Obituary: Lee Martin
Mr. Martin worked nearly 60 years at the company, which was founded in Elkhart by his maternal grandfather, Casper Schweitzer, in 1904. Mr. Martin served in various production and engineering functions, including management of the Nacogdoches, Texas, production facility, and building and managing the South Glens Falls, N.Y., production facility. He served with the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He was president of NIBCO from 1957-76, CEO from 1965-92, and chairman from 1976-95. “His greatest contribution to NIBCO was his devotion to manufacturing efficiency and his driven desire to be the lowest cost producer,” stated the company. “This relentless pursuit of excellence made NIBCO a leading worldwide manufacturer of valves and fittings in the commercial, industrial, and residential markets.”
Mr. Martin was presented the Lewis S. Armstrong Award by Indiana University — South Bend in recognition of distinguished achievement, leadership, and contributions to the advancement of business and quality of life in the Michiana area, and an honorary doctorate of law degree in 1997 from Indiana University — South Bend.
He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Indiana Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; General Management Council of the American Management Association; past president of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Information Bureau; past director of First National Bank of Elkhart; past director of Valve Manufacturers Association of America; director of Ameritrust Indiana Corporation; member of Indiana University — South Bend, Ind., Advisory Board; member of the Elkhart General Hospital Foundation; and former member of the Young Presidents Organization.
Mr. Martin co-founded and served as past director of The Martin Foundation, which contributes to educational and environmental causes. He was one of three founders and former board chairman of the Denver-based Samaritan Institute, a nondenominational, not-for-profit provider of counseling and wellness services. He was past chairman of the United Fund Campaign.
He is survived by his wife Geraldine Fitzgarrald, a sister, four children, and 10 grandchildren.
Publication date: 04/14/2003