Martin Joseph Filogamo was born in Boston, Massachusetts on April 18, 1927 to Margaret and Peter Filogamo. His mother, a shy, timid 5 year old, came to Ellis Island in 1905 on a boat from Italy; his father arrived at Boston Harbor.
In 1944, two weeks after graduating from Belmont High, Marty enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, and signed his professional contract with the Cleveland Indians to play in Midland, Texas. After three seasons and several injuries Marty accepted a position to manage a semi-pro team in Gurdon, Arkansas. As the season came to a close Marty was confronted with a big decision. “By some sort of miracle, I enrolled in college at a place called Henderson State Teachers College, and my life was completely changed forever.”
While attending Henderson, Marty was involved in the Student Senate, the golf team, helped coach the HSU baseball team, and was (and still is) an active member of Kappa Sigma Kappa. Amongst his fondest Henderson memories are enrolling at HSTC during August of 1950, being named Outstanding Academic Freshman, and becoming president of the sophomore class. Marty met his future bride, Jeanne Saunders during his junior year at Henderson. He graduated from Henderson in 1954 with a BA in Economics and a desire to teach. Teacher salaries were very low and Marty went to work in the newspaper business. Although it was a good job, something was missing. After resisting the temptation long enough, Marty signed his first teaching contract in August of 1959. “After a few interesting days I knew God put me on this earth to teach and not to be a baseball player.” Marty went on to earn his master’s degree from East Texas State University in 1962.
Marty taught 6th grade for 3 years and was promoted to elementary school principal. Later, Marty was assigned to a supervisory position working with potential drop outs. In 1977 he became the headmaster of St. James Day School in Texarkana. Marty retired in 1987, having taught at every level from 3 year olds through high school. He currently teaches 16-28 year olds at a prison in Texarkana. “My life is all about kids and their importance in life.”
Marty has been the recipient of many accolades pertaining to his career in education and tremendous dedication to serving his fellow man. He received the Texarkana, Arkansas Booster of the Year Award in 1973. A baseball field was named in his honor in 1982. He received the Jack Hardy Education Service Award in 1988. He was the recipient of the Exceptional Accomplishments Award by the Arkansas Community Program in 1985. Filogamo Boulevard in Texarkana was named in his honor in 2006.
Marty has been serving in the Texarkana Baseball Association for over 52 years. He was president and a member of the board of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, president of the board and a member of the Miller County Credit Union. Marty has served on the Adult Education Advisory Program for the last 21 years, and the Wage Education Advisory Program for the last 5 years. He served on the Girl Scouts Board of Directors and as president of Miller County Education. He has served as the national deputy commissioner for the Dixie Youth Baseball Association for the last 15 years, covering 11 southern states and involving over a half a million young Americans. He served on the United Blood Services Board and as a 4-H Club sponsor. He served on the Veterans History Project for the U.S. Senate in 2003. He has also served as athletic officer for the American Legion.
Marty is grateful for the education he received at Henderson, and frequently says “If it weren’t for Henderson, I don’t know where I’d be.”
Marty and Jeanne have 2 children and 6 grandchildren. They are devoted to their grandchildren and travel extensively for Marty’s commitments. Marty enjoys golf, traveling, kid’s baseball, tailgating at HSU and being involved with the Four States Reddies.