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Clarence Alvin Martin Jr., 47, a 14-year Army veteran

A devoted churchman, he enjoyed racing motorcycles and doing bike stunts.

Clarence Alvin Martin Jr.,
Clarence Alvin Martin Jr.,Read more

AL MARTIN joined the Army to see the world. And he did.

In 14 years in the military, Al was stationed in Korea, Germany, the Persian Gulf, Panama and Lebanon - not to mention Texas, Kentucky and other bases in the States.

He was a specialist in nuclear, chemical and biological warfare.

Clarence Alvin Martin Jr., whose idea of a good time was doing stunts on motorcycles and racing them, a car salesman, Comcast cable installer and bartender, died Sunday of cancer. He was 47 and lived in Wilmington, Del., but previously lived in Southwest Philadelphia.

Al, as he was called by family and friends, was so fond of motorcycles that even after he was too ill to ride, he would smile when he heard one go by, his family said.

Al also was devoted to the African Methodist Episcopal faith and, wherever he was stationed in the States, he would seek out the nearest church.

He was a member of Sons of Allen, the men's ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which seeks through study and prayer to foster camaraderie and service to others.

Al was born on the Chanute Air Force Base, in Rantoul, Ill., where his father, the Rev. Clarence A. Martin, then an airman, was stationed.

Both his father and his mother, the Rev. E. Joyce Dixon-Martin, are A.M.E. ministers. His father is pastor of the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Lansdowne, and his mother is assistant pastor.

Al graduated from Overbrook High School and entered the Army in 1984. After his discharge, he worked as a car salesman, a Comcast contractor installing cable systems, and, while living for a time in Las Vegas, a bartender at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

Missing the military life, Al decided to join the National Guard. He became a member of 128th Chemical Company of the 28th Division, and served as a drill sergeant.

In 1993, an Army buddy introduced him to his sister, Deirdre Jennings. Love blossomed, and they were married on June 4, 1994.

Al's family and friends traveled to Atlanta for the ceremony. Deirdre had a daughter, Remy, and on June 12, 1998, their own daughter, Celine, was born.

Al studied Scripture and developed a deep understanding of biblical lore. He was renowned for his amazing memory. He retained everything he read or heard. His wife named him "Wikipedia Britannica."

He was a fitness advocate - "for all who could endure his rigorous training regime," his family said.

In addition to his wife and daughters, Al is survived by two brothers, Kevin and Bryant Sr.

Services: 10 a.m. tomorrow at Ward African Methodist Episcopal Church, 4301 Aspen St. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be private.