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Thelma Martin

Thelma Martin

Thelma Sundheim Martin came to Madison as the bride of the late George Martin in the fall of 1935. By her own admission she at first knew nothing about the sport of wrestling until caught in the infectious enthusiasm of Mr. Martin, in whose name the Hall of Fame is dedicated.

Thelma's role in the growth of wrestling in Wisconsin was not to be overshadowed by the magnitude of involvement of her husband. She grew to be a tremendous influence in this life as well as a contributor to the wrestling development he felt so important. With George as the wrestling coach at the University of Wisconsin, she became "house mother" to a long series of out-of-state wrestlers, without whom the University could not have competed on anywhere near an equal basis with other Big-10 schools. She held homecoming dinner parties for University wrestling alumni and their wives and hosted annual wrestling banquets and fall clinics for the high school wrestling coaches in the Wisconsin W-Club room. She initiated the coffee hour during the state wrestling tournaments so wives of high school wrestling coaches could become better acquainted. These were first held in the Martin home and later, as the number of wives increased with the growth of wrestling, they were held in the W-Club room.

She served from 1970-76 as possibly the only female wrestling mat representative in the state, and perhaps the entire country, and in doing so performed a real service to the schools and colleges of the state. She also established in 1970, and supported with personal contributions, the George A. Martin Memorial wrestling Scholarship awarded annually to a member of the University of Wisconsin wrestling team.