- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) — W. Paul Martin, who served four terms as mayor of Salisbury and helped usher in the city’s rapid commercial and residential growth, died Oct. 1 at Coastal Hospice after a long illness. He was 85.

Mr. Martin was elected to his first term as mayor in 1982 and served for 16 years — the longest tenure in the city’s history — before retiring in 1998.

“It is difficult to imagine this city without Paul Martin’s commitment, vision and dedication,” said Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman, who succeeded Mr. Martin. “Much of the success and growth we are currently experiencing began through his tireless work for this city over 40 years.”

Mr. Martin’s service to Salisbury began in 1958, when he was tabbed to fill a vacant City Council seat. He was elected to the council a short time later, and he served continuously until elected mayor. He never lost an election.

During his time as mayor, Mr. Martin spearheaded a development boom in Salisbury.

“I just believe the city has two choices — it either grows or dies,” he once said.

Mr. Martin got the city ready for growth by doubling the capacity of its water- and sewage-treatment plants.

He helped lure the Centre at Salisbury shopping mall, igniting a commercial expansion in the northern part of the city that continued after he left office.

He also created the Port of Salisbury Marina and was involved in the planning and construction of the police department headquarters and a state government multipurpose building.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer dedicated the government building in Mr. Martin’s name in 1993.

“He was one of the best mayors I ever knew,” Mr. Schaefer said. “He was a really nice man, and I have many fond memories of him.”

A member of the Delmarva Firefighters Hall of Fame, Mr. Martin was an active volunteer firefighter for 20 years.

As mayor, he worked to get the fire department’s 911 emergency system installed, and he oversaw construction of an additional fire station to accommodate the city’s growth.

Born March 23, 1920, in Princess Anne, Mr. Martin moved to Salisbury with his family in 1937. He got a job at American Stores as a clerk and delivery boy, carrying groceries on his bicycle for $2 a week.

He continued working at the grocery chain, later renamed Acme, during his time in public office, retiring as associate manager of the Mount Hermon Road store.

Mr. Martin is survived by two daughters and one son. His wife, Geraldine, died in 2002.

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