HARRISON — Dr. Rex Martin, who dedicated his career to serving the community as a family medical practitioner in Harrison and as state medical examiner for three decades, died on Friday after a long and courageous fight against Parkinson’s disease. He was 79.

Dr. Martin operated a medical practice in his home on Main Street in Harrison for 40 years. He established the practice around 1964 and served residents throughout the Harrison area. Patients traveled from as far as Bethel and Andover for his care and attention.

His wife, Martha Martin, said he was the type of doctor who made house calls for elderly and home-bound residents.

“He was a Maine boy, born and brought up in Bridgton,” his wife explained. “He had a feeling for how his patients felt and understood their circumstances. He had a lot of empathy for people. He listened to them. … He liked being able to help people.”

Dr. Martin was active in the community for many years, serving as public health officer and school physician for the township.

He served as state medical examiner for 30 years. As part of his job, he was called to fatal accidents and crime scenes to examine the bodies of victims to determine the cause of death. He would then report his findings to the chief medical examiner in Augusta. His wife said the job took a toll on him.

His work as a state examiner tapered off, and he turned his focus to his growing practice and his family.

He was married to his wife for 56 years. The couple met at Bridgton High School. He was two years older. On Tuesday, she recalled the day they met.

“He was playing basketball,” she recalled. “The ball hit me in the face and knocked my glasses off. He came over to apologize. … I thought he was very polite to come and apologize. He was truly concerned. Plus, he was very good looking.”

The couple raised three children and together operated the family medical practice. She did the billing, ordered the supplies and assisted her husband with minor surgeries.

“We worked well together,” she said. “We had a very good life.”

In his spare time, Dr. Martin enjoyed spending time with his family. Heather Martin Maier of Palo Alto, Calif., the oldest of his three children, said he was a supportive and nurturing father.

“He was a devoted family man,” his daughter said. “He was very protective. He placed a strong emphasis on education. He was proud of each of us for what we enjoyed and for what we excelled at.”

Dr. Martin had a variety of interests such as traveling, wood carving and watching sports. He was an avid outdoorsman and a Registered Maine Guide. He had a passion for hunting and fishing, which he passed on to his sons and nephews.

His daughter said she will miss him.

“I’ll miss that he is no longer with us in body, but he will be in spirit,” she said.

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]