Wilmington optometrist killed in RV crash in Missouri
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Friends say he loved motorcycles, being outdoors and traveling. And that's how he died. Long-time Wilmington optometrist Dr. George Martin was killed in a crash yesterday in Missouri, leaving a community in mourning.

"There will never be another person like Dr. Martin. It's just truly a loss for everyone," said Dr. Scott Sikes, a former coworker of Dr. Martin.

"Larger than life" is how friends describe the Vietnam veteran.

"He served his country and served his community well. Loved outdoor things, loved traveling, loved his motorcycle. He was an avid shooter, he was part of a gun club and a motorcycle club here," Dr. Bonnie Fanelli said. "He just loved getting outside. Kind of a man's man, you know?"

Sikes and Fanelli worked with Dr. Martin at the Eye Care Center on Oleander drive. In 2009, Dr. Martin left the practice for health reasons and to enjoy retirement. To this day, his former patients would still ask how he was doing.

"I think it's a testament to him as a person, to his character," Sikes said. "Just the fact he was so likable and liked by everyone."

Tuesday, Dr. Martin was killed, and his wife Joanie was injured when his motorhome rear-ended a semi trailer in Missouri. Used to seeing him stop by on occasion, coworkers will now have to deal with this permanent loss.

"I feel like the community lost a great doctor and a profession as well," Fanelli said.

At last check, Joanie Martin was still in the hospital, but will soon return to Wilmington to make funeral arrangements.

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George was a Magnanimous larger than life John Wayne type of guy. He was a dear friend and I will miss his rapier like wit. He helped me through some dark times when my health was very poor. My deepest sympathy for his family in their time of need and sorrow. George and I shared many things our love of all things that shoot, ice cream, motorcycles and ''John Wayne''. I met George online at UziTalk and became fast friends. He would either call or email me everyday with a joke or a funny cartoon to share. When I was at my worst health wise George rode his bike from Wilmington, N.C. to my home in Wauchula, FL to see me and to share a half gallon of ice cream with me. He had a good heart and loved life and lived it fully every single day. I am very fortunate to call him ''Friend'' and he will be missed by my wife and I. Even though he is gone I feel his presence everyday and know he is riding to the horizon with an Uzi in his side car with a quart of Rocky Road ice cream on ice in a cooler next to him. Ride easy my friend and God be with you.

Chuck

George was a super nice guy. Shooting with me at the UZITalk Shoots were some great times. So sorry to hear about this.......

Rest in Peace BeachinBeamer! I only knew you from the forum as meeting was kind of difficult with me being in the Netherlands, but the news of your passing hit hard. You'll be truely missed!

My sincere condolences to a dear friend. He was the tops in personality and knowlege. I'm going to miss his humor and smiles and stops he made by my house on his motorcycle trips across the nation.

Jim "Jarhead Jim" Foster

Best eye exam and glasses I ever had. So sad he is gone. He will be missed.

It is very sad to read that Dr. Martin is no longer with us. He was a wonderful doctor when he still in practice and I always enjoyed my appts. with him!

George was a great guy. I still remember the shoot he hosted. What a blast and I was hoping to see him again at the next UziTalk Shoot. He will be missed. God's speed my friend!