Dr. David Martin, now retired, has been a supporter of music in the Carroll area for the past 30 years. Martin has been selected as the marshal for the 55th annual Carroll Band Day Parade that kicks off Saturday at 10:30 a.m.Daily Times Herald photo by Jeff Storjohann
Dr. David Martin, now retired, has been a supporter of music in the Carroll area for the past 30 years. Martin has been selected as the marshal for the 55th annual Carroll Band Day Parade that kicks off Saturday at 10:30 a.m.Daily Times Herald photo by Jeff Storjohann
Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dr. David Martin’s profession of more than 30 years, podiatry, was good for people’s feet.

His avocation, music, has been good for his own heart and soul.

Martin this month retired after nearly 35 years in podiatry — the last 30 years in Carroll, following four years in Naperville, Ill.

Martin’s contributions to the community both in medicine, music and public service are recognized with his selection as parade marshal of Saturday’s 55th annual Carroll Band Day.

The Carroll Chamber of Commerce sponsors Band Day, and a Chamber news release on his selection says, “Dr. David Martin was chosen as parade marshal for the 55th annual Band Day due to his long-term commitment to the Carroll community. Through his involvement in both performing and directing in Community Chorus, Orchestra and Theater, he has demonstrated his outstanding leadership in promoting the arts. Besides music he has been active in civic organizations, helping build a stronger community.”

Martin will ride in the parade, which will begin at 10:30 a.m. north of Adams Elementary School and travel from 12th and Adams Streets east to Court Street, south to Ninth Street, and east through Graham Park, where the judges’ reviewing stand will be located.

“It’s very rewarding to be recognized,” Martin says. “I’m uncomfortable with the recognition because I love to do what I do. I didn’t do it because somewhere down the road somebody was going to do something like this.”

Martin salutes the Carroll Band Day tradition, commenting, “I think Band Days are essential for communities to maintain interest in school music. It’s a visual sign of what the schools are doing. That’s very important to ongoing support of the schools and band programs.”

Martin can speak with much experience about the pride and enthusiasm musicians who march in band parades feel.

Martin graduated in 1961 from Mason City High School, where the annual band event thrived with the distinction of being hometown of Meredith Willson, who wrote the enduringly popular show “The Music Man.”  

But Mason City had built a band reputation before Willson, who played in the symphonic band at Mason City High School, put the town on the music map.

“Mason City had a tradition going back to the ’30s or ’40s of having an excellent band,” Martin says.

At that time, Mason City yearly advanced far into national band contests, he says.

Martin performed in marching bands from fifth grade at Mason City throughout college at the University of Iowa.

“I wanted to play so badly and they had a really strong band program at Mason City, and I got there late the day of the signup, the only instrument they had left was tuba,” Martin recalls. “So I said, ‘OK, I’ll take it.’ I thought I’d start there and see where it goes. And I never got away from it.”

So Martin performed on tuba every year in Mason City’s band parades.

He even did double duty his freshman year. He performed as part of a special “Music Man” band — as the lyrics say 76 trombones, 110 cornets,  reeds springing up like weeds, horns of every shape and kind, double bell euphoniums and big bassoons. That band was formed in celebration of the “The Music Man” movie premiere in town. After performing in the special band, Martin covered the parade route again with his school band.

“That was a long day but a lot of fun,” he says.

Martin made even much bigger commitment to music at the University of Iowa, where the band rehearsed from about 3:40 to 5:15 p.m. five days a week then, for home football games, put in full days — rehearsal through the morning, march from the field house to the stadium, perform pregame and halftime shows, and conclude with post-game shows that included lowering the colors.

“But again, it was a lot of fun,” Martin says. “Those were experiences you wouldn’t trade for anything.”

Martin grew up in a home where music was a part of life.

The second-youngest child of Edward and Berlina Martin’s five sons and three daughters, Martin says all the kids in the family were required to give music a try.

“One of the requirements my folks laid out was that we all had to play in band,” Martin says. “We all had to play through junior high. We also had to take piano lessons for two years.”

Martin says that growing up in an time when children didn’t ask their parents “Why?” when told to do something, his parents didn’t directly express the reason for the music requirement.

 “I think it was a way of introducing us to music. I think my folks understood the value of music,” he says.

Martin gladly followed his parents’ wishes.

“I enjoyed it,” he says. “Whenever you’re doing well at something, it’s easy to continue it. So, I did well enough that it was fun.”

Martin is thankful today for that push and high expectations in his family.

He says, “My attitude was greatly influenced by my parents, who held all eight children to a high standard of performance, using their talents to the highest level. And that came from my grandparents, who themselves did the same.”

Martin’s enjoyment and talent led him to a music degree from the University of Iowa. He chose music over ministry.

Faith was also a big part of his youth. He attended Sunday school and sang in choir at a Norwegian Lutheran church. He remembers that some older members of the congregation spoke with such heavy Norwegian accents, he had trouble understanding them.

After receiving his degree, Martin embarked on a music-education career before he changed tune and switched to medicine.

