On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, Edward “Knox” Martin, III, beloved son and brother, cherished friend, and a Warrior if there ever was one, gained eternal life at the age of 24 after kicking brain cancer’s butt for three years.
True to his nature, Knox was eager to greet the world and those who lived in it: he arrived two weeks early on April 24, 1996. His birth and formative years were spent in the close-knit community of Gainesville, GA, a place where he felt an enduring connection and was proud to call home.
As a child, no one could elicit Knox’s deep belly laughter the way his life-long best friend and younger brother Riley could. Known to many teachers and coaches as the dynamic duo, Knox and Riley shared a passion for nature, science, and scouts. Whatever they did they enjoyed it more when they were together, especially being big brothers. Knox was nine years old and Riley was six years old when their younger sister Madelon was born. Upon learning that their mother was going to have a baby girl, Knox and Riley immediately went into big brother mode: Knox exclaimed, “Nobody better mess with my baby sister!”, while Riley performed a mock karate attack in the air. In addition to protector, Knox was also Madelon’s faithful bedtime storyteller, enthusiastic book reader, teacher of art and true confidante. Many family photos capture Knox quietly caring for Madelon: a hand-held escort to the ocean at one of her first visits to the beach, a gentle whisper in her ear as the two walked arm in arm along the cliffs of Ireland.
Knox’s love of the outdoors was fostered by years spent scouting. He traveled to Gainesville, GA, from his home in Gwinnett county for years to attend scout meetings with his original troop. Knox joined his father Eddie and his uncle Travis in earning the rank of Eagle Scout in 2014, after completing his final project of building a bridge along the Greater Atlanta Christian School Cross Country Trail. Knox grew in his relationship with Christ and grew as a servant leader at the YMCA Camp High Harbour, where he became a treasured counselor and esteemed Program Director. A perpetual big brother, Knox was passionate about cultivating the love of nature in others. During his free time at camp, Knox would often lead curious campers by a waterfall and talk trees, birds, and bugs.
Knox was a 2015 honor graduate of Greater Atlanta Christian School and a 2020 Zell Miller Scholar and University of Georgia graduate. He was a beloved brother of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, where he served as an officer. Knox paid no attention to brain cancer’s feeble attempts to disrupt his life: this earned him the nickname “Beast”. While in active treatment, Knox continued his studies at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and became a LEED associate, an internationally recognized green building certification. Knox realized his dream of blending his passion for the natural world with his career goals in the construction industry with his employment at Carroll Daniel Construction Company, a workplace comprised of people Knox admired and respected.
Knox packed a lot of living into his 24 years as a self-proclaimed “historic bon vivant”. His love of travel started with mission trips to New Orleans and Ecuador and extended to travel to Austria, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, as well as music festivals, national parks, and campsites throughout the United States. Knox’s friends and family who traveled with him enjoyed watching him order the most exotic item on the menu and perform his “food dance” upon its arrival.
Knox’s closest friends and family describe him and the impact he had on their lives:
“His impression on my life is unmatched, and I pray I can live a fraction of the life he did.”
“Knox was courageous and contagiously kind. We use our pain at his loss to go forward. Like Knox did, we turn pain into courage. Like Knox did, we treat everyone we meet as you would a childhood best friend. Like Knox did, we start looking up at the world in front of us with wonder and excitement.”
“It is the honor of a lifetime to be Knox Martin’s friend.”
“Knox’s love is captivating and genuine, an enveloping feeling that makes you believe in yourself and your choices.”
“There was never an encounter or a conversation with Knox that didn’t leave me feeling a little lighter or more fulfilled.”
“His attitude and strength are unparalleled. The focus was never allowed to be on him, but instead on others in his life, how they are, or what they’re going through. That’s a lot to be said for a 24-year-old with a brain tumor.”
“I know I will find Knox in all of the beautiful things around me. I know I will find Knox in my heart when I need comfort. And I know I will find Knox seated with Jesus in Heaven on the glorious day when we meet again.”
“I know without a shadow of a doubt he was met with the words ‘well done thy good and faithful servant.”
“Thank you, Knox. You made me a better person.”
Knox is survived by his parents Becky (Towe) and Eddie Martin, Jr.; siblings Riley and Madelon Martin; grandparents Dinah and Eddie Martin, Bill Towe, and Charlon Dunlap; aunts and uncles Renee Ridgeley and Matt Selman, Travis Towe and Yulia Makovetska, Michael and Kellie Martin and their children, Knox’s beloved cousins; and his cherished girlfriend, Madison Letts.
Knox may have changed his address, but he will remain in our hearts and our lives. May we all aspire to view life with the reverence and awe that Knox did, taking note of the beauty all around us. A small private service for family was held on Sunday, December 6, 2020, at Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville, Georgia. A Celebration of Life Service and kickoff to the Knox Martin Foundation for Brain Cancer Research Foundation were held the weekend of what would have been Knox’s 25th Birthday: April 24 - 25, 2021. Visit our Events Page (coming soon) to learn more about this annual event.
Please consider contributing to the Foundation. What began as a friend’s compassionate desire to pay for Knox’s funeral expenses led to the creation of seed money for the Knox Martin Foundation for Brain Cancer Research. We fund innovative research - particularly in aggressive brain cancers - that will lead to the next brain cancer treatment breakthrough, giving Warriors like Knox a longer life expectancy.