William B. Martin, a 40-year employee of Waste Management Inc., always dapper in the Cadillacs he fancied and a loving family patriarch, died Wednesday of a respiratory condition. He was 73 and lived in West Oak Lane.
William was especially proud of the accomplishments of his grandson, Michael Woodard, who started a singing career at age 12 when he sang "America the Beautiful" at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing, N.Y., in July 2009.
Granddad sat all day before the TV to catch his grandson's performance. Michael is 16 now and still singing.
William Martin was born in Greenwood, S.C., to William and Ethel Martin. The family came to Philadelphia when he was a child and he attended Thomas Fitzsimons Junior High School and Thomas Edison High.
He joined Waste Management in 1966 and worked as a truck driver until his retirement in 2006.
He married Littie "Dot" Richardson on March 25, 1960.
"William will always be remembered for his vibrant personality, witty sense of humor, and award-wining smile that illuminated many hearts," his family said.
"He was understanding, a great listener, and could re-enact a story like none other," his family said. "For those who had the pleasure of knowing him, after one conversation, it became evident that you had more than just an acquaintance, but a friend."
At an early age, William joined St. Phillip's Baptist Church and later New Covenant, where he served on the Usher Board and Board of Trustees.
He later joined Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Steven Avinger Sr.
"William, the debonair, was known for his suave contemporary dress, love of Cadillacs and collection of fitted hats," his family said.
William treasured his family and his many friends, who often met at Sunoco's, Littleton's Diner and Michael's Family Restaurant in Glenside, especially after he retired.
"In each establishment he was well-known, liked and loved by all," his family said. "He will forever be loved and treasured by those who knew him."
Besides his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Patrice Paulk, Wanda Woodard and Taneka Taliaferro; a sister, Starlet Martin; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Services: 11 a.m. Wednesday at Mount Airy Baptist Church, 2012 69th Ave. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Chelten Hills Cemetery.