W.A. Martin Elementary School

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Our Namesake

Walter Allen Martin was born in Roxton, Texas, on September 30, 1925, His parents were the late Walter Burnett and Cora Lee Martin. He had one brother, Charles Martin. Although his father was a farmer who moved from farm to farm, he and his family resided in the general area of Roxton in Lamar County throughout his childhood. W.A. graduated from Roxton High School in 1943 and promptly enrolled in Draughns Business College. Soon thereafter, he enlisted in the United States Navy Seabees, serving our country overseas during wartime. Upon release from the service 2 ½ years later, he attended Paris Junior College, and continued his education at East Texas State Teachers College, earning his Bachelor of Science Degree. Later in the mid 50’s, he completed his Masters Degree and an additional 30 hours of graduate work at East Texas State University in Commerce.

Mr. Martin came to Crandall in 1949 as an elementary principal with part time teaching and coaching duties. A year later, he married Gwen Chowning, and together they were blessed with two children, Walter Lynn and Lisa Ann. W.A. proved himself to be a hard working and industrious young man, working at the Murray Gin Company and measuring land for Kaufman County during the summers and other times when school was not in session. W.A. worked in Crandall until 1955 when he left to become a full time minister in Blue Ridge, Texas. After one year, he returned to the education profession securing the position of elementary and high school principal at Scurry-Rosser.

In 1968 , he left Scurry-Rosser and returned to Crandall as principal of the elementary school. He also served in a variety of other jobs for the district until his retirement in 1986. He was in charge of maintenance and was personally responsible for mowing the football field with a push mower. He also did much of the janitor work. He was in charge of buses and was responsible for riding the roads to determine if school was going to be called off for inclement weather. He also served as textbook custodian for the district, which back in those days meant he was required to personally gather the textbooks, put them in a towsack and return them to Austin at the end of every year.

In 1980, he received the Crandall PTA Life Membership Award. In 36 years of service in the education profession, he never missed a day of school except for one day due to having surgery. In 2002, W.A. and his wife, Gwen, were awarded the Black & Gold Partners in Education Combine-Crandall Award. He also worked for Trinity Valley Community College in Kaufman for 5 ½ years, teaching Drivers Education and Defensive Driving.

In addition to his service as a public school educator, Mr. Martin is well known for serving Crandall and the surrounding communities for over fifty years as a spiritual leader. From 1958 to 1961, Mr. Martin preached for the Kaufman Church of Christ. From 1962 to 1976, he served as a part-time minister and elder for the Scurry Church of Christ. In 1976, W.A. became an elder of the Crandall Church of Christ and served as a part-time minister there until 2005.