Serving Beyond the Court: The Multifaceted Life of Jim Martz
Jan 08, 2024
Jim Martz, the late founder and editor of Florida Tennis magazine, led a remarkable life outside of the tennis world. My conversation with his sister, Sue Schmidt, offers a heartfelt glimpse into the multifaceted life Jim led, revealing interests that extended far beyond his legendary career in sports journalism.
Sue emphasized Jim’s deep involvement with the Big Brother mentor program. Sue, an ordained minister, recommended the program to Jim.
Sue explained, “You are assigned a young man that needs a father figure in his life. Once he was assigned a little brother he would take him to ballgames that this kid probably would never have had a chance to go to before. And the bond that he was able to create with these young fellas just by caring about them, was immense."
Above: A look back at Jim Martz being recognized in 2021 for his outstanding contribution as a Big Brother in South Florida (YouTube: WPTV)
Like Sue, Jim's faith was a core element of his identity, influencing how he lived his life. Sue shares, “Both of us grew up in a Christian home. The church was like our second home.” Jim eventually became a volunteer elder at his church. Sue said, "It's made a big difference in who he is and how he conducts himself in business and with other people."
Looking back to childhood, Sue told me, "He had a paper route and loved to deliver the paper... he liked having that job." Who knew that someday he'd become a sports writer for the Miami Herald? Sue fondly remembers, “He loved sports from day one. He played baseball as a boy.” And, being from Indiana, "We had to love basketball... We all love basketball."
Above: Jim and Sue with their father when they were children. Photo courtesy of Sue Schmidt.
However, his career path wasn't obvious in college. “It was a fraternity brother that needed him to step in [to cover a sporting event]... He wrote the story up and he got accolades. And he was so surprised,” Sue recalls. This unexpected event sparked the beginning of Jim’s career in journalism.
Over the years, Sue and Jim formed a strong bond as they grew older. She explained, "We really respected each other and I remember telling him how much I thought about him and the work he did with helping so many people. And he said, well, I always think that about you... We were really lucky."
Florida Tennis readers will always remember Jim Martz. But Sue Schmidt provides a different lens into Jim's life. He was a man of faith and a devoted brother. His life's work extended far beyond Florida's tennis courts and into the hearts of those he touched through his writing, his mentoring, his faith, and the profound difference he made in our community.
Written by Florida Tennis' Executive Editor and Publisher Matt Pressman. Photo at top: Jim Martz with his nieces and nephews at a family gathering. Photo courtesy of Sue Schmidt.