Wes Martin, at his home outside Bloomington
Art and medicine have at least one thing in common: the power to ease suffering. Wes Martin has come to know both very well. He fell in love with painting in his early teens, and took a deep interest in medicine after his wife, Luella, was diagnosed in 1991 with Alzheimer's Disease. Wes recently made a planned gift to the IU School of Medicine, giving a major boost to research into this condition. Another gift from Wes to the IU Nursing School will promote Alzheimer's caregiving. Caring, in fact, figures prominently in the resumés of Wes and Luella Martin.
Wes and Luella met at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis in the early thirties and attended the University of Illinois together. Wes graduated in architectural engineering, and Luella in elementary education. They were married in 1941, and Wes entered the US Naval Reserve. After the war, Wes joined Eli Lilly & Company as head of the architectural division.
Meanwhile, Luella, always an active supporter of civic and charitable organizations, dedicated much of her time to bodies such as the Children's Bureau of Indianapolis, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indianapolis Day Nursery, the Indiana Society of Pioneers, and the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis—this in addition to raising their three children. Wes and Luella also helped to found the Indiana Association for Retarded Citizens.
In 1952, Wes co-founded Martin & Jelliffe Architects, a firm that designed residential and commercial architecture. From 1962 until 1982 he was president of Geupel Architects & Engineers, whose clients included General Motors, L.S. Ayres, and Eli Lilly. He now works in private practice, doing research on affordable housing and producing designs for "contemporary-rustic" retreats all over the country.
New Priorities: Caregiving and Research
Luella now lives in the Meadowood Retirement Community in Bloomington. Wes, who lives on the grounds of a ranch and stables owned by their son Patrick just outside Bloomington, was determined to do something for those who suffer from the disease, both now and in years to come. And a good architect knows the importance of planning for the future.
In December 2000 he established the Luella McWhirter Martin Fund at the IU School of Nursing to support training, internships, and fellowships that advance education and behavioral research related to Alzheimer's caregiving. Half of the gift will be used in conjunction with Meadowood. "The long-term hope," says Wes, "is to have a permanent Alzheimer's unit at Meadowood."
In 2001 Wes went further, making a $2 million planned gift to endow three new posts at the IU School of Medicine: The Luella McWhirter Martin Professorship in Clinical Alzheimer's Research, the Martin Chair in Alzheimer's Research, and the Wesley P. Martin Professorship in Alzheimer's Education. "The School has become a real force in Alzheimer's research," Wes explains. "There's so much we don't know yet about the disease." Wes Martin's gift to IU is built to last—because he designed it that way.