In Loving Memory

Ralph Harres Martin

Ralph Harres Martin
April 14, 1926
July 2, 2024
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Ralph Harres Martin, 98, of Brenham, Texas, went to be with the Lord on July 2, 2024.

Ralph was born in Atchison, Kansas April 14, 1926 to Thelma Wilson Martin and Harres Crawford Martin.  He grew up in Atchison along with his 4 siblings Paul, Donna, Ann and Marilyn.

Ralph met his wife Theon Eloyce “Toni” Spaun Martin at a Kansas University football game and got married July 14, 1950.  They were married 72 years until her death on January 2, 2023.  Ralph and Toni have two children, John Randolph Martin and Ralph David Martin.  They raised their sons in Minnesota and moved to Brenham, Texas in 1987 to retire. 

Ralph loved to be around people, minister in the prisons, with the Gideons and at the nursing homes (which he did with his friend Dr. Ken French and his wife Toni who played piano).  He also enjoyed spending time with friends and family. Ralph only recently gave up his racing of homing pigeons that he took up as a boy. He and Toni have been lifelong supporters of the KU Jayhawks basketball team. 

Ralph received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree and his Masters of Public Administration from University of Kansas.  He served as city manager for Orono, MN. and for Montevideo, MN.  He became a certified financial planner, but spent most of his career as an insurance broker, assisted by his wife Toni.

Ralph served as chairman of the board for Head Start for 9 Kansas counties. He later served as a salaried director for two other counties until 1965. 

Ralph and Toni were founding members of Abiding Word Lutheran Church in Brenham.  They also helped start two other churches in Minnesota and Kansas. Ralph attended Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, MO where he received a Masters in Divinity. Although he never served as a full-time pastor, he helped establish churches and spent his retirement years “working for the Lord.”

Under the auspices of Washington County Ministerial Association, Ralph has been responsible for scheduling the ministry to the six major nursing homes in the area since 1990.  Ralph and Toni served 50 years together in the Gideon’s ministry. Ralph served over 30 years in the local jail ministry, as well as doing prison ministry.  He served with the Bill Glass Prison Ministry for many years as well.  For 12 years he taught bible classes on Wednesday nights at the O.L. Luther unit of the TDCJ in Navasota, TX. 

Ralph’s wife, Toni and his sister Marilyn Martin precede him in death. He is survived by his son John R. Martin and wife Vicki Strachota; his son R. David Martin and wife Bethany Martin; granddaughter Madison Martin and grandson Benjamin Martin; brother Paul Martin and wife Betty Lou, sister Donna Martin Smitley and husband Rev. Richard Smitley, Ann Martin and he is survived by many beloved family members.    

A visitation service will be held Sunday, July 7 at 4:00 PM until 5:30 PM at Brenham Memorial Chapel at 2300 Stringer Street in Brenham.  A memorial service will be at Abiding Word Lutheran Church at 464 Oak Tree Crossing in Brenham Tuesday, July 9 at 10:30 AM and graveside service will be held immediately after his memorial service in the Prairie Lea Cemetery in Brenham.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his memory to the Heart of Texas House of Prayer P.O. Box 2195, Leander, Texas 78646, Abiding Word Lutheran Church 464 Oak Tree Crossing Drive, Brenham, TX 77833 or Gideon’s International.

Services are in the care of Brenham Memorial Chapel. Condolences may be shared with the family at