Cover photo for Samuel Clifford Martino's Obituary
Samuel Clifford Martino Profile Photo
1939 Sam 2024

Samuel Clifford Martino

February 5, 1939 — April 20, 2024


DeForest- Sam Martino, 85, passed away on April 20, 2024 from a heart attack while mowing the lawn of his home in DeForest, WI. He was born in Clarksburg, W. VA, the son of Frank and Flora Ann Spino Martino.

Sam was a passionate, award-winning journalist with a love of story-telling that started standing on a street corner in Dearborn, MI hawking newspapers and ended with tweeting. He began his reporting career in high school with the Dearborn Guide and Detroit Times. He received a scholarship to attend Michigan State University where he studied journalism and was state editor for the Lansing State Journal. Following completion of his journalism degree in 1962, he continued the work he began in college with the Associated Press and United Press International (UPI) spanning ten years as a contributing writer to the Washington Post, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor and Capital Times.

Sam's focus was state, local and regional government, which he covered for several large, regional news organizations. His early reporting included the aborted presidential campaign of Michigan Governor George Romney. While working for the Minneapolis Tribune, he covered the tumultuous Vietnam War protests in Madison, Wisconsin, a takeover of the Wisconsin state assembly and black-student rebellion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was selected for an American Political Science Congressional Fellowship working as press secretary for former Vice President and Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in Washington DC. While working for the Milwaukee Journal, in 1974, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists. In 1975, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and received UPI's top news writing award for lengthy coverage of the Menominee Indian occupation of the Alexian Brothers novitiate near Gresham, WI. Sam retired from the Milwaukee Journal in 2000, after 27 years of investigative reporting. He then joined the teaching staff at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater where, for twelve years, he inspired future journalists and acted as advisor to the student newspaper. He was recognized with a distinguished advisor award and a student award for an instructor "who made a difference " in students' lives. Most recently, he continued to rely on his "shoe leather" reporting skills as a regular contributor to the Edgerton Reporter.

Sam served our country as a public information specialist in the Army National Guard including federal duty during the Detroit riots in 1967.

Sam loved the outdoors. He was an active runner completing over 25 marathons, skied the American Birkebeiner multiple times and enjoyed camping and hiking. He is survived by his loving partner, Judy Taritas; his former wife, Mary Lou Payeur Martino; his three children, Anne (Tom), Joseph and Patrick Martino and two beloved grandchildren Sam and Sophie Martino. Sam was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Anthony Martino.

Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 26 followed by a service at 11 a.m. at St. Ann Catholic Church, 323 N. Van Buren St., Stoughton, WI. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Martino Journalism Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater  or by check payable to UW-Whitewater Foundation, noting the Martino Journalism Scholarship. Checks can be sent to UW-Whitewater Foundation, Inc., 800 W Main St, Whitewater, WI 53190.

In journalism, the number "30" at the end of a news story means the story is finished. Please share your memories of Sam by posting to his guest book at "30"

Cress Funeral Service

206 W. Prospect Street, PO Box 231, Stoughton

(608) 873-9244

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Samuel Clifford Martino, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, April 26, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Friday, April 26, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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