Colin Martin, a founding member of the original Toowoomba Bridge Club which was started on the 16th October, 1959 (making it one of the oldest bridge clubs in Queensland) and the Toowoomba Bridge Club Inc which was incorporated on the 29th March, 1983, died at St Vincents Hospital on Saturday June 9th 2007 surrounded by his family.
His wife Val said that his death was made very special by the nursing care given, being surrounded by all his family, talking to all his grandchildren and the family being given permission to make each evening meal a special family time.
Col was originally born in Ipswich and came to Toowoomba after he married Val in 1958. Col worked at Mount Lofty High School as a Senior Maths teacher and eventually became the Deputy Principal. He retired in 1984. While he was a wonderful teacher, his passion after his family was promoting the game of bridge at the Toowoomba Bridge Club. His wife Val said that sometimes she felt there were three people in their marriage, her, Colin and bridge. However bridge never interfered with their marriage – it just meant that sometimes holidays had to be re-scheduled if there were special competitions on or master point deadlines to be met. Because one of the things that Col Martin stressed with his children, was that if you are going to do a job – then do it properly. And he carried that philosophy into everything he did – whether it was teaching at Mt Lofty or being the Master Point Secretary for the Toowoomba Bridge Club.
The original Toowoomba Bridge Club was formed by Dr George McCutcheon who was instrumental in organising the first Australian Bridge Congress which was held in Toowoomba. Dr McCutcheon was also responsible for the introduction of the master point scheme in Queensland and eventually this was extended to the National level which we all benefit from today. Col Martin was very involved in helping Dr McCutcheon set up the original master point scheme and subsequently became the Master Point Secretary for the Toowoomba Bridge Club – a position he held for over 40 years.
Col Martin ran the Tuesday Night bridge session until 2006 when he handed it over to Chris Snook after Chris passed his Director’s exam. This was a truly generous gesture when you consider he had run this session for 40 odd years. For Chris this had a double bonus – he was able to practice what he had learnt and was able to refer to Col about any tricky situations that came up.
Col also ran the Friday session with Joyce Benson for many years. When I passed my Director’s exams and Joyce offered me her spot on Friday – I also felt the same as Chris. I was given a chance to practice what I had learnt but I also had Col to refer to if I wasn’t sure about anything.
Col Martin served continually on the Committee of the Toowoomba Bridge Club Inc until 2006 when ill health began to take its toll. When other clubs began to use computers to work out their master points, Col refused point blank on the basis that he knew what he sent the QBA was 100% correct. The Queensland Master Point Secretary Joan McPheat concurred with this and said that the only set of figures she knew would always be right were those sent by Col Martin.
On Friday before he died, Col asked his family to bring up the master point books, asked Lee Hore to bring the results of the week and showed his son how to compute the master points. He knew he did not have much longer, but wanted to make sure that everything was up to date. Personally, I found that very moving and it was very much a reflection of Col’s values – if you are going to do a job, then do it properly.
Col is going to be greatly missed at our Club and our condolences go to his wife Val, his children and grandchildren.