Saturday, July 13, 2002

Obituary: Paul Martin was CEO of Ohio National

Insurance executive raised millions for United Appeal

By Rebecca Billman,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Paul E. Martin spent 26 years working his way up to chairman and CEO of the Ohio National Life Insurance Co. After he retired at age 65 in 1979, he decided to parlay his experience into raising $30 million for Greater Cincinnati United Appeal.

        He told the Enquirer it was to “pay a debt to the community” that had been good to him.

        Mr. Martin, who was also a director of the First National Bank of Cincinnati, died July 6 in Tucson, Ariz., where he and his wife were living, of complications of a hip replacement. He was 87.

        He leaves behind a legacy of personal integrity and business acumen.

        “Paul Martin was a most capable life insurance executive and under his leadership Ohio National achieved substantial growth,” said William Breeze of Danville, Ky., former executive vice president of Ohio National. “He was a caring mentor to those who worked for him.”

        David B. O'Maley of Indian Hill, current chairman, president and CEO, said, “Paul was a most gracious and giving gentleman. He was devoted to community service, the integrity of the life insurance profession and our company, and the betterment of others.”

        When he decided to accept the position of general chairman of the Greater Cincinnati United Appeal (now the United Way and Community Chest of Greater Cincinnati) campaign in 1979, he was handed the task of raising tens of millions of dollars in the face of a recession.

        But he was no stranger to adversity. While he was growing up in Santa Claus, Ind., his father ran the general store and Post Office. When the Great Depression hit, the business — whose customers were mostly farmers — took a hit also. Mr. Martin's dad responded by going “out of his way to help the farmers,' he told the Enquirer in 1979.

        “Dad had a strong philosophy. ... Do a little more than take care of yourself. Help make the world a better place.”

        Mr. Martin graduated from Hanover (Ind.) College in 1936, then served as an artillery major with the Army during World War II.

        He went to work for Ohio National as an actuarial assistant in 1946. He steadily worked his way up the corporate ladder, being elected to the board of directors within 20 years.

        He was chairman and CEO from 1972 until 1979.

        To honor Mr. Martin's 33 years with Ohio National, the Paul E. Martin Community Service Award was established when he retired. It is presented to associates who contribute to the quality of life in their communities.

        Mr. Martin served on the board of trustees of Hanover College from 1972 until 1990.

        Survivors include: his wife, Ann; a son, Peter of Northern Kentucky; two grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

        A memorial service will be held in Santa Claus at a later date.

        Memorials: Hanover College, P.O. Box 108, Hanover, IN 47243.


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