Martin Lake (posthumous) Share

Oct 1, 2021  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

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.”

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