USC Upstate Mourns Loss of Zerno Martin

January 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Zerno Martin

The University of South Carolina Upstate mourns the loss of Zerno E. Martin, Jr., who died January 9, 2016 at 82-years young. During the early years of his career as a hospital administrator at Spartanburg General Hospital, which began in 1961, Martin played a significant role in helping to establish the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Spartanburg General Hospital announced it was phasing out its diploma program for registered nurses in 1967 and the community was faced with a serious healthcare problem.

Spartanburg General Hospital CEO Charlie Boone, Spartanburg General Hospital Board Chairman Tommy Thomason, and Martin, who served as Spartanburg General Hospital Vice President, took the initial steps of contacting USC Columbia. Soon it was determined that a Spartanburg campus was needed and through the efforts of many community leaders, classes began for USC Spartanburg in the basement of the old nurses residence at Spartanburg General Hospital in the fall of 1967.

Charlie Boone, CEO Emeritus of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, fondly recalled, “I really depended on him. He was the liaison, if you will, between the hospital and the university. All that I can say is Zerno has left an indelible mark on that institution [Spartanburg Regional] and this institution, USC Upstate, and he will always have a place in the heart of this place.”

Martin retired in 1993 as senior vice president of Administration and then consulted with SRHS Foundation until 2013, giving him 50 years of service with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Martin also maintained his ties with USC Upstate, establishing the Zerno E. Martin Endowed Scholarship Fund and serving as a member of the USC Upstate Foundation Board.

Martin is survived by his daughter, Catherine Diehl Martin; son, Zerno Evin Martin, III (Kristie); grandsons, Joshua Michael Carter (Trish) and Zachary Moore; the mother of his children, Virginia S. Martin; brother, Jack Taylor Martin (Alice McCall); and longtime friend and partner, Elsie Ruth Wright. In addition to his parents, he was also predeceased by a brother, James Frank Martin, MD (Kay Cox).

Visitation will be 6 – 8 p.m., Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel, 2075 East Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29307. Funeral services will be conducted at 3 p.m., Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 309 Fernwood Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29307, conducted by the Rev. Dr. Paul M. Peterson and the Rev. Todd Walter.

Memorials may be made to Zerno Martin Nursing Scholarship Fund, c/o SRMC Foundation, 101 E. Wood St., Spartanburg, SC 29303; or Zerno E. Martin Endowed Scholarship Fund, c/o USC Upstate Foundation, 800 University Way, Spartanburg, SC 29303.

An online guest register is available at