Alexander B. “Sandy’ Martin, a retired salesman who set state, regional and national squash records, died Saturday of congestive heart failure at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The longtime Owings Mills resident was 77.
“I’ve known Sandy since 1953, when we gathered at the Martin home in a preschool where we studied a Calvert School curriculum, and we grew up as neighbors in the Worthington Valley, and played lots of tennis and golf,” Charlie Fenwick said. “He was a good guy and Sandy was my best friend.”
Alexander Byers Martin, son of John William Young Martin, a farmer and horse breeder, and Nancy Lee Byers, a homemaker, was born in Augusta, Georgia, and raised at Snow Hill Farm in the Worthington Valley in Baltimore County, where the annual Maryland Hunt Cup race is held each spring.
He was the stepson of Gary Black Sr., board chair at the old A.S. Abell Co., publishers of The Baltimore Sunpapers.
Mr. Martin, who attended Gilman School and graduated from Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Connecticut, earned a bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, and served with the Maryland National Guard.
Gifted with an outgoing personality and infectious laugh, Mr. Martin was a natural salesman.
He spent his entire professional life in sales, and during the 1970s, worked in the advertising department of The Baltimore Sun, and later for the old Burns & Russell Co., the venerable Baltimore brickmaker.
He later worked in a similar capacity for Corrigan Sports in Elkridge from which he retired in 2018, family members said.
“His passion in life was sports,” said his wife of 54 years, the former Beaumont Russell, a consultant with Frosch Travel in Baltimore.
“He was a fierce competitor, honorable sportsman and a prolific champion in just about all sports he competed in, but excelled in golf and squash,” according to a biographical profile submitted by his family.
“Sandy was a good squash player and we played a lot of squash together,” Mr. Fenwick said. “I had the opportunity to play with him as his partner and he always carried the team. He was a very good athlete and an even better competitor. He understood the game and was always a step ahead.”
In golf, he had been president of the Maryland State Golf Association and won several club and regional championships. He was also a member of the U.S. Seniors’ Golf Association.
But when it came to squash, Mr. Martin was a fearsome competitor on the court, who during four decades of play, set many state, regional and national records, many of which remain unmatched, family members said.
He also played the sport internationally, and was inducted into the Maryland State Squash Hall of Fame. The trophy for the Maryland State Doubles Open Championship is named for Mr. Martin.
As he grew older, golf became Mr. Martin’s sport of choice.
“My mother was from Pittsburgh, as was his, so our families have been close for 75 years,” Clark Mackenzie said. “So, Sandy and I have been very close, he’s one of my best friends, and golf was a very strong link. He had a low handicap and we competed and had a lot of great fun.
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“While he had been a terrific squash player, golf became a big thread in his life and lasted longer.”
His love of sports was shared by his children and grandchildren, and he enjoyed attending their games, family members said.
“He loved watching the kids play sports. He was the wind behind their backs,” Mrs. Martin said.
“He loved sports and was a really good athlete and his children and grandchildren are great athletes — sports are in the family blood — and he’d go to their games, rain or shine, to cheer them on,” Mr. Mackenzie said.
Mr. Martin was a member of the Maryland and Greenspring Valley clubs.
He was a lifelong communicant of St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 232 St. Thomas Lane in Garrison, where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Alexander Byers Martin Jr., of Stevenson, and William Chase Martin, of Owings Mills; two daughters, Beaumont Martin Heidmann and Julia Martin McAllister, both of Owings Mills; a brother, John William Young Martin Jr., of Glyndon; and 11 grandchildren.