Gail Martin, the innovator who took Martin Archery in Walla Walla from a small operation making strings and fletching arrows with his bride at their dining room table in the early 1950s into a three-generation famous bow manufacturer, died Sunday at Providence St. Mary Medical Center. He was 89.
His son Dan Martin said the cause was linked to heart failure.
His death was announced on “Archery Talk,” the online forum and archery community run by his other son Terry Martin. In tributes on the forum’s Facebook page, Martin was called an “icon” and “cornerstone” of the industry. Inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame two years ago, he is a household name among archers.
His bows have been used for hunting excursions, but also in film and TV. Rocker Ted Nugent was a longtime endorser of Martin bows. A Martin Mamba recurve bow launched the flaming arrow at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. For decades the business has been at the forefront of innovation, manufacturing at least 50,000 compound and traditional bows a year at the sprawling Walla Walla plant at 3134 Heritage Road.