Remembering Lou Martin

by Miriam Kotsonis

On the last day of 2011, Louis Martin, beloved member of the Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians (EFGOCM) and our NJ District choir and church communities, went to his rest in the Lord after a sudden, short illness. He leaves his wife Alix and two daughters, Judy and Debbie, along with many friends and family members.

It is both so easy and so hard to write a remembrance of Lou. Easy because there’s no shortage of good things to say:  Lou served as a strong, active and valued supporter of Holy Trinity Westfield and the NJ District of the EFGOCM. Very hard because the past tense does not come naturally when thinking about a dear friend, true-voiced bass, choir workshop travel buddy, and weekly stabilizing force behind our 14-grade religious education program.

Lou was in his 20th year as a choir member of Holy Trinity. As his name suggests, he wasn’t born hearing the Greek language, yet he became comfortably fluent in singing our hymns and took every opportunity he could to participate in concerts (Lenten, Christmas, and even Greek folk songs), workshops, and Federation conferences, most recently in Baltimore this past October.  He was happy to serve as mentor to other basses and proved to be an effective coach. In 2009 Lou accepted our choir director’s request to record a training CD of the Holy Trinity “standard” Liturgy. Always modest, during the session he repeatedly asked, “Was that OK?” In fact, it was excellent; he worked with the focus of a pro, each hymn lovingly offered with simplicity and beauty. We are glad we have this as a remembrance of him for many years to come.

Lou understood that a vibrant choir organization requires a lot of work beyond singing. To that end, he found additional ways to use his many talents, serving as NJ District treasurer, editor of our NJ District Choir Notes, and producer of Lenten Concert posters for over 10 years.

Highly educated and experienced in leadership and project management, Lou also served for eight years as co-director of Holy Trinity’s large religious education program. He managed the complex logistics capably, and hundreds of children knew the tall, friendly man who entered their classrooms each week. Fewer people knew that Lou held a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology and led an organization that supported global drug development teams with advanced analytic methods.  His resume held over seven densely filled pages of research publications and presentations aimed at medical advances.

Many will remember Lou’s calm presence, ability to get things done well, and stable, sure voice.  I’m happy I also had the chance to see his warmth, openness, humor, and faith.  All of us knew him as a truly gentle man.

May his memory be eternal.