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.