OBITUARY: Michael Townsend Martin


OBITUARY: Michael Townsend Martin


Date: April 26, 2010
by: Robin Hartill | Community Editor


Michael Townsend Martin, 68, of Longboat Key and New York City died April 17.

Born Nov. 21, 1941, in New York City, he attended Rumson Country Day School in Rumson, N.J., Choate Rosemary Hall and Rutgers University. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Martin became assistant general manager of the New York Jets, the team for which his father, Townsend Martin, was a founding owner. The Jets won the Super Bowl in 1969, while Mr. Martin was working as assistant general manager.

In 1974, Mr. Martin he was appointed vice president and director of football operations of the World Football League. At 34, he became the youngest general manager in professional sports when he was appointed vice president and general manager of the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. Under Mr. Martin’s leadership, the Cosmos won NASL crowns in 1977 and 1980.

Mr. Martin was a consultant to international sports marketing companies and founded his own business, SportsMark Inc., in 1990. He was owner of the Michael T. Martin Racing Stable and served on the board of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

Mr. Martin was active in many non-profit organizations including Mote Marine Laboratory, the Ringling College of Art and Design, Lemur Conservation Foundation, the Marine Biological Laboratory/Woods Hole, PBS, Phipps Houses, Old Westbury Gardens, the Big Apple Circus, Very Special Arts, New York Special Olympics, Morris Animal Foundation, National Lighthouse Museum and The Juilliard School.

Mr. Martin is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jean; sons Ryan, of Butler, Pa., and Christopher, of Aurora, Ill.; stepdaughter, Kathleen Hunt, of Chattanooga, Tenn.; brother, Alan, of Lawrence, Kan.; and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 22, at St. Bart’s Episcopal Church in New York City. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Fla. 34234, or Lemur Conservation Foundation, Myakka City Lemur Reserve, P.O. Box 249, Myakka City, Fla. 34251.

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