David J. Martin - Founder (Feb. 15, 1928 - Nov,. 4, 2019)


"Every day's a great day!" was a favorite expression of David Martin, the Founder and long-time President of Martin Properties, and summed up his positive outlook and contagious optimism. When he was 13 years old, young David built his first house. That house was a chicken house made of scrap lumber and two Tru-Aid Signs! For the next 70 years, he was constantly building something, and he retained his Unlimited General Contractor's license until his death at age 91. In his view, his retirement plan, the best in the world, was simply: "I retire to bed each night and the Lord renews my strength for another great day!" David Martin built some sizable buildings but always maintained the most important things he built were strong, long-lasting relationships based on Christian principles.

A native of Randolph County, Martin, at the age of nine, became a resident of Cary, NC, in his words, "the best place to live next to heaven." After graduating from Cary High School, Martin served a stint in the United States Coast Guard, attended UNC-Chapel Hill, and then returned to Cary to pursue a business career. An early building block of Martin Properties was University Apartments, which Martin started in 1954 by moving old houses onto a site off Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh, refurbishing them, and adding units to the complex as the years went by. In 1961, Martin designed and built the first swimming pool at any apartment complex in Raleigh, and this pool was in use until 2017. Soon after completing this project, he started planning and then built the first shopping center in Cary, Southland Center. He later changed the name to South Hills Shopping Center. The first building opened on November 13, 1963. David also built Cary's first mall, also called South Hills, which opened in 1972 and expanded in 1982.

David and Marilyn Broadwell Martin were married for 65 years,until Mrs. Martin's death September 20, 2019, six weeks prior to her husband's passing. They were survived by 6 children, 21 grandchildren, and 13 (now 19) great-grandchildren. Until shortly before his death, Martin continued working six days a week. Over the years, he was also involved in numerous outside activities, including serving as a Deacon at First Baptist Church-Cary, NC. He also served on two boards at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC for a combined total of 23 years. In addition, he was a member of The Gideons International and enthusiastically supported their goals of evangelism and Bible distribution. Martin committed his life to Christ at a young age and led countless others to make similar commitments.

One of David Martin's favorite Bible verses was Proverbs 29:18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Martin's demonstrable skill as a builder and capacity for hard work were complemented by his God-given vision, including an unusual ability to spot great real estate. The fruits of his labor and his extraordinary vision have made a brighter future possible for his family, his company, and his community.