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Wayne Watkins Martin

Wayne Watkins Martin

Sept. 26, 1934 to Sept. 9, 2021

Wayne Watkins Martin, 86, passed away on September 9, 2021. He was born on September 26, 1934, in Morganton, NC. Wayne graduated from Morganton High School in 1953. After high school, he continued his education at Elon College on an athletic scholarship for football. During his four years at Elon, Sonny (as he was known by his friends and family) developed a reputation as a tough football player with true tenacity and a strong desire to win. Even though he was an undersized player, the heart that Sonny Martin played with was tremendous and he earned the respect of his teammates and his coach, the legendary Sid Varney.

Immediately following his graduation from Elon in 1957, Wayne began working as a sales representative for Drexel Furniture Company and was assigned to the Upstate New York, Montreal, and Quebec Canada territory. In 1962, Wayne was transferred to Birmingham Alabama where he continued his career with Drexel until his decision to attend the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1967. After passing the Bar in Alabama and North Carolina, Wayne moved back to Morganton to begin his career as a lawyer which lasted nearly 50 years.

Away from his legal profession, Wayne loved to entertain and had a passion for many outdoor pursuits. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, attending college football games, and spending many hours toiling in his garden. When it came to gardening, Wayne won many ribbons at the annual Burke County Fair for his beautiful Zinnias. He also enjoyed tireless pursuit of growing a giant pumpkin and eventually took second place at the NC State Fair for growing a mammoth pumpkin that weighed nearly 900 pounds.

Wayne’s true passion, however, was cooking. He loved to shop for, grow, and prepare food for all occasions. He cherished cooking for friends and family and his culinary skills were rooted in authenticity. His favorite times were spent entertaining in his kitchen and serving some of the most savory and amazing meals imaginable. Weekends were always filled with projects ranging from baking fresh loaves of bread, salt curing hams, or cooking a delicious gumbo.

Wayne was a gifted storyteller, a passionate friend, and possessed a boundless sense of humor. His personality was truly one of a kind and his family and friends will miss him dearly. Wayne is survived by his children Elizabeth Martin Finein (Tim), William Martin, John Stafford Martin, and two grandchildren ~ Ian Stafford Martin and Scotland Elizabeth Martin.

There will be graveside service at Forest Hill Cemetery on Wednesday, September 22nd at 1:00 pm. Services provided by Reverend Marshall Jolly. Memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Grace Episcopal Church Endowment / Preservation Fund in Morganton, NC, or the Sid Varney Scholarship at Elon University.

The service will be live-streamed beginning at 1 p.m. on the Facebook page for Sossoman Funeral Home (

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Committal: Sept. 22, 2021
1 p.m.

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