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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.

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