Father James J. Martin

Father James J. Martin, 87, a retired Philadelphia priest and resident at St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, died Feb. 20. By sad coincidence, his sister, Theresa Frances Marie Martin, died the previous day, Feb. 19. Brother and sister will have a joint funeral today, Feb. 26.

They were both born in Philadelphia to the late Charles and the late Bridget (Mulkeen) Martin.

Father Martin attended St. Columba School and Roman Catholic High School before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was ordained May 18, 1963 by Archbishop John J. Krol at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.

“I was in the seminary with him; he was a very good athlete,” said Msgr. Charles McGroarty. “He never became a pastor and I think that’s because he didn’t want to, but he was a very fine priest and great guy who loved his family. Wherever he was stationed we would sometimes hold class reunions there.”

Father John Bradley, who also graduated from St. Charles with Father Martin, remembers him as “a fine priest and a devoted servant,” he said. “He was highly regarded by the class, but fame and honor didn’t interest him.”

Father Martin served as parochial vicar first at Queen of Peace Parish, Ardsley, followed by a series of Philadelphia parishes: Our Lady of Ransom, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary and Holy Family.

Although he officially retired in 2004, he stayed on at Holy Family for several years before going to what was then St. Francis Country House.

For years the family home was kept up by his sister, Theresa, and was a favorite holiday and vacation spot for the family especially the brothers, according to a niece, Teresa Ravert.

“She was very generous to the nieces and nephews,” Ravert said. After her aunt entered a nursing home the property was sold to another family member so the tradition continues.

A viewing for Father Martin and his sister, Theresa, was held Thursday, Feb. 26 at Annunciation B.V.M. Church, Havertown, with the funeral Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert P. Maginnis following. Concelebrants included Father Bradley, Msgr. McGroarty and Father Francis X. McKee, who was the homilist.

Father Martin and Theresa Martin are predeceased by a sister, Margaret Ravert and a brother, Charles. They are survived by nieces and nephews. Now the entire first generation is enjoying a reunion in heaven.

Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon.