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Missing boater: ‘He died saving them,’ sister says

Published: Thu, September 18, 2008 @ 12:09 a.m.


Henry Martin’s body was found Wednesday morning.

YOUNGSTOWN — Whether it was riding his motorcycle or in his boat, Henry Martin liked to be outside.

“He did anything that had a measure of fun in it,” said Sean Cordova, 30, of Girard who was friends with Martin since childhood.

Camping, fishing and riding motorcycles were just some of the activities Cordova and Martin did together.

“We were like brothers,” Cordova said of Martin, 34, of Campbell.

Cordova and his brother-in-law, Michael Tooney, 27, of Columbiana were in Martin’s pleasure boat Sunday night when it overturned on Lake Milton.

Both Cordova and Tooney were rescued from the water by a state park officer, but Martin’s body wasn’t found until Wednesday morning.

Sunday night’s storm whipped through the Mahoning Valley with 60 mph winds causing conditions on the lake that Cordova had never witnessed before.

The three men were no stranger to boating and Martin’s sister, Stephanie Kocanjer, said her brother had been out on the lake 10 times this summer.

“He was a great person and would do anything for anyone,” said Kocanjer of Campbell.

And on Sunday night Martin did a brave thing for his two friends.

When the weather worsened, the waves got bigger and knocked Tooney out of the boat.

“I jumped in to get him [Tooney] and Henry threw us a life jacket,” said Cordova.

While Tooney and Cordova were both in the water, Martin tried to pull the boat closer to pick up the men. But the waves pushed the boat further away, eventually immersing the vessel, Cordova said.

“I’m really proud of him,” said Kocanjer. “He died saving them.”

Kocanjer described her brother as being a wonderful individual who brought a light to all those in his company.

Martin was a drywall finisher who had a passion for fixing and riding motorcycles.

“He was amazing in every way a person could be,” she said.

Martin is survived by his sister and five children.

“It was pretty much just me and him for a long time,” said Kocanjer who isn’t sure how life will make sense without her brother.

“He loved his kids, he loved me and I think everyone who knew him loved him in their own way,” she said.


1Nov1969(6 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

This was so Henry. I hadn't seen him in a few years but I am not suprised he died saving his friend.. He was definatly a good guy. I feel for his family and friends

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2ktmarie(1 comment)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

My name is Kristina, I am Stephanie and Henry's cousin. Lois Clarke was my grandma , which would be their aunt. We were very close when we were children. I have been trying to find them for years and had no idea how to get ahold of them. I am very sad about Henry. My grandma recently passed and I wanted to get ahold of them to let them know. They were very close to her as well. I would love it if Stephanie would be able to get in touch with me.

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3Cordovr(2 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

From the first day I met him, he called me cuz and from that day on we were. My son referred to him as Uncle Henry and he was. That’s the type of person he was, not just a friend but Family and that’s how we'll remember him, a special person we lost to soon. I will never forget him with his hilarious stories and outrageous comments that would leave us crying with laughter. Just an all around great person.

My condolences go out to all and especially his family.

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4metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

So sad.

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5ktoohey(1 comment)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Henry, you were a brother to me. I will miss you always and for ever! You were always there for me when I needed to talk to someone. You gave the BEST hugs and I don't think that anyone will ever huge me the way you did. I love you with all my heart I will miss you with all my love. I am still waiting for you to come over and get your stuff out of my yard. Henry, you were my brother, you were my son's uncle and you were my boyfriends "cuz" Thank you for all the laughs and good times my you rest in peace and know you will be loved for ever!!!

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