Created a building business success after he had ‘retired’

Wissie Martin was founder of what has become one of Northern Ireland’s success stories in the construction industry.

Born Hugh Wisnom Dick Martin, he spent his career in the construction industry in the Province before setting up Martin Contracting Services Limited (later simply Martin) as a ‘retirement project’ with his wife Molly.

The Larne-based firm switched its focus from hard landscaping and civils to building and then expanded into sectors including automotive, commercial building, tourism and infrastructure.

Martin’s growth has resulted in expansion into other regional markets including Aberdeen, Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield and London as well as the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Martin, who passed away on May 13, prided himself on ensuring that his company provided excellence and built trust with its customer base.

Ten years on from its formation the family firm turned over a £10 million business ledger by the end of last year and employed 20 people.

Wissie Martin was a prominent member of Ballyclare Golf Club as well as a major sponsor, Death notices included those representing the Captain, President, Council, Lady Captain, Lady President, Ladies Committee, members and staff of the club.

A notice from Martin said: “It is with great sadness that Martin Contracting Services Ltd announced the peaceful passing of our founder, Director and chairman Wisdie Martin, Martin mourn the loss of our dear friend and our thoughts go out to Molly and the entire family.”

In another notice, another major local firm, NK Fencing described Mr Martin as “the driving force and gifted leader of Martin for many years as well as a good friend”.

Mr Martin’s funeral was a private family one, with a celebration of his life in Ballyclare Golf Club on Wednesday afternoon.

Donations in lieu of flowers were encouraged for the Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital.

The businessman is survived by his wife Molly, children Katie, Adam and Susie, and their families. His daughter Dr Katie Martin and her husband Michael Scullion are company directors of Martin.