Keith Martin, 86, a long-time resident of La Cañda-Flintridge, died at home on October 28, 2010 of bladder cancer. Keith was born in Los Angeles on June 2, 1924.
Keith was a veteran of World War II, serving from April 1944 to October 1945 in the 3702nd Army Air Force Base Unit. He was a Bombardier-Navigator and the youngest officer of the crew of the Liberty Belle, a B-24 bomber. In October 1944, the crew was forced to bail out over Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia where the plane met a fiery end. After parachuting out of the plane, one crew member was captured as a prisoner of war. The remaining crew, including Keith, spent nearly two months trekking to safety. The experience is recounted in the book, Goodbye, Liberty Belle: A Son’s Search For His Father’s War, by J. I. Merritt. Keith, a First Lieutenant, was honorably discharged on October 6, 1945.
During his late twenties, he met his wife-to-be, Betty Harris, a native of Florida who had moved to Los Angeles. They married several years later on June 11, 1954. They bought their first home in Anaheim. When Keith went to work for JPL in 1963 they bought their home in La Cañda. Keith worked at JPL for 25 years as an electrical engineer, retiring at age 65. He lost his beloved wife, Betty, to ovarian cancer in August 2000.Keith will be missed by many, but especially by his daughter and son-in-law, Catherine and Mark Watson, and their 20-year old daughter, Laura Watson; and his son and daughter-in-law, Gary and Judy Martin.
A memorial service will be held Friday, November 5, at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive.