great grandchildren Isaiah and Brianna along with many dear friends and relatives.
One of Ted’s greatest loves was animals and while flowers are welcomed, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to any animal organization especially the SLCSD-CTE Guide Dog program.
Funeral Services will be held on Thursday October 10th at 11am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at: 1510 W. Parliament Ave, West Valley City 84119. A viewing will be held at the same LDS Chapel on October 9th from 6pm-8pm and from 9:30am-10:30am in the Relief Society room just prior to the funeral services. Interment: Utah Veterans Memorial Park. Tributes and messages to the family can be made at: www.holbrookmortuary.com