John and Maida Martin: Bo'ness couple married for 70 years die days apart

A devoted couple who were married for 70 years and died within days of each other are to be buried in a joint funeral service.

Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 4:30 pm

John and Maida Martin were both born and bred in Bo’ness, living in the town all their lives until recently moving to Wallside Grange Nursing Home in Falkirk.

Sadly it was there, aged 92, that John died at 11.30pm on February 25.

The couple would have celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary the following day.

John and Maida Martin on their Diamond wedding anniversary in 2012

Lost without her lifelong partner, Maida, 89, died on March 7.

For almost 40 years, Maida had been the very public face of our sister paper, the Bo’ness Journal, dealing with all the readers, customers and enquiries that arrived at the front office.

Maida was born Marion Gray Russell in Muirhouses, Carriden, the first child of Archie and Christina Russell. Later siblings Catherine, young Archie and Alex came along.

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At 14 Maida started work at the Co-operative and sometime later she was walking past a building site when a handsome young joiner working on the roof gave her a wolf whistle.

Although mortified she must have taken it as a compliment because soon she and John Martin were walking out together.

John White Marshall Martin was born at 46 East Castleloan, the son of William and Jeannie Martin.

He was an apprentice joiner with Brays in Bo’ness before joining workmate Jimmy Mitchell who had branched out on his own.

However, National Service beckoned and John became a rather reluctant gunner in the Royal Artillery.

Yet nothing could get in the way of his romance with Maida and on February 26, 1952 they were married at the Old Kirk Manse.

John was posted to Munster in Germany and Maida went to stay with his mother and sister Margaret in Linlithgow Road, eagerly awaiting his return.

When John was demobbed, he and Maida settled down to married life in a flat above the Bo’ness Journal office in North Street, where in June 1956 she started work as the front office receptionist until retiring on Hogmanay 1995.

Niece Christine Hodges said: “The one big sadness in Maida and John’s life was that they never had children for they would have made the most wonderful parents.

"Their nephews and nieces are too numerous to mention, but all had a place in John and Maida’s hearts and many have happy memories of the times they spent together.”

As a joiner, John’s services were called upon as the Bo’ness Fair approached and he helped build many arches and rigged up floats.

The year following her retiral from the Journal, Maida was given the honour of crowning the 1996 Bo'ness Fair Queen and it left many special memories for the whole family.

Christine added: “She loved her job at the Journal & Gazette, working alongside the reporters and photographers, who would sometimes take her with them on big stories – Maida would simply lock the office and

jump on the back of a reporter’s scooter.

"She and John were a force for good in so many people’s lives, often without realising it.”

Allan Scott, a former chief reporter for the Journal and Gazette, worked with Maida from January 1990 until her retirement.He said: ''Quite simply Maida was a legend at the Journal and Gazette where she worked for some 40 years.''Certainly she was already an institution behind the front office counter when I arrived in January 1990 on a temporary posting which lasted 18 years!''There was not one influential figure in Bo'ness community life whom Maida was not on first name terms with, councillors, businessmen, clergy and ordinary working folk.''She ensured that I was swiftly introduced to many, many key community figures in the town and helped me win their trust - and she made a mean cup of tea also!''

The funeral service for John and Maida takes place tomorrow, March 17 at Bo’ness Old Kirk at 1pm, followed by an interment at New Carriden Cemetery at 1.45pm.

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