Middletown man who inspired for years after 2002 near-drowning dies at 19

A Middletown teen, who nearly drowned in a swimming pool accident 17 years ago and later attended Middletown’s Homecoming Dance, has died.

Martin “Marty” Ary, a 2018 Middletown graduate, passed away Thursday at Children’s Hospital. He was 19.

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On May 29, 2002, Ary had a near-drowning accident. He wasn’t able to speak after the accident, which also left him confined to a wheelchair.

In 2015, he was asked to his high school Homecoming dance by his friend, Alexis Taylor, then a sophomore.

She walked into the Ary house, stood in front of Marty’s wheelchair and held a handmade sign that read: “Marty Will You Roll To Homecoming With Me?”

After the story appeared in the Journal-News, a horse and carriage company donated its services so Alexis and Marty could ride to the dance in style.

Alexis, then a junior varsity cheerleader at MHS and accomplished gymnast, visited Marty every day in his classroom, sometimes during her lunch period.

“He’s my best friend,” she said during a 2015 interview. “Sometimes we just hold hands.”

His mother added: “She keeps a good eye on him. She is so special to all of us. She has a piece of my heart.”

Alexis was mentioned as a “special friend” in Ary’s obituary.

He is survived by his parents, Martin and Krissy Ary; brother, Isaac Ary of Middletown; maternal grandmother, Cathy Engle “Nanny” of Middletown; paternal grandmother, Sherry Cox “Granny” of Middletown; great-grandmother, Shirley Sargeant of Lebanon; and numerous other relatives.

Visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Baker-Stevens-Parramore Funeral Home, 6850 Roosevelt Ave. A Celebration of Life Service will follow at 8 p.m. at the funeral home with Pastor Wes Duff officiating.

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