FAIRVIEW — The latest victim of the May 24 tornado outbreak had nowhere to hide except inside a pickup parked in a barn, his sons said Friday.
Ron Martin, 57, of Carmen, died Thursday from injuries suffered in a tornado that hit the Fairview and Canton areas. He suffered a spinal cord injury that his sons said triggered more complications. He became the 11th person killed in tornadoes that struck at least seven counties that day and the only one to die in the storm that hit near Canton Lake.
His younger son, Kent Martin, said his father was working on the family farm eight miles west of Fairview when hail began to fall. He rushed to the barn in his pickup for safety, Kent Martin said.
“The tornado came through and took the barn with him inside the pickup truck,” said his oldest son, Charles Martin.
Ron Martin was found about 70 feet from the barn, still in the pickup. The vehicle was upright, but it looked like it had gone through a brick wall, Kent Martin said.
He was rushed to a Fairview hospital and then to OU Medical Center.
“He was whispering. We were able to find out some of the details,” Kent Martin said. “That was a pretty emotional time before surgery.”
Kent Martin said his father spent the next two days in intensive care before surgery.
During that time, neighbors and friends helped clean up destruction on the farm.
“He was a person who valued friends and family,” Kent Martin said. “He was very loved by the community.”
On the day of his surgery, he told his family to thank everyone, whispering “they're too good.”
After the operation, Ron Martin was put on a respirator. His family never heard him speak again.
“He was nodding and shaking his head, and we were trying to read his lips, but it's hard to talk with a respirator,” Kent Martin said.
His family was hopeful about a recovery. But after speaking with doctors, Kent Martin said, he knew his father's health was failing.
“There was a time when we thought he was getting better, but then things went downhill real fast after that,” he said.
Services for Ron Martin are scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Alva First Church of the Nazarene. Family members ask that memorial donations be made to his childhood church, Cedar Springs Church of the Nazarene, to help rebuild the church from storm damage.
Ron Martin is also survived by his wife, Charlene, a daughter, Ronda and five grandchildren.
The tornadoes destroyed 493 homes and businesses and damaged 370 more.