Prominent civic leader and philanthropist Vinita Johnson Martin, wife of Roy O. Martin, Jr. (one of Central Louisiana’s largest private employers), passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Mrs. Martin was formerly a resident of Garden City, Kansas.

Ten years ago, Mrs. Martin, a board member of LSUA, established the J.H. Johnson Endowed Professorship at Louisiana State University in Alexandria in honor of her first husband, John Herbert Johnson. Mr. Johnson arrived into Alexandria many years ago, took over a struggling poultry packing company, and turned it into a multi-million dollar business.

Seven years after establishing the Johnson Endowed Professorship, Mrs. Martin established a second one, the Roy and Vinita Martin Endowed Professorship in Math and Science.

Less than a year ago, LSUA honored the Martin’s commitment to higher education by dedicating a 130-year-old live oak in their honor.

Along with her husband, Mrs. Martin was instrumental in donating funds for the construction of an ecumenical chapel at the Avoyelles Correctional Facility. She was an active member of the Rapides Symphony Board and a former president of the YMCA.

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