By Tom Jones, Chair , UNLV Hotel Management Department
After a short illness, Professor Robert J. Martin succumbed to a heart attack at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson on Tuesday, July 15, 1997. Although battling cancer for many years, and losing his wife to cancer last year he never let his personal battles distract from his commitment to teaching and mentoring students. Once after a major operation he came to class with a hypodermic needle in his arm and a saline bag taped to his chest. Here was a man determined to meet his obligations regardless of the personal sacrifice. Martin was also a man of faith and that faith was unswerving.
He was the type of person you would want if you were adrift in a lifeboat for he always had a plan, the will, and the faith to stay the course.
Born in Houston on December 6, 1927, Professor Martin served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1971. During that time. he saw three major wars including two tours of duty as an aircraft carrier pilot in the Vietnam War. After he retired from the Navy with the rank of captain he began a second career in hospitality administration. He served in a variety of management positions for Marriott, Hyatt, and WACHIM Corp. (dba Holiday Inn) from 1971 to 1979.
He began his third career as a college professor with UNLV in 1979. During his 18 years of service to the College; he taught courses in casino, front office, housekeeping, hotel internship, hotel operations management, security, and the orientation course. He was active in the Council for Hotel, Restaurant, and International Education (CHRIE), the National Executive Housekeeper Association (FHA), American Society for Industral Security (ASIS), and the National Association of Fraud Examiners (NAFE). He held numerous certifications including the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), Registered Executive Housekeeper (REH), Certified Protection Professional (CPP), and the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
He authored several articles and two textbooks: Professional Management of Housekeeping Operations and Human Relations for the Hospitality Industry. He was awarded the Sam & Mary Boyd Distinguished Professor for Service (1991) and the Sam & Mary Boyd Distinguished Professor for Research (1993).
He is survived by daughters Melanie Anne of Las Vegas and Martha Martin-Mast of Orlando, Florida ( '83 hotel alumna); son, Scott of Houston, four grandchildren and two great -grandchildren.
Professor Martin, selfless dedication to the college and his students will be long remembered.