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Passing of Jim Martin of New Hope

It is with great sadness that the friends of James (Jim) F. Martin announce his passing on Sept. 29 at the age of 93 after a brief illness.

Jim passed away peacefully at his home in New Hope, and will be lovingly remembered by his friends and neighbors.

At the age of 16, Jim joined the United States Navy, training at Sampson Naval Base in New York. He was stationed on the USS Santa Monica at the battle of Okinawawa, Japan, during World War II, and also assigned to a destroyer that went to Shanghai. After two years in combat, he was decommissioned in San Diego.

He moved back to Trenton with his mother, Gret Barkin, where he attended art classes at Trenton Junior College of N.J.

In the 1950s, he married and moved to Florida for a short time before moving back to New Hope and divorcing after two years.

That is when his love of sculpting began. He apprenticed under George Nakashima before going off on his own in 1963 and becoming the renowned artist and sculptor that New Hope knew and loved.

“Work is love made visual,” he said of his carvings, which were suggested both by nature and the life in the piece of walnut itself.

In New Hope, Jim was known to walk the streets with one of his many little dogs, delighting both the locals and the tourists.

He was a fixture in the hangouts and restaurants of New Hope, and on the benches of North Main Street, where he shared his love with everyone around him.

Jim was truly a kind and compassionate man, and his many friends will miss him for his wit, his sincere friendship, and for his old-school gentlemanly ways.

He leaves behind his beloved dog, Coco, and countless friends.

There will be a military service at Washington Crossing National Cemetery on Oct. 20 at 11:30 a.m. Guests are asked to arrive by 11:15 a.m. with a
mask, and distancing will be observed.

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  • We are Sadden by the Loss of Jim, On our many trips to New Hope my Wife always made a point to look for Jim & Coco, Jim was always a Pleasure to talk with, A real Gentleman, Always smiling and always Happy! ~ He will be Truly Miss by us! – May He rest in peace!

  • I rarely look at The New Hope Free Press. But I did just now …AND was very saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Martin . An Icon in the New Hope Community . I knew for several decades. He taught me ” A lot ” about life .
    Ie: my philosophy after knowing Jim is ” Live every day as if it was your well as ” My glass is always half full”
    Thank- you Jim for allowing me into your life and your home , as well as being fond of all your ” Little Girls” and lastly Coco.
    May God and and the Angels take good care of you…as they do for me every day 24/7…they were there for me this past June when I was rushed by Ambulance to Jefferson Memorial with a Blood Clot in my left lung and my heart 97 % full of fluid . The Cardiologists told me if it had been 15 minutes later …I would be Dead.
    So Jim..
    I will miss you .

  • Jimmy was my teacher, mentor, and friend. For two years I worked in Jimmys studio carving his prices from beginning to end, thrilled to have him place his signature on the work he guided me in creating. He taught with love, and by his life example of searching for personal artistic expression and perfection of craft. I believe my life as a designer, sculptor, professor and mentor is largely due to the time I spent with Jimmy and the years off our friendship. I He was extraordinary. I will miss him greatly .

  • Jim was ALWAYS one of my favorite people in town. I met him and his little dogs when I worked at CVS and he always had such interesting stories. He was a wonderful, kind man and I am gonna miss him horribly.

  • We knew Jim only a little bit, sharing his love of dogs as he walked North Main, as he proudly displayed the “tricks” his little white dog(s) had learned. Another New Hope treasure lost.

  • I am sad to hear of Jim Martin’s passing.

    I had admired his wood carvings, in the window of his store/home for many years.., long before moving to New Hope.

    On the way to my office, I always saw him walking his little white dog. Even as he became weaker and needed a walker, he was still out there walking his little dog, regularly.

    I hope, Coco, will be going to a good home, It was obvious that Mr. Martin loved that dog.

    I did not know Mr. Martin personally, but I always looked forward to seeing his friendly familiar figure walking his cute little dog, Coco, through the borough.

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