MARKS, MARTIN A. (6 Feb. 1853-31 Aug. 1916), businessman and community leader, was born in Madison, Wis., the son of Aaron and Sarah (August) Marks. He quit school at 13, and as a young man became active in B'nai B'rith. He was appointed to the board of trustees of the Jewish Orphan Home in 1885. While traveling to Cleveland on business, Marks met Belle Hays, daughter of KAUFMAN HAYS; he married her in 1885 and a year later moved to Cleveland. Marks purchased an interest in a wholesale clothing firm, in 1890 worked for Northwest Life Insurance Co., and a year later became northern Ohio manager for Equitable Life Assurance Co. of New York, remaining there 14 years. In 1902, Marks became a director of CLEVELAND WORSTED MILLS; in 1906 he became secretary-treasurer, a position he held until his death. He also was on the board of directors of First Natl. Bank and GUARDIAN SAVINGS & TRUST CO.
Marks was president of the TEMPLE (1890-1904, 1906-15), serving when Rabbi MOSES GRIES was hired. When Gries suggested the creation of the Educational League to insure higher education opportunities for orphans, Marks became the first president of the B'nai B'rith-sponsored organization. Marks helped establish the Fed. of Jewish Charities (1903), and was appointed to an FJC committee to review and report on all immigration bills proposed in Congress. Marks was a founder in 1913 of the Fed. for Charity & Philanthropy, and chaired the Committee on Benevolent Associations of the Chamber of Commerce.
Marks had 2 children: Florence and Ethyl. He died in Cleveland and was buried in Mayfield Cemetery.