Brooks Bradley Martin


“He was full of life.”

That’s the phrase seen over and over in the many comments people have shared with the family of Brooks Bradley Martin since he passed away on Saturday, March 28, 2020, at MD Anderson Cancer Research Center in Houston.

That very full life began on April 14, 1959, when Brad was born to Bill and Milly Martin in Brookhaven, Mississippi, joining his older brother, Mart, and followed soon thereafter by younger sister Molly. In 1964, the family moved to Hattiesburg, the place he would choose to always call home.

Brad began working as a teen at Hattiesburg Coca-Cola Bottling Company, which was managed by his father. He would stay with the company for much of his career, moving from the bottling side to food services. Eventually, he started Vendworks, serving customers all over South Mississippi.

Brad’s devotion to Hattiesburg was due in part to his love for Southern Miss. He never considered attending another university. He pledged SAE and served as president. And he joined the cheerleading squad as its first “mic man,” energizing fans from the sidelines as they cheered Southern Mississippi “To the Top!”

His support of the Golden Eagles would continue throughout his lifetime. He rarely missed a home game at The Rock or Reed Green Coliseum, but his favorite place was The Roost, the gathering spot for fans behind the right field fence at Pete Taylor Park. And during the seventh inning stretch, you just might see Brad do his perfect imitation of Jed Clampett dancing, a true cultural moment rarely seen in ballparks.

Brad believed in paying it forward, and his community involvement was a testament to that positive attitude. He was involved in the Miracle League and City of Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation. For his dedication to the Mississippi Poultry Association, he received the Allied Leader of the Year Award, and also was the recipient of the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America Pine Burr Area Council.

A man of faith, he was a member of Temple Baptist Church. And on a beautiful day, he could be found on the golf course, enjoying hitting the links with friends.

Brad’s active support of and participation in the community came full circle when it surrounded him with love during the last six months of his life.

He loved his hometown and alma mater, but the loves of his life were his wife Gretchen, daughter Brooks, and son Cade. They were his pride and his joy. And he was theirs. Much of who they are is because of who he was.

Brad also was thrilled when Brooks married Kevin Bohte, a USM grad from New Orleans, and was eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first child and his first grandchild. On March 31, just days after Brad left us, that grandchild was born – a boy, named Bradley Reed Bohte.

People have commented that Brad always had a ready smile, and that once he knew you, he would be your friend to the end. And while the family is deeply sad that Brad’s end on earth came so soon, we are comforted that he is more full of life now than he has ever been, in the presence of the Lord he loved.

The next time you come across an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” watch it to see if a fiddle comes out and music commences. And when it does, you just might see Jed Clampett doing a perfect imitation of Brad Martin dancing.

The family is pleased to announce the Brooks Bradley Martin Memorial Endowment, which will provide an annual scholarship to a Southern Miss baseball player from the greater Hattiesburg area. To make a donation:

By check: Make payable to the Southern Miss Athletic Foundation and in the memo line note the Brooks Bradley Martin Memorial Endowment. Mail to the Southern Miss Athletic Foundation, 118 College Drive #5017, Hattiesburg, MS 39406.

By credit card: Contact Brian Morrison at 601.467.9043 or brian.morri