Louis F. Martin, who taught at McDonogh School for nearly 40 years and coached its swimming team, died Friday of multiple myeloma, a form of cancer, at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. The Owings Mills resident was 75.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Mount Washington, he spent summers at a small family cottage on the Chesapeake Bay, where he learned to swim. He was a member of the Class of 1944 at City College, where he excelled in the backstroke and won Maryland Scholastic Association medals.
After serving in the Navy for two years, he earned a physical education degree from Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. He played midfield in lacrosse at the school.
In the fall of 1954, after teaching in the Baltimore County schools system and working at the central branch of the YMCA in downtown Baltimore, he joined McDonogh's faculty. For the next 38 years, he was a seventh-grade teacher and the school's varsity swimming and diving coach. His students soon began referring to him by the affectionate nickname of Fish.
"He never had large teams, but he always had quality swimmers on his teams. He worked them and got results," said R. Edwin Novak, retired McDonogh athletic director and former Northwestern High School and City College coach. "I always called him the Straight Arrow because he was straight down the line. He was very organized. Every kid knew where he stood. Whatever Lou undertook, he did it 125 percent."
"He was a man of integrity, a good athlete and a serious teacher," said M. Graham Vinzant Jr., a friend and retired Catonsville Community College dean. "He paid attention to the quality of what he did and worried about the impact of what he did in the classroom. He brought along the kids who wanted to be outstanding swimmers.
"He played golf as seriously as he swam and played lacrosse," Mr. Vinzant continued. "One day he hit a hole-in-one at a golf course near Westminster. Nobody saw it. It typified Lou."
For numerous summers he was a manager-coach at the Meadowbrook Swim Club in Mount Washington, the Roland Run Club in Lutherville, Folly Quarter in Reisterstown and the Rusty Rock Swim Club in Randallstown.
For several decades, he was secretary and treasurer of the Maryland Officials Club.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the McDonogh School Chapel, 8600 McDonogh Road, Owings Mills.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, the former Anna M. Englar; a son, Robert L. Martin of Bangkok, Thailand; a daughter, Anne Frances Martin of Berkeley, Calif.; a brother, R. Bruce Martin of Stonington, Conn.; and two sisters, Virginia Clothier of Rock Hall and Ann Louise Martin of Baltimore.