Martindill, William

William Martindill was an active philanthropist and volunteer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Through his church, Westminster Presbyterian, he developed and served on the board of Porter Hills Retirement Community. Martindill was also the main fundraiser for the SOUL of Philanthropy group that conducted interviews with key West Michigan figures in order to gain and share knowledge about philanthropy in Grand Rapids.

Biographical Highlights

William Martindill was born in 1910 and raised in Ohio. He began working for an oil company directly out of business school. He earned a degree from Ohio University during the eleven years he stayed with the oil company. This helped him to endure the Great Depression. In 1959, he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and purchased the Michigan Lithographing Company. He was a key organizer of the development of Porter Hills Retirement Community and assisted with other community efforts.

Historic Roots

Bill Martindill was born in Hamden, Ohio, on April 22, 1910. His grandparents and parents were pioneers and business owners in that area of Ohio. Even as a boy, he did some work for his father. He completed business school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in April 1928, and found employment with a major oil company. When he decided to pursue a degree at Ohio University, the oil company promised him his job back after he graduated. This was fortunate for Martindill, because by then the Great Depression had started. He married Inetta Pfeister in 1933, and the couple had two children. After eleven years with the oil company, Martindill took a series of jobs helping companies with financial and management difficulties. Wishing to settle down, he next purchased Michigan Lithographing, a Grand Rapids printer of labels for food products. Michigan Lithographing was originally incorporated in 1901. Martindill bought it and moved to Grand Rapids in 1959, maintaining ownership until selling it in 1973.

Importance

The owner of Michigan Lithographing Company, Martindill was a longtime successful business owner in Grand Rapids. Through his church, he helped develop Porter Hills Retirement Community. He served as president of the board and continued to support Porter Hills with financial gifts and volunteering for many years. He was active as a volunteer and as a philanthropist in a variety of community efforts.

Ties to the Philanthropic Sector

Both Bill and Inetta were active supporters of Westminster Presbyterian Church, joining upon arrival in Grand Rapids. Bill was on the Butterworth Hospital Board of Trustees between 1972 and 1993. Through church, beginning in 1961, he became treasurer of a committee to establish a retirement community. That committee incorporated as Porter Hills Presbyterian Village in 1964. The institution opened in 1970. Martindill served as president of the board for eight years beginning in 1973. He gave the lead gift and was a major fundraiser for the Martindill Wellness Center that opened there in 1999.

Martindill was also the main fundraiser for the SOUL of Philanthropy group that conducted interviews with key West Michigan figures in order to gain and share knowledge about philanthropy in Grand Rapids.

Key Related Ideas

A native of Ohio, Martindill was fortunate to find employment during the Great Depression. He was successful in business throughout his life and became a business owner in Grand Rapids in 1959. Especially after selling Michigan Lithographing in 1973, he pursued a variety of volunteer and philanthropic activities.

Important People Related to the Topic

  • Donald Porter: Donated the land for the construction of Porter Hills Retirement Community. The retirement community was named for him.

Related Nonprofit Organizations

  • The Grand Rapids Community Foundation: Michigan’s oldest nonprofit organization pools donations in order to invest them and make grants to a variety of charitable organizations. https://www.grfoundation.org/ GRCF worked with the SOUL of Philanthropy group on SOUL’s project.
  • Porter Hills Retirement Community: The mission of Porter Hills is to provide a continuum of high quality communities and services for older adults in accordance with Christian values. https://www.porterhills.org/ Read about the Martindill Wellness Center at http://www.porterhills.org/HomeCareMartindillWellness.asp
  • The SOUL of Philanthropy is a project of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to interview Grand Rapids philanthropists and share their stories with the community. http://www.soulofphilanthropy.org/

Related Web Sites

  • Westminster Presbyterian Church is a metropolitan Grand Rapids church with a diverse congregation founded in 1861. (http://westminstergr.org)

Bibliography and Internet Sources

The “Michigan Lithographing Collection” (Coll. #314) at the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections of the Grand Rapids Public Library contains material from the company Martindill owned in Grand Rapids and includes a biography of him.

Clipping file and oral history in the SOUL of Philanthropy collection in the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections of the Grand Rapids Public Library