Isham L. Martin, 59, who grew up in Washington and graduated from Central High School and George Washington University, died of cancer May 17 at his home in Warwick, N.Y