Xavier mourns ‘great leader’

Well-respected former Xavier College principal Lynn Martin passed away last week, aged 63, after a battle with Leukaemia. PHOTO: Supplied

THE Gawler community is mourning the death of former Xavier College principal Lynn Martin (pictured), after he died last week at age 63.

Mr Martin was Xavier College principal for 16 years before retiring at the end of 2019 after learning the Leukaemia he was first diagnosed with five years prior had returned.

He passed away on Thursday morning surrounded by his loved ones.

Thursday was bittersweet for the Xavier community, with the news of Mr Martin’s death coming on the same day it turned the first sod on its new Two Wells campus, which he had helped establish last year despite his ill health.

Xavier College acting principal Mark Flaherty, who worked as Mr Martin’s assistant principal for the entirety of his time in the position, said the well-respected educator would have wanted to see the school carry on with celebrating the expansion of the school he had spent 16 years growing.

“We talked about whether we should actually proceed with the day given it was only early that morning we learned of Lynn’s passing,” he said.

“But knowing Lynn really well, he would’ve wanted it to go ahead. He was really passionate about Two Wells and the expansion of the college into a second campus.

“He would’ve just loved to have been there and shared that moment with everyone.”

Mr Martin worked in Catholic education for 43 years, previously teaching at St Michael’s College and Mercedes College and holding senior leadership positions at Blackfriars Priory School and Gleeson College.

He succeeded inaugural Xavier College principal father Dennis Handley following his death in 2004, and oversaw the school’s growth from 600 students to more than 1000.

Earlier this year, Light Regional Council Mayor Bill O’Brien awarded Mr Martin the Mayor’s Inspiration Award in the council’s Australia Day awards list.

Mr Flaherty said Mr Martin had a special connection with staff and students which made him approachable and warming, even as his health deteriorated.

“Lynn was a great education leader and he was respected by the whole community – parents, students and staff alike,” he said.

“He devoted his life to better outcomes for students and he was an outstanding man, great leader and he was a great friend to role.

“When people spoke to him, they really got the feeling he was listening and he cared for them. And that was definitely true.”

Mr Martin’s funeral will be held tomorrow, with the ceremony to be small due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Mr Flaherty said Xavier College would explore ways to remember Mr Martin’s legacy at the school as coronavirus restrictions ease.

Sam Bradbrook

@sambradbrook

Sam Bradbrook joined The Bunyip in 2018 as a reporter and covers the Gawler, Playford and Adelaide Plains Council rounds. He graduated from the University of South Australia in the same year with a Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing and had previously interned at the Jakarta Post in Indonesia and The Courier in Mount Barker before moving to Gawler. In February of 2020, Sam was named the Young Journalist of the Year for 2019 by Country Press South Australia. He is interested in reporting on politics, healthcare, police and social issues and outside of work has a passion for sport and music.

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