Antioch Sports Legends to induct Martin as Community Leader

Antioch Sports Legends to induct Martin as Community Leader



When Antioch resident Gloria Martin first heard about the Antioch Sports Legends Program at the Antioch Historical Society Museum from Eddie Beaudin, her friend and the program’s co-founder, she told him to count her in on supporting it.

That was nearly 15 years ago. Her dedication and service to the organization will be honored Oct. 1, when the Sports Legends program inducts Martin as this year’s Community Leader.

“I’m really honored to be an inductee,” Martin said. “This is such a great program, and there are so many well-deserving athletes who have come from Antioch.”

The Antioch Sports Legends Program and display were first brought to the attention of the Antioch Historical Society Museum’s board or directors in 1999 by Antioch resident Tom Menasco. It was his wish to build a program that would honor the many athletes who had lived in Antioch and went on to receive acclaim in their sport.

When the Antioch Sports Legends Program and display at the museum opened in 2007, it began pulling from a long list of Antioch athletes that started with the 1920s football player George “Bus” Ackerman. Over the years there have been many inductees who include a wide variety of sports and players who have gone on to include athletes, coaches and leaders from youth and community programs from high school through college and on to the pros.

The program prides itself on preserving the historical achievements of both genders and all sports in the Antioch community for present and future generations. Martin said the original group who started the program included Beaudin, Menasco, Dave Sanderson, Jim Boccio Sr. and Leo Fontana.

“They were the big guns of the program. They do a wonderful job including everyone,” she said.

Many may know Martin from her work throughout the community, and in her 85 years she has dedicated time and resources to helping as many programs as possible. Some of the programs include the Antioch Historical Society, Antioch Senior Center, Leo Fontana Foundation, Antioch Education Foundation and Police Activities League.

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Like with the Sports Legends Program, if she liked what the program did, she supported it. Another of her favorite programs is the Elderly Wish Foundation, an Antioch group that helps seniors by giving out wishes to those with serious or chronic illnesses in Contra Costa County.

Martin says one of the greatest honors she has received was when former Assemblymember Jim Frazier honored her in 2016 with the Woman of the Year Award for California’s Assembly District 11.

“I was able to go to Sacramento and receive that honor at the State Capitol building,” she said. “Jim Frazier was a super-nice guy.”

Martin, a 1955 graduate of Antioch High School, married her high school sweetheart, Jim Martin. The two then raised two children, Jim Jr. and Marlene.

“I’ve got the greatest kids in the world,” she said.

The Martins opened a business in town called Merit USA. She explained that the company manufactured the tops and bottoms of the once-manufactured automobile oil cans. After oil containers moved to plastic, the company went on to do other manufacturing. What was left of the company was sold 10 years ago after Jim Martin Sr. passed away.

Through their business, Martin was a significant contributor to the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, which earned her a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. She has also been an active Antioch Rotarian and two-time of the Rotarian of the year.

The Antioch Sports Legends Program will induct Martin as a Community Leader in an Oct. 1 dinner at the Lone Tree Golf Course. Afterward, photos of her will be exhibited in the Antioch Historical Museum’s Sports Legends display for a year.

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Roni Gehlke can be reached at [email protected]



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