Terry Martin — Honored to Partner with the Oblates

Terry Martin has been willing to travel thousands of miles to be part of the Missionary Oblate family.

Terry was born in Baltimore and spent most of his childhood living at an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity. Even as a child, Terry always had a positive attitude and considered himself fortunate to live at the orphanage.

“It was actually a good life,” said Terry. “I really don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t grow up in the Church.”

After earning a degree in government and education from the University of Oklahoma, Terry did post-graduate work at various institutions and served in the Marines for four years. Terry then decided that he was up for a new adventure. He chose to move to Alaska where he thought he would stay for maybe two years.  He stayed there 40 years.

Terry worked for the Public Health Services in Alaska, teaching people across the state how to prevent communicable diseases. His home base was usually Anchorage, but he would travel throughout the state to more than 200 different villages.

 Terry traveled by dogsled, boat and plane to reach these isolated communities. He found Oblates who staffed the only Catholic church in these remote locations. Terry became friends with numerous Oblates including Archbishop Roger Schweitz, OMI, of the Diocese of Anchorage.

In addition to being a health educator, Terry was also a member of the state legislature for 20 years. He also served as president of the Alaska Right to Life anti-abortion movement.

While in Alaska, Terry noticed there was a lack of recreational programs for children. So, he did something about it. He founded the Boys Club of Alaska which later expanded to include the Girls Club.

Terry served as the Executive Director of the Boys Club for 10 years and started programs such as Babe Ruth baseball, intramural basketball and an after-school program. Clubs began popping up through the state, and today thousands of Alaskan youths take part in recreational and academic programs through the club each year.

“You have to provide something for these kids to do, especially during those long winter nights,” said Terry. “Otherwise, they would become much more tempted to do drugs or other unhealthy activities.”

When Terry was looking to retire, he read an article in the Oblates’ magazine about their retirement community at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois. He had visited the Shrine several times before and was convinced it would be the perfect place for the newest chapter to his life. He moved nearly 4,000 miles to Belleville, and the Shrine has been his home for nearly 20 years.

Over the years, Terry has taken part in several charitable giving options with the Oblates. The income from these investments pays his rent at the retirement community.

“Partnering with the Oblates has been the best decision in my life,” said Terry.

“I am honored to partner with the Oblates because I know that I will still be doing missionary work with the priests for many years to come.”