Lawrence Phillip Martin was born in Catonsville and raised in the community's Paradise neighborhood. He was a graduate of Catonsville High School and what is now the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.
He worked in the automotive department of Montgomery Ward before taking a construction job with Cearfoss Construction Co., where he worked for a decade before establishing L.P. Martin Contracting in the early 1990s.
"Everyone he worked for became like family to him," said his wife of 16 years, the former Jill Thomassen. "So people trusted him. They all loved him."
"I'm a carpenter, and I pretty much stick to carpentry. Larry could do anything, and he would," said Dave Davis, a longtime Catonsville contractor and friend.
It wasn't uncommon for Mr. Martin to care for his clients' pets while he worked on their homes.
"He recently had a job with a lady that had two cats. She went away for two weeks, and Larry fed and took care of the cats while he worked there," said Mr. Davis.
Mr. Martin also had a reputation for fixing problems he discovered.
"He'd see something that needed to be done, and he'd just do it," said his friend. "And it wasn't about the money. He just took care of things. There was something beautiful about him."
"All of his work came from referrals," said his wife, who said he never needed to advertise. "Even at the worst times in this economy, he'd finish a job, and sure enough, something else would come along."
In addition to being an animal lover, Mr. Martin enjoyed riding his Harley, gardening and "reading newspaper obituaries," his wife said.
A celebration of Mr. Martin's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Catonsville United Methodist Church, 6 Melvin Ave., Catonsville.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Martin is survived by a son, Benjamin Martin, 11; three sisters, Karen Simmons of Catonsville, Joan Holmes of Millsboro, Del., and Kathleen Stainbrook of Columbia, S.C.; and many nieces and nephews.