27 March 2016 Mrs. Virginia “Jinny” Martin
, 88, of natural causes at Rancho Santa Fe, CA. A friend wrote: “She was frail yet her passing was unexpected.”
Born in February,1928, to Mr. and Mrs. Otis Wheeler of North Harmony Street in Medina, Jinny was proud of her heritage in the Buckeye State. Her ancestors included soldiers in the Revolutionary War, and later were some of the original pioneers of the Ohio Territory, the first arriving in 1816.
She attended the local Medina schools, and after high school, studied for her bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio. She then did what she would the rest of her life and struck out for adventure. She joined American Airlines as a Stewardess, based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a job suited for an adventurous young woman. Her stories of the Golden Age of flight, its unique culture and the colorful characters who flew and traveled never failed to entertain guests in all the years that followed. She cut quite a swath in Tulsa, and was once featured on the cover of the Tulsa Downtowner magazine.
She was intimately familiar with Naval Intelligence through her husband CAPT Barney Martin (1925-96). Barney was a Special Duty- Intelligence (1630) with a distinguished career that included service in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War during a 33-year career, which included three years as director of the Naval Investigative Service, forerunner of today’s NCIS.
Moving to California after his retirement from the Navy in 1982/3, Jinny and Barney resided in the exclusive Rancho Santa Fe development in the North County in a fantastic castle-like home she helped design. In addition to elegant stonework and fanciful interior, the home incorporated a crenelated turret as a center feature. It was a quotation of one the she had seen when her husband Barney was assigned to SIXTH Fleet and they resided in Gaeta, Italy.
After Barney’s passing in 1996, she continued active in the local Village Church and the San Diego Zoo (RITZ). Genealogy was one of her passions, though the Big Cats at the zoo were another.
Five generations of the Wheeler family are buried at the Mound Hill Cemetery in the village of Seville, near her hometown. When she returned to Medina for a visit in 1972 after an absence of many years, she discovered that many of the graves were overrun with weeds. Jinny was appalled at the condition of the place, and the cemetery’s restoration became one of her passions.
“My relatives were buried under poison ivy and weeds,” she said at the time, and she was dismayed that her Grandfather’s headstone had even been tipped over on its side. She had first decorated his grave in 1935, when she was a girl of seven. She started picking weeds and planting red, white and blue flowers by the graves of her relatives, and began returning every year for the Memorial Day ceremony.
After Barney’s death in 1996, he was interred with military honors at Mound Hill, becoming one of 458 veterans buried there. On Memorial Day, his name is read three times, once for each of the three wars in which he served.
Accompanying her on the pilgrimage one year, “Rex” Rectanus noticed that the old flagpole had become bedraggled and rusty. He donated a brand new flagpole to Mound Hill in the name of Derlie M. Bland, his late wife.
Jinny and Rex split their time in Rex’s last years between his condominium in Naples, FL, and the castle in Rancho Santa Fe. When the Admiral passed away on Pearl Harbor Day of 2009, she attended his funeral with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery as the storm that became known as “Snowmaggedon” swept all before it. It took three days for her to dig out and make her way to the airport to return to the Golden State.
Returning to Rancho Santa Fe, she worked on her beloved garden and feed the many birds that called it home. In her last years, she became the companion of another Naval Officer, retired CAPT Jack Reynolds, of Rancho Santa Fe.
Jinny Martin was a woman of passion all her life and in all the things she did. She was a fervent supporter of Republican causes, including the RSF Republican Women. She was a vigorous circulator of email to the day before her death. Jinny was a special lady, and she will be greatly missed by her many friends. With her death, a generation of Naval Intelligence history passes away.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this writing, but will be at Mound Hill Cemetery in accordance with her wishes.