Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin, 60, of Trion, GA passed away on May 20th with his beautiful wife, Nina, and devoted family by his side, a reflection of the love he shared with so many in his lifetime.

Jeff was a professional rope and rescue instructor, obtaining the elite level of Level III Certification from the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT), taking great pleasure in helping others conquer their fears while learning new skills. Working with Over the Edge, Jeff instructed participants as first-time rappelers who descended high rise buildings and structures as a major source of fundraising for non-profits. Jeff’s gentle reassurance and kindness helped him excel in assisting others who thought they would never be able to complete such a task. An additional reward was knowing that nonprofit organizations, such as Special Olympics, would benefit from this work.

Jeff and Nina were also the owners of Inner Mountain Outfitters for 17 years, which supplied the caving, climbing, rescue, and technical rope access industry. At their shop in Trion, they hosted vertical caving and high angle rescue training for many years. They both trained through the National Cave Rescue Commission and served on the Hamilton County Cave & Cliff Rescue team (TN) for several years, assisting with the evacuation and transport of injured cavers, climbers, and the public. In addition, Jeff was always present at the annual Bridge Day rappel in West Virginia, leading a team that rappelled from a bridge that was 876 feet above the New River. Jeff stood out, not just for his technical abilities, skills, and knowledge for that unique rappel, but the American flag that adorned him, proudly showing his love for country and fellow man.

As a Life Member and Fellow of the National Speleological Society and long-term member of the Dogwood City Grotto (Atlanta, GA), Jeff had a visible presence in the caving community promoting cave conservation, education, and fellowship through hands on instruction of safe and responsible cave exploration and technique. Serving as the Co-Chair of the 2014 Convention for the National Speleological Society and Chair of the TAG Fall Cave-In, twice, then as the Site Operations Boss for the event when it moved, Jeff’s leadership ensured he took care of those under his charge. In the latter role, Jeff took a raw tract of land and managed the development of the new site, successfully motivating hundreds of volunteers to keep the renovations and improvements on task and budget. The development of the new site was a testament to Jeff’s love of caving, volunteering, and helping his fellow cavers whenever needed. He assumed this role again for the new site in Alabama and had a clear vision based on the friendship he developed with the landowners. Jeff also served in several Board positions for the Dogwood City Grotto, as well as on the Board of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc., the nation’s largest land conservancy solely focused on protecting caves.

Applying his many talents to skills such as wood working, construction, and mechanical repair, Jeff was quick to lend a hand to his friends and family, always putting them first. He was restoring a custom conversion van with plans to travel the country with Nina, and had a deep passion for NASCAR, fulfilling his dream to drive on the Atlanta racetrack.

Jeff was the son of the late Melvin Buford Martin and the late Lottie Pauline Mitchell. He is survived by his wife, Nina, whom he celebrated 32 years of marriage with, as well as his four-legged children, Micro and Millie, who were both rescued, Allen Martin (brother), Deborah Fries (sister), several nephews, a great nephew, and a great niece. His love and kindness that he shared serve as an inspiration for others to never forget to tell your friends and family how much you love them.

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