The Marion and Grant County community has a forever champion in Martin Lake. On Sept. 10, 2021, the retired lawyer, historian and civic servant passed away at 82. He was known locally as cofounder of the historic Mississinewa 1812 battle reenactment.
Summarized from his obituary, P. Martin Lake was born in Marion, raised in Grant County, and as a child became interested in farm animals, particularly Brown Swiss cows. He began showing cows, then grew to judge events. Once married, Lake’s interest steered toward thoroughbreds with his wife. They later became breeders and established Spencer Hill Thoroughfares. Lake received a doctorate from Indiana University School of Law and practiced for 48 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Purdue in industrial economics. He served as the public defender for the juvenile division of Grant Superior Court II, Prosecuting Attorney for Grant County, served in the Indiana House of Representatives, and presided over the Grant County Bar Association. Lake practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. District Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court, and Indiana Supreme Court. He served on the Character and Fitness Committee of the IN Supreme Court and was a member of the American Bar Association and Indiana Bar Association. He served as president of the Grant County Historical Society and chairman of the marketing and finance committees for the Indiana Historical Society. Lake served on many more boards including the Grant County Convention and Visitors Commission, Community Foundation of Grant County, Grant County Adult 4‑H Leaders, Grant County 4‑H Fair Association, Grant County Brown Swiss Breeders Association, Swayzee Town Board, Swayzee Lions Club, Sigma Delta Chi National Journalism Society, and Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Lake is a Sagamore of the Wabash, Kentucky Colonel, and twice earned the Chairman’s Award from the Marion-Grant County Chamber of Commerce. Lake is a military veteran having served as First Lieutenant, Staff Officer in the Third U.S. Army, and Captain in the Army Reserves.
Lake was president and chairman of the Mississinewa Battlefield Society which exists to perpetuate the longstanding tradition of Mississinewa 1812 each October since 1988. Cofounder Ed Breen expressed, “Mississinewa 1812 and all that it means for this community is here because of Martin Lake and there isn’t anyone who can contradict this. It was his vision, his authority, his absolute insistence on maintaining quality that made the thing happen and continue to be successful. He was also my friend for 50 years and he is missed very much.”
Mayor Jess Alumbaugh stated, “Lake was the true definition of a county seat lawyer: homegrown and devoted to a life of service to his native Grant County. His career spanned 60 years of substantial contributions to his country and community. Among the long list of notable accomplishments, perhaps he is best known as co-founder, president and chairman of the Mississinewa 1812 festival, now in its 33rd year. Martin is a true Champion.”