Dr. Lester Warren Martin

Dr. Lester Warren Martin

Wednesday, August 15th, 1923 - Friday, March 13th, 2020
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Dr. Lester Warren Martin of Bellbrook, formerly of Cincinnati, passed on March 13, 2020, after a courageous battle with congestive heart failure. Les was born on August 15, 1923, in Edwards, Missouri, on a small family farm in the Ozarks in the midst of the Great Depression. He wouldn’t have left the farm had it not been for the encouragement of a high school teacher who realized his potential. He encouraged Les to pursue a livestock judging competition that led to a scholarship to the University of Missouri. Les graduated, earned a second degree in veterinary medicine, served in the military in World War II and then pursued a career in medicine. He graduated from Harvard Medical School, where he met his wife and life partner Joan, and then trained at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, where he ultimately finished his training as a pediatric surgeon.

Les moved to Cincinnati and was the Chief of Surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for 32 years. He was a pioneer in modernizing pediatric surgical techniques that are still used today. He trained surgeons throughout the world on his innovative method to perform surgery on children with ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease. He developed a technique, that would later be named for him, for using parts of the small intestine to create a new reservoir for diseased colon and to preserve surrounding muscles and bowl tissue. The Lester Martin Pull Through Method eliminated the need for a child to use an ostomy bag. He also performed the first successful kidney transplant in Ohio, in June, 1965, and the child went on to live a full life.

The true measure of his work was the compassion he showed for his patients and their families. His humble ways earned him the respect of his colleagues and truly all who knew him. By the time he retired, Les had changed the lives of thousands of children and their families. He loved going to work each day, often working countless hours for weeks on end. When he wasn’t working, his passion was anything agriculture. He raised and showed champion bulls and was an avid gardener.

Les was preceded in death by his loving wife of over 65 years Joan Belanger Martin and his daughter Sally Martin Stewart. He is survived by his daughters Betsy (Mark) Smith, Susan (Al) Weinert, Janet (Stuart) Bertolino and his son David (Cindy) Martin, 13 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren, all of whom will miss his wisdom and guidance each day.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to Cincinnati Childrens, 3333 Burnet Ave, ML 4900, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3026 ( You are also invited to send a condolence or share a story about Lester on his Online Book of Memories by going to and click on his name. Private Family Graveside Services were held.
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Private Family Graveside Services were held.


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