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Retired QFFI editor and SF historian Sam Martin, 1920-97, dies in Newark.

Sam Martin, long-time editor of Quick Frozen Foods and Quick Frozen Foods International, died at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, USA, April 15. He was 76, and had been in a coma for a week after suffering anoxia from a respiratory blockage.

Mr. Martin, whose real name was Sam Moskowitz, came to work for the late Edwin W. Williams in 1955. He served first as managing editor, but was named editor in 1959 when Mr. Williams founded QFFI and devoted his own attentions to that publication.

Over the years Mr. Martin became one of the leading US authorities on the frozen food industry. He was a frequent speaker at industry meetings, visited factories and operations around the country, and was an indefatigable researcher. In 1960, he originated the Frozen Food Almanac that - in a much changed international format - is still an annual feature in QFFI.

He stayed on as editor of QFF after Mr. Williams sold the company to Cahners in 1966, and guided the magazine even after Cahners sold it to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (HBJ) in 1973. In an odd bit of publishing history, Mr. Williams bought back QFFI in 1975. Harcourt kept QFF and the annual QFF Directory. Sam Martin remained with HBJ - a decision he briefly had cause to regret.

HBJ somehow got the idea that Mr. Martin and the magazine were dinosaurs: it fired him, and embarked on a radical redesign of QFF with a "modernized" format. But the makeover was a disaster, and a year later Harcourt had to beg Mr. Martin to return and run the magazine his own way. He continued to edit QFF until 1980, when there was another parting of the ways: Ed Williams invited the veteran chronicler of the US frozen food industry back to QFFI as associate publisher. Despite health problems, including surgery for throat cancer that stilled his once booming voice, he kept at it until reaching retirement age in 1985.

Sam Moskowitz was born June 30, 1920, in Newark, NJ, and spent his entire life there except for service in the US Army during World War II. For the past 40 years, he had lived in the Roseville section with his wife, Dr. Christine Haycock. His survivors also include brothers Alfred, Herman and Maurice, sisters Pearl and Helen - and one of the largest science fiction collections in the world.

Science Fiction Expert

Science fiction was Sam Martin's passion and first claim to fame. As a teenager, he helped organize the first World Science Fiction Convention in New York City in 1939; a burly young man in those days, he was one of the bouncers who excluded a pro-Communist faction from the affair. He went on to enjoy a long secondary career as scholar-historian, known for research into sf writers neglected by other critics, such as New York Sun editor Edward Page Mitchell.

Although he had no formal academic credentials, he taught the world's first college class in science fiction at Columbia University in 1950. He was honored in 1982 with the Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association, and in 1987 was inducted into the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame. When a friend kidded him once that some young fellow was bound to come along someday who knew more about sf than he did, he quipped: "He won't be young!"

It was science fiction that gave him an entry into publishing. Although he never had a chance to attend college and once made his living driving a produce truck, his sf background got him a job in 1953 as editor of Science Fiction Plus, published by Hugo Gernsback - founder of the first sf magazine in 1926, who was trying to get back into the game after a long absence. Science Fiction Plus lasted less than a year, but gave Mr. Moskowitz the credentials to pursue a new career.
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Title Annotation:Quick Frozen Foods International; science fiction; New Jersey
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Jul 1, 1997
Words:644
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