Obituary of J. Normand Martin
Bangor - On Friday, May 14th, 2021, J. Normand Martin of Bangor, Maine peacefully passed into eternity surrounded by members of his loving family. Born January 10, 1926, as the eleventh of fifteen children raised in Madawaska by their loving parents Denis and Alphonsine (Raymond), he and his siblings embraced and celebrated their proud French cultural tradition. Like many, the family endured scarcity through the 1930’s yet persevered with a thriving woolen mill and farm where they learned their lifelong, determined work ethic.
A talented artist since youth, Normand enrolled in the Boston School of Practical Art in 1944 and diligently worked to establish a successful career in the commercial advertising field, ultimately establishing his successful agency, Martin Ad Productions, in Bangor. His signature designs continue to capture attention across our region. He applied his skills to fulfill the promotional aspirations of many local businesses, including Northeastern Log Homes and Pilot’s Grill Restaurant.
In 1946, Normand met and later married the love of his life, Ann Patricia Morris of Falmouth, Maine. After moving to Bangor, he accepted a private commission to design Bangor’s famous Paul Bunyan Statue which was completed in 1958. He sculpted the 22-inch scale model in clay over a week on their kitchen table, then presented and collaborated with a New York City company to fabricate and erect the city’s iconic image in fiberglass and steel. Mr. Martin and other community-minded volunteers have seen to its maintenance ever since.
Normand and Ann raised five boys on Bangor’s Forest Avenue in whom they instilled their devotion to God, family, friends, and community. With help from his wife, boys and brothers, he renovated their home from top to bottom over forty years there. He fulfilled his youth-time pledge to provide his children the toys he imagined but was unable to fashion during the Great Depression. Among the favorites is a six-foot long WWII replica Jeep (“The Jeep”), also built in 1958, that the Martin children, their friends, and cousins rode with delight around Chapin Park for many summers. His great-grandchildren ride it to this day. Normand crafted an iron-framed swing set and slide that in winter propelled saucer riders through multiple bobsled-style curves around their backyard.
A devoted Catholic, Normand dedicated his talents and energy to Bangor’s St. John’s Catholic Church as a steady volunteer and visionary who in the 1990’s co-chaired its expansive Renovation Committee. A daily communicant, he expertly photographed St. John’s renowned stained-glass windows, published alongside academic commentary in “Meditations in Glass”.
In 1966, he accepted a commission from the State of Maine to design and fabricate a large-scale model of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad train engine and cars to promote Maine industry at the World’s Fair in Montreal, known as “Expo ’67”. The train ran on track he designed to loop in and outside the Maine Pavilion, and became an enormous attraction for the millions who attended that summer.
His quiet contributions to the Bangor community include years of service to the Bangor Lion’s Club, where he established its popular Gourmet Club restaurant fundraising promotion, and leadership of the Downtown Bangor Association, where he led its celebrated Bangor Sidewalk Arts Festival. In formal recognition of his generous endeavors, he received the Key to the City of Bangor, the Lions’ Club’s highest honors, and proclamations from the Maine Legislature.
Normand’s family and friends treasure his hundreds of remarkable pencil, pastel, and oil portraits. Some are on display at places like Geaghan’s Restaurant, Labree’s Bakery, Fairmount Hardware, and Furbish-Roberts Printing. Normand drew numerous local landmarks, including the Bangor Public Library and Leonard’s Mills in Bradley, that he donated in support of their fundraising campaigns.
In 2004, Normand married Patricia Quinn of Rutland, MA. They enjoyed participating in the Lions Club, celebrating Mass, and visiting family, friends, and religious sites in Europe, especially Ann’s family in Ireland, Normand’s brother Onias’ war memorial monument in France, and St. Mary’s religious shrine in Medjugorje.
When fully considering J. Normand Martin’s long life of accomplishment and devotion, the word that best expresses his boundless motivation is “love”. Love of God and church, love of family, love of friendships, and love of community.
Normand and his family deeply appreciate the care and kindness offered by the staff of St. Joseph’s Healthcare and Hospice, Phillips Strickland House and Ross Manor in Bangor. His sole remaining sibling, Raynald, father of four beautiful daughters raised in Brewer with his wife Jennie of Farmington, is currently under the tender care of Westgate Manor in Bangor.
Normand is survived by his wife Patricia Martin, brother Raynald, sons John D. Martin and wife Tracy Martin of King George, Virginia, son Gregory G. Martin of Brewer, Maine, son J. Normand Martin, Jr. and wife Karen L. Martin of Stillwater, Maine, son Konrad M. Martin and wife Jeanne M. Martin of Lantana, Florida, son Kevin M. Martin and wife Jennifer A. Martin of Medfield, Massachusetts; grandchildren Emily E. Jones and husband Eric C. Jones, John “Mac” Martin and wife Nancy L. Martin, Patrick K. Martin and Anna R. Martin, Adam G. Brown, Nathan J. Falger, Rebecca N. Schwier and Frederick “Fritz” J. Rolle; and great-grandchildren, Keller H. Jones, Isla M. Jones, Colin G. Martin, Clara F. Martin and Jenson D. Richards.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory be dedicated to the J. Normand Martin Art Foundation, Bangor High School, 885 Broadway, Bangor ME 04401. Family and friends may visit 4 to 8 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at Kiley & Foley Funeral Service, 299 Union Street, Bangor. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 AM Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at St. Paul the Apostle Parish, St. Johns Church Catholic Church, 217 York Street, Bangor. The family invites all to attend the internment at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Ohio St., Bangor, and the following reception at Jeff’s Catering, 15 Littlefield Rd, Brewer (1:00 to 4:00 PM). Mass may be observed via livestream HERE.
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