Benson (Ben) Bennett Martin, Jr., VMD, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, died March 18, 2015, at the age of 68, after a long illness.
Dr. Martin was a pioneer in equine sports medicine and a specialist in surgery, working his entire 34-year veterinary career at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center.
During his distinguished career as a faculty member, Martin specialized in equine sports medicine and served as the Director of the Equine Performance Clinic and the Jeffords High Speed Treadmill. He was one of the first to use the treadmill as a veterinary diagnostic tool.
“If a race or show horse was not performing well, he was in charge of orchestrating that work,” said Dr. Ginny Reef, New Bolton’s Chief of Sports Medicine and Imaging. “He put all the pieces together to try and return the animal to its previous performance level.”
For 20 years, Martin was an integral member of Penn Vet’s Admissions Committee, helping select students, but also enthusiastically serving as a mentor, following their progress long into their careers.
“He was always available for students to ask questions about anything,” Reef said. “He was a terrific mentor— approachable, not judgmental.”
Martin retired from the faculty as an Associate Professor of Equine Sports Medicine in July 2014.
He was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, on October 8, 1946, to Benson Bennett Martin and Janeth (Nancy) Martin, who preceded him in death.
After graduating from Fairfield Prep, he served in the United States Navy, deployed to Vietnam. He graduated from the University of Connecticut, and in 1980, was awarded his VMD from Penn Vet. After completing an internship and a large animal surgery residency, Martin became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Martin was the consummate horseman, having grown up in the horse business. He worked in Thoroughbred racing for his uncle, Hall of Fame trainer James W. Maloney, and later at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, as well as in the show horse world.
His love of travel took him throughout the world, but he chose the north shore of Kauai and Hanalei Bay as his second home. With his friends and family, he explored the island and what it had to offer to its fullest: sailing to Niihau, hiking, kayaking the Na Pali, making lasting local friendships, and absorbing the culture. He was a prolific reader.
The oldest of six children, Martin was an awesome friend, a devoted son, and a big brother to all of his siblings. He had a tremendous passion for his family and friends. He is survived by his brothers, Bruce and Robert Martin, and their wives, Debi and Sue Martin; his sisters, Eve and Laurie Martin; and his sister-in-law, Maria Martin. A third sister, Anne Miserocchi, preceded him in death. Dr. Martin had three nephews, a niece, and a godson.
Also left behind are his three best friends for life: Dr. Ginny Reef, Lolly Clarke, and Ray Poland. Reef was his life partner for 35 years and remained by his side until his last day.
More than 120 of Martin’s friends, family, and colleagues attended a celebration of his life on May 31, held at New Bolton Center’s Allam House.
As an early proponent of Penn Vet’s Opportunity Scholarship program, Martin is considered one of its founders. The unique program combines financial aid with formal mentoring for qualified students throughout their veterinary education.