In memory of
Ronald Louis Martin, 87, of Richmond, Kentucky passed away on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at his home. Ron was born to Louie and Millie Martin in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on April 20, 1934. He graduated from high school in Eau Claire, then attended DeVry Technical Institute in Chicago for two years, learning about electricity. From there he went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. His first job after graduating college was with Honeywell in Minneapolis, MN. There he had the opportunity to work on the Gemini space craft. He went to Florida to see it leave earth and then to Texas to see it land in the ocean several days later. Ron worked on the C5A airplane, obtaining a patent for one of his ideas. Ron enjoyed helping people, and while managing a plant in Marshall, MN he farmed out some work to an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. This was also a home for young men with mental problems. They enjoyed making a little money for themselves. We took turkeys there at Christmas time. Ron was not a joiner of clubs but for twenty years he was a very active member of the board for Bluegrass Mental Health, Mental Retardation (BGMHMR). He made 7 trips to Mexico and Honduras to install water filtration systems which provided clean water in little villages. In 1976 Ron came to Kentucky to be plant manager of Ajax Magnethermic. When he started there were 35 employees. When he left after 25 years there were 180 employees. Hardly anyone among Richmond residents knew about the two complicated products that were created at Ajax. One was heating and melting equipment. It could make iron so hot it could be bent into bumpers and leaf springs for cars and trucks. If you remember seeing on TV huge cauldrons at Pittsburg Steel that would tip and pour molten metal, that metal was also heated by these same machines. They used so much electricity that when a machine was finished and had to be tested, the testing was done in the middle of the night so that no one else was using any electricity. The other product was air dryers. Some companies made a product that was harmed by too much moisture in the air so they would buy these dryers. Smaller dryers would come in pairs like two large bombs standing beside each other. One would be absorbing moisture while the other was drying out to be able to absorb again. The largest dryers were almost the size of a silo. There is a picture of Ron standing atop a large dryer on the shore of the Red Sea in Egypt. These were sent all over the world, Egypt, India and Aruba, for instance. The Ajax building had a hole in the floor in one corner to have space to build one of these giants. Still they could only build ½ at a time. That half would go outside to wait until the other half was done. An Ajax employee would have to accompany the product to its destination to help the folks there put it together. During the last three years that Ron was at Ajax he was made VP of Manufacturing for the company world wide. They had facilities in South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Canada, and London, England. Ron is survived by his wife of 60 years, Helen Weggen Martin, three children, Steve Martin, Cindy Simpson (Robert), Tracey McGaughey (Bob), nine grandchildren, Nico, Cadence, Chase, Jacob, Derrick, John, Gabriela, Casey, and Justin, and five great-grandchildren. Because of COVID, there will be a private service at Oldham, Roberts & Powell Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to Hospice Care Plus, 208 Kidd Drive, Berea, KY 40403, or to the Love Fund at First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 165, Richmond, KY 40476.
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