[nafex] H. R. Martin

Lucky Pittman Lucky.Pittman at murraystate.edu
Wed Jan 9 12:26:41 EST 2002

At 07:48 PM 01/08/2002 -0800, Lon Rombough wrote:
>I was very saddened to learn of the passing Monday, Jan. 7, of H. R. Martin
>of Hopkinsville, KY.
>      A retired Ag. inspector, H.R. took up fruit exploring and breeding in
>earnest in his retirement and created some very interesting grape varieties.
>  Besides a cross of S. 9110 x Concord that he spoke highly of, he had some
>Vitis aestivalis hybrid seedlings, several of which seemed very promising
>when he sent me fruit samples this year.  Some were pure flavored, vinous,
>with no off flavors, and one that was aestivalis x Muscat Hamburg was
>excellent in flavor and had over 22 Brix, though the berries were small.

A personal note on Harold Martin, whom I'd known for only 2-3 years prior 
to his death.
He was born in Christian Co., KY where he received his primary education in 
a one-room school house.  After obtaining a B.S. and M.S. in Agriculture 
from the University of Kentucky, he embarked on a long career as an 
agriculture inspector for the US border service in the Laredo, TX area, 
with a shorter stint at Kennedy Airport in NY.
When he retired and move back home to Hopkinsville, he purchased the home 
of Hopkinsville's most famous citizen, noted clairvoyant/mystic Edgar 
Cayce, where he lived until his death.  He put his command of the Spanish 
language to use by befriending and interceding for members of the Hispanic 
community and the population of seasonal Hispanic migrant workers who labor 
here in the cultivation of tobacco.
Every time I had a chance to visit with him, or speak with him on the 
phone, he had some new plant variety or discovery that he wanted me to 
try.  Virtually every inch of his small yard was utilized in his plant 
breeding experiments - in addition to grapes, he worked with species as 
diverse as garlic, chives, walnuts, pears, trifoliate orange, daylilies, 
peaches, jostaberries, cherries - and probably many others I was not even 
aware of.
He was involved, behind the scenes, in helping to beautify portions of 
downtown Hopkinsville with some of his plantings - he was "ahead of the 
curve" in some respects, planting care-free edible species such as Cornus 
mas, Amelanchier laevis, and disease-resistant crabs from his own breeding 
projects, in public areas, long before these species caught the eye and 
fancy of the nursery/landscaping trade.

Louis L. "Lucky" Pittman, Jr., DVM
Veterinary Pathologist/Asst. Prof.
Murray St. Univ.-Breathitt Veterinary Ctr.
Hopkinsville, KY

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