He taught four years altogether at Cedar Rapids Prairie School — fifth through eighth grades and fourth through sixth grades. His teaching was sandwiched around two years’ service in the Army Signal Corps as a radio teletype operator and instructor at various stateside locations.

However, with Iowa school districts undergoing a new round of consolidations, Martin worried about his job security.

“I understood if something happened with consolidations, eight or 10 years down the road I could be gone,” he says.

So Martin took his next career step into podiatry, and by doing that he added to a remarkable family history in the profession.

In fact, a regret Martin has about retiring now, at age 69, is that he misses by four years reaching 100 years of family service in podiatry. The family produced eight podiatrists, beginning with his grandfather Henry Martin and dad Edward and also including two uncles, an aunt, a brother and the brother’s wife.

“My aunt practiced longer than any of us,” Martin says. “She was still dabbling when she was probably 80.”

A few older patients still called on her home office in Philadelphia, Pa.

Martin’s grandfather began practice in Dubuque in 1916, and his dad in Mason City in 1930.

“His first year of practice was the first year of the Depression,” Martin says of his dad. “So I understood, good times or bad times, you could always go to work and be productive. Then you could always do music on the side.”

Martin graduated from the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine (later the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and now part of Rosalind Franklin University). He practiced for a year under a preceptor before working in Naperville, Ill., four years.

He came to Carroll in 1982, taking over practice after the death of Dr. William Ward.

In his practice, Martin most commonly treated such problems as hammer toes, bunions, infected nails and heel spurs. He gave up surgery about five years ago and had been treating more elderly patients for corns, calluses and nail problems.

Martin says he told patients, “Everything you get is genetically based.”

If parents and grandparents had foot problems, then they were likely to have similar problems. The question is how severe, which can be influenced by not only genetics but also lifestyle practices.

One key to avoid seeing a podiatrist, Martin says, is: “Buy shoes with your feet and not your eyes. Don’t buy shoes just for style or fashion. Not everybody can wear the same shoe.”

If people are genetically inclined toward foot problems, improper shoes will worsen the problem, he notes.

Martin says it didn’t take him long to learn the key to effectively treating patients and enjoying a rewarding practice.

“I didn’t treat feet, but I treated people with feet attached,” he says. “So you pay attention. You listen to them, listen to what their complaints are and focus on that. You have to listen to patients, then start out from a conservative approach before progressing to more aggressive.”

The more comfortable patients were with him, Martin says, the more information he could gain that may be valuable to decision-making on treatment.

“I’ve always enjoyed people, and you need to take time in a clinical setting to get to know the people,” he remarks “The reverse side then is that when you’re talking about solutions and treatments, they’re more willing to go along with them. We need to take the time, which I think is something we’ve lost in a lot of aspects of everyday medicine.”

Martin is tentatively scheduled to guest speak about lifestyle choices at a Des Moines Area Community College class.

Citing a recent forecast that says Iowa may exceed 50 percent obesity rate by 2030, Martin says, “It all has to do with mental approach and attitude toward eating and how much we eat. In medicine, we’re focusing too much on treatments, on the backside rather than focusing on the front side. If you don’t want problems, then you have options, and let’s sit down and see if we can work through some of those options. Somewhere along the line we need to hit the public in the middle of the forehead and say, ‘We can’t continue doing what we’re doing health-wise.’”

In his retirement, Martin plans to do some travel, exploring various parts of Iowa, starting with a visit to the southeast corner, driving across the southern tier and also going to the northwest corner. He’s interested in nature photography and also wants to devote more time to that.

Of course, music will remain a focus of his life. He’s long had a major role in music in the community.

He’s performed in Carroll Community Theater music productions, played in the All Strings Attached Orchestra, Brandenburg Ensemble, Carroll Jazz Ensemble and Jack Oatts Quartet. He directed a small vocal ensemble, Starlight, which sang for several years at the Carroll County Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. For the last 23 years he’s directed Carroll Community Chorus, which draws large audiences for its annual Christmas concert and Easter cantata.   

He sang in Community Chorus from 1982 to ’86 when it was directed by Carroll Community Schools music teacher John Erickson, and after the group had been in hiatus, he revived it in 1990.

He says of the importance music in his life, “I call it for me, the best avocation in the world.”

Martin has a daughter from his first marriage, Elizabeth, who is an optometrist in Minneapolis, and three stepdaughters from his marriage to Chris Pierce-Martin, who died in 1995. The stepdaughters, Susan, Lisa and Cynthia, all live in the metropolitan Minneapolis area, and all three have a son and a daughter.

Martin has been a member of Carroll Rotary Club, Carroll Regional Counseling Board, Carroll Public Library Board, United Way Board and Carroll Chamber of Commerce Board.

He comments, “Carroll is such a unique community with such a record of accomplishment in all areas with a sterling record of giving — among them the fundraiser accomplished for Friends of Kuemper Ball, Relay for Life, St. Anthony Regional Hospital expansions, the Greteman Center at Holy Spirit Church and the center at St. Lawrence Church.”

As for his own role, he says, “All I have tried to do is fit into the local culture during my years in Carroll.”