Remembering Tom Martin

It is with heavy hearts The Mint Museum shares that Special Events Director Tom Martin passed away on January 15, 2021 at the age of 60.

His memorial service for immediate family is Saturday, Jan. 22 at 11 AM and can be streamed virtually here.

Tom grew up in Massachusetts, and built a name for himself in events and food service as the Director of Catering and Convention Services for the Harvard Club of Boston, where he worked for more than 12 years. He relocated to Charlotte in 2013.

Tom was the Mint’s director of special events for over four years, and in that time, he helped grow special events revenue by over 40 percent, says Gary Blankemeyer, the Mint’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

In his tenure at the Mint, Tom helped secure and execute on a number of high-profile events for clients ranging from tech giant Facebook to billionaire businessman and Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, who announced Charlotte’s new MLS team from inside the Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium at Mint Museum Uptown. During the NBA All-Star Weekend in February 2019 in Charlotte—the biggest event in basketball—Tom shepherded a museum-wide takeover by Nike and Jordan Brand that even included a basketball court in Mint Museum Uptown’s atrium and a wrap across the building’s facade.

“He was driven to do the best,” says Blankemeyer. “And not only was he a good business partner, but he was someone I could count on, someone I could rely on, which is all you want as a manager.”

Tom was a great man, says John Caldwell, special events manager at the Mint. “He taught me so much about the events business. He changed my professional life as well as my personal life because he became my friend.”

Tom is survived by his three daughters, Jessica, Katelyn and Kristina; two grandsons, Joey and Tommy; as well as a brother, Robert Martin; and his partner of eight years, Gladys Blakeman— all of whom he loved to spend time with at the beach and in Charlotte. His care for even the smallest details carried over into his personal life as well, whether he was pruning a tree, stocking the fridge for family coming to stay at his house for the holidays, or executing on one of his many DIY projects.

“He was always rebuilding, remodeling,” says Blakeman. “We built a patio together and flower boxes for one of his daughters. When the heater went out at my townhome, the electrician told him it’d be $1,700. He said, ‘I’m not paying that, I’m going to Google it.’ He did it himself for $500.”

Tom hired special events manager Laura Hale about a year ago. They both had backgrounds in catering and shared a love of the Boston Celtics. Tom was ambitious, yes, with big goals and ideas for how to grow the Mint’s special events business, she says.

But Tom was also nurturing and sweet. Above all else, Hale says she loved how Tom was always up for a good chat. “You’d go in and be like, ‘Hey, how’s it going? How was your weekend?’ And you’d be standing in his office door for the next 30 to 40 minutes. He’d tell you that weekend he’d had Bloody Marys and then he’d tell you about the time he was in Boston and had the best Bloody Mary.”