In his 40 years as an educator, Larry Martin touched thousands of young lives. His first job was teaching in a one-room country school near Clay Center.
While there, he went on a blind date with the friend of a friend. The romance blossomed, and he drove back and forth every two weeks for a year before he and Ila Jo were married on Aug. 8, 1950.
They moved to a farm and both taught school while also farming. When the Korean War began, Larry was called for a year's service with the Army. While he was gone, their second child, a son, was born.
"I got a telegram that said: It's a little boy all fine," he grins.
They later moved to southeast Kansas, where Ila Jo went to Pittsburg State while caring for their three children, two sons and a daughter.
She later taught at Horace Mann Lab School while Larry rose to become assistant principal of Pittsburg Junior High School. They also enjoyed going to Minnie's on south Broadway every morning, where they could visit with their many friends and acquaintances.
The family loved to travel, especially to Colorado, where they would spend summers exploring Estes Park, Breckenridge and other locations in the Rockies. Back at home, they enjoyed outings to Roaring River in Missouri. They also traveled across the country to various education conventions.
Although they had planned a tour to Spain, Larry had a stroke the day he retired. After Ila Jo fell ill, the two moved to the healthcare center at Cornerstone Village, where Ila Jo regained enough strength to move back home.
With diligent therapy, Larry was able to move to an apartment in assisted living. Ila Jo visits Cornerstone every day and Larry goes home with her on the weekends.
Larry is enjoying his new environment, where he has an opportunity to renew old acquaintances and make new friends.
"Who could ask for more?" he grins. "A warm place to stay, good food, and I get to visit with a lot of people."