Martin, Laurence Albert (1949-2013)

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Laurence Albert “Larry” Martin: business leader and philanthropist, was born 5 August 1949, on the family farm in Woolwich Township, Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada. He was the seventh child in a family of seven sons and four daughters born to Menno R. Martin (1911-1999) and Mary Ann (Martin) Martin (1917-2009). On 28 August 1971 he married Lynette Moyer at the Deep Run Mennonite Church East in Parkasie, Pennsylvania, her home congregation. They lived in Ontario, were married almost 42 years and had two sons, Taylor and Travis. Larry died suddenly on 20 May 2013 as the result of a massive heart attack. The funeral was held at the Elmira Mennonite Church, the Martin family’s home congregation. Interment was in the adjacent church cemetery.

The Martin family farm was located a short distance from the hamlet of Yatton, where Larry attended elementary school. He graduated from Elmira District Secondary School and in 1973 earned a degree in microbiology from the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.

Martin was a man in a hurry, often arriving at the first tee of a golf date still finishing the lunch he’d picked up at a fundraising meeting he had just attended. There was a sense of urgency about him; he wanted to get things done. His projects went far beyond his professional responsibilities and usually involved assisting individuals or organizations in financial matters.

St. Jacobs Country (the town of St. Jacobs and the surrounding country side) is an Ontario tourist destination for thousands of visitors from Canada, the United States and around the world. Larry was a catalyst in its development in association with Milo Shantz. For 22 years he was general manager of Stone Crock Incorporated, the engine that drove the success of St. Jacobs Country. His enthusiasm for his job and his ability to inspire those with whom he worked had lasting positive effects.

In 1997 Larry Martin become the first innkeeper at the Best Western St.Jacobs Country Inn, a position he kept for twelve years. He headed the group of investors for this project. A year later Larry oversaw the Inn’s extension from 77 to 119 rooms. In 2006 the same investment group acquired the Destination Inn of Waterloo and significantly expanded the facility. Under Larry’s leadership the Best Western won the “Best of the Best” Quality Award three times. Striving for this award was described as “a tough challenge that demands perfection.” Before his untimely death, Larry had retired from the hospitality business and kept busy with various organizations on a voluntary basis.

Numerous Mennonite and some non-Mennonite organizations were benefactors of Larry and Lynette’s generous financial contributions. Larry had a gift for fundraising, a passion he shared with many not-for-profit organizations and church related programs. On a personal basis he followed a simple credo: “If you don’t make money, you can’t give it away.” The recipients of the Martins’ magnanimity included the Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service, Mennonite Economic Development Associates, Community Justice Initiatives, the House of Friendship (Kitchener, Ont.), Rockway Mennonite Collegiate and Conrad Grebel University College. Larry also raised funds for The Mennonite Story, an interpretive center in St. Jacobs.

The Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, Shalom Counseling and the Elmira Mennonite Church benefited from Larry’s skills as board treasurer. He also served on the Advisory Board of MennoHomes (Kitchener, Ontario).

The Martins enjoyed live theater and classical music. Because Larry loved music, he joined the board of directors of the Grand Philharmonic Choir (Kitchener, Ontario). Larry also developed a love of golf and regularly used his participation in the game as part of fundraisers for the many organizations with which he was associated.

There is much to remember about Larry Martin and his contributions to the community and the Mennonite Church. He had the ability to lead major business enterprises with a common touch. The Mennonite Church to which he gave much reached far beyond and included his local congregation.


Knowles, Paul. “I keep Working so I can keep giving: Larry Martin has a Head For Business and a Heart For Charity.” Exchange Magazine (July/August 2006).

“Laurence (Larry) Albert Martin.” Waterloo Region Record (22 May 2013).

Martin, Lynette. Personal files and information. January/February, 2015.

Martin, Taylor. Personal files and information. January/February, 2015.

Author(s) Del Gingrich
Date Published May 2015

Cite This Article

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Gingrich, Del. "Martin, Laurence Albert (1949-2013)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2015. Web. 19 Mar 2019.,_Laurence_Albert_(1949-2013)&oldid=131963.

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Gingrich, Del. (May 2015). Martin, Laurence Albert (1949-2013). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 March 2019, from,_Laurence_Albert_(1949-2013)&oldid=131963.

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