Burleson Star loses its guiding light
The 21-month owner of the Burleson Star, a veteran media advertising specialist who published national newsletters and was president and CEO of one of the largest advertising companies in the world, has died.
David C. Martin, 80, died Jan. 18 at Emery J. Lilge Hospice House (Community Hospice of Texas) at Texas Health Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth. The cause of death was multiple system failure.
Martin and his longtime business partner, Dianne Egan, acting as the Galois Group, purchased the 54-year-old Burleson Star in April 2017 from Palo Pinto Communications, LLP – almost a year to the day after Palo Pinto acquired the newspaper from Digital First Media.
Martin and Egan immediately announced they intended to keep coverage of the newspaper as hyper-local as possible. The fact they live locally will help that mission, they said.
“Our first job is to take care of Burleson,” Martin said. “This is a very local community and we believe that’s what makes the Burleson Star viable here. My message to Burleson is: ‘We are very interested in what is happening here.’”
“David brought leadership and years of experience to the Burleson Star,” said Burleson Star Editor Ricky Moore. “He embraced community journalism and telling stories about Burleson. He will be missed greatly.”
Martin was held in high regard by former colleagues from around the country who he mentored and who have paid tribute.
“He was a mentor, colleague and one of the most trusted friends I ever had,” said Bobby Keyes of Lake Orion, Michigan. “He was loyal and honest.”
Martin and Keyes were executive colleagues at BBDO Worldwide and at PentaCom, which Martin created for BBDO.
“We went through business partnerships, multiple surgeries, golf trips (David would hit the ball and immediately yell, ‘Oh, no.’ One course named a tree after him becaue he hit it so often.) and many adventures that will never be told,” Keyes said. “He was the best friend I ever had.”
Jon Stitle, a longtime advertising colleague of Martin’s agrees.
“He was a real gentleman,” said Stitle from Rochester Hills, Michigan. “I’ve known him 25 years. He liked creative marketing ideas. He’d identify a problem and find a creative solution. He was very bright.”
Another longtime friend Ross Barber posted on Facebook that Martin was a dear friend.
“I am not writing an obituary, but simply posting the loss of a great man who had an amazing life and many, many friends,” Barber wrote.
Siddhartha Shastri, an acquaintance of Barber, shared memories of Martin through a post on Facebook.
“I ran into David Martin,” Shastri wrote. “I was a bit puzzled to see his Email, but soon learned that he was Ross’ friend. Apparently Ross had shared something I had written, and David had graciously responded to it. He began to share his crisp reflections on the happenings all around us, and I was happy to be included in his mailing list. I have saved David’s Email communications, and through them, his memory survives in my little world. He was a good, fair, sensible, and generous American; and embodied the qualities that define Americans for me.”
Martin was born Oct. 12, 1938, in Royal Oak, Michigan, to Charles and Ardith Stevens Martin.
Martin’s extensive media and advertising background spans nearly six decades.
A graduate of the prestigious The Kew Forest School in Forest Hills, New York, he attended the University of Michigan and various universities in California. He moved to Monterey, California, in 1961 and began his career with Wall-Martin Advertising, writing advertisements, producing television and radio programs and creating advertising and promotional campaigns for a variety of accounts.
Martin left Wall-Martin in 1963 and spent the next 13 years with major broadcast companies: Westinghouse, John Blair Company and General Electric Broadcasting Company. His roles included local and national sales representation, general sales management and marketing management. He served as a consultant on special assignments for the acquisition of broadcast and cable properties and worked on the development of a 20-year plan for the G.E. Broadcast Division.
From 1976 to 1983 Martin worked for the Interpublic Group of Companies, a holding company for major advertising agencies with worldwide services. He was senior vice president at the McCann Erickson agency in New York and at the Campbell-Ewald agency in Detroit. Martin joined the Stroh Brewery Company in 1983 and created a new department, corporate media, as part of the marketing team that handled the company’s ascendancy as a major player in the brewery industry. He was elected an officer of the privately held firm in 1984.
Martin left Stroh in 1989 and worked for the next 10 years as an advertising and marketing counselor to select clients. In addition to his consulting work, Martin was editor-at-large for Media Week Magazine, where he explored various marketing issues in a weekly column called “Lunch with David Martin.”
In 1993, Martin founded and became president and chief executive officer of PentaCom, the $2 billion media planning and buying agency that he helped create for BBDO Worldwide, the agency of record for Chrysler Motors and Mercedes Benz North America. He held this post until August of 2001 when he accepted a consulting role within the OmniCom family at PentaMark. In 2003, David left OmniCom to develop his own companies under the company banner, The Martin Group Inc., which formerly housed Health Care Weekly Review, a publication devoted to the business of health care.
He is past president of The Adcraft Club of Detroit, the largest advertising club in the world, and was a member of the board of directors and former president of the Michigan Advertising Industry Association, a group designed to represent the business interests of Michigan marketers. He was an expert counselor in legal disputes involving advertising agencies, their clients or consumer customers. He also was a member of the Oakland University’s School of Nursing Board of Visitors.
All the while, Martin continued to develop his management and marketing skills through advanced management courses and was asked to contribute his knowledge through teaching and speaking engagements. He spoke in Paris as a guest of the French government, taught creative media planning in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and keynoted a conference of the ANA in New York presenting a multi-product market philosophy. He has lectured at the Masters level at major universities throughout the United States.
Martin is survived by his companion and business partner of 15 years, Dianne Egan; sons, Bret David Martin of Geneva, Illinois, and Daniel Harrison Martin and wife Christina Kocan of Vernon Hills, Illinois, and daughter Kim Janelle Pedersen and husband William of St. Charles, Illinois; grandchildren Jamie Kreher, Tara Woodburn, Shaylee Pedersen, and Jenna Hayes; great grandchildren Evelyn Kreher, Audrey Kreher, Will Kreher and Myles Parker.
Martin’s life will be remembered Saturday in a private celebration of life service.