Limestone University, along with the Cherokee County community, is mourning the loss of Board of Trustees member Tommy E. Martin, who passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, Jan. 8, at the age of 77.
He was currently serving as an Emeriti member of Limestone’s Board of Trustees. Tommy was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Limestone in December of 2019.
Tommy was a part of the Limestone Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2020 as a special inductee. He was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame in September of 2021. A journalist for over 50 years, he spent the majority of that time serving in Gaffney where he continuously shined a positive light on Limestone and Saints Athletics.
He was elected twice to the Limestone Board of Trustees, his first term running from 2015-2019. Tommy started his second term on the Board in 2020 as a Senior Member and moved to Emeriti status in 2022.
He was presented with Limestone’s “Alumni of the Year” award in 2016.
The Publisher/Editor of The Cherokee Chronicle since its founding, Tommy attended the University of South Carolina and Limestone College. He started in the newspaper business in the spring of 1965. He worked for The Savannah Morning News, The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, and served two stints with The Gaffney Ledger. In 1991, he founded The Cherokee Chronicle, which is a bi-weekly newspaper that continues to serve Gaffney and Cherokee County. Tommy won numerous local, state, and national awards over five decades and has been recognized by the South Carolina Press Association, the Associated Press, and many other organizations.
Throughout his journalism career, he helped to bring awareness to Limestone and the Saints Athletics in his various roles, including Reporter, Sports Writer, Photographer, Sports Editor, Editor, and Publisher.
The Gaffney native authored three books, including Son Of A Peach: Darn Near True Tales From The World’s Largest Fruit, which is composed of a set of his newspaper columns that portray small-town life with warmth and humor. He also wrote I Will Kill Again: The Gaffney Strangler Story, which provides a behind-the-scenes look into events surrounding a real-life serial killer in Cherokee County in the 1960s. Along with two members of his newspaper staff, in 2019 he co-authored Pride & Tradition, The 100-Year History of Gaffney High School Football.
The son of the late William (“Bill”) and late Edith Martin, Tommy is survived by his wife, Ann, and his three children, including sons Jon and Josh, and daughter Tiffany Eubanks.
“The impact that Tommy Martin has had on Limestone over a period of nearly six decades is immeasurable,” said Randy Hines, Chairman of the Limestone Board of Trustees at the time the Board voted to bestow upon him his Honorary Doctoral Degree. “Throughout his career, he has helped to shine a positive light on Limestone. He has led his profession by example and with integrity. Tommy is an ideal model to demonstrate to our students how someone can make their work meaningful in their community and in the world.
“As a friend, and then as a Trustee, Tommy has been instrumental in leading several initiatives to make Limestone a better place for its students, faculty, staff, and the local community,” Hines continued at the time. “We are grateful for his long-time dedication. By granting this honorary degree, Limestone is demonstrating its commitment to honoring leaders who use their talents, expertise, and platforms to give voice to important matters and demonstrate the principles we seek to exemplify.”
Funeral arrangements are currently pending.