In Memoriam

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Robert L. Martin ’41, Faculty

A picture of Robert Martin

Robert L. Martin ’41, December 23, 2014, in Milwaukie, Oregon. Robert grew up in Oregon and Washington, graduated from Renton High School, and attended Reed on a scholarship. He earned a BA in physics, writing his thesis “Growth of Ionic Crystals” with Prof. A.A. Knowlton [physics 1915–48]. After graduation, he worked as a teaching fellow at the University of Washington and as a graduate assistant at Iowa State College. During World War II, he served as a conscientious objector, working on a land reclamation project near Trenton, North Dakota. Following this service, he resumed physics at the University of Michigan, where he earned an MA and a PhD. His thesis concerned theory and experiments about photographic latent image formation. Robert taught physics at Reed from 1956 until 1962, then taught at Lewis & Clark College until 1985. In retirement, he continued to work on properties of metal in a vacuum with Prof. Jean Delord [physics 1950–88] at Reed and at the Oregon Graduate Center. Robert and Roberta Pruitt met in Seattle in 1936, were married in 1946, and raised a family of four. The couple moved to Willamette View Manor in Milwaukie in 1981, and Roberta died in 2005. Robert was an accomplished musician, beginning his study of the B♭ clarinet and tenor saxophone early in life and later performing tenor vocals in local musicals, operas, and choral groups. Music was important to both Robert and Roberta and was central to their family. Survivors include three sons and a daughter and four grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2015

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