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Lieutenant Col. Martin A. Principe, 88, of Virginia Beach, passed away Friday, Aug. 12, 2016 at his residence. He had previously retired after 24 years in the U.S. Army.
Principe was born in Oyster Bay, N.Y. and was the son of the late Antonio and Anna Parents Principe, who immigrated to the United States from Italy, through Ellis Island, prior to their marriage.
He is survived by: his four daughters, Adriene Carson and husband Charles of Huntington Bay, N.Y., Dr. Ramona Austin and husband Ed of Virginia Beach, Melissa Phillips of Nokesville, Va., and Heidi Milder of Leesburg, Va.; eight grandchildren, Heather Austin Logan, Anthony Austin, Chelsea Carson, Nicole Carson, Jennifer Phillips, Ashley Phillips, Shannon Phillips and Alexandra Milder; and two great-grandchildren, Kylie and Bryce Logan. He was preceded in death by his sister Nellie Principe Barnes and brother Anthony Principe.
Martin spent his youth in the same home in Oyster Bay with his family. They attended church across the street and he was a graduate of Oyster Bay High School, where he excelled in baseball and basketball. He attended the University of Texas in Austin and he remained a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees and the Texas Longhorns. Later in life he received his master’s degree in business.
He was commissioned in the Army after graduation from ROTC at the University of Texas. He served two tours in Vietnam, where he was awarded two Bronze Stars for heroism, and was the commander of the 79th Battalion at Fort Story. His Army career took him to Germany, Taiwan, Ohio and multiple assignments in Virginia, including Fort Monroe, Fort Eustis and Fort Story. He retired after 24 years of service and remained in Virginia Beach. His favorite assignment was his time in Taiwan. After leaving the military, he opened La Broche Restaurant, a successful French cuisine fine dining restaurant catering to a large clientele.
Martin participated in many local community and political activities, beginning with serving for many years as president of the Cox High School Booster Club, the school from which his four daughters graduated. In the last several years, Martin was involved in many veteran and political activities. He was proud to be selected, in 2012, to lead the Pledge of Allegiance during a campaign stop for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, which was held at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach. He also attended a rally on the USS Wisconsin, where he was interviewed by the local news. He was involved in events supporting local Gold Star Families. He supported many local candidates and was a loyal member of the Republican Party.
Over the years, when Martin was not busy with his careers or volunteerism, he enjoyed playing golf and bridge and reading political novels. He loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren dearly and he will be greatly missed by all of them.
The family will receive friends from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016 in H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments, Laskin Road Chapel. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, 1968 Sandbridge Rd. Interment will take place with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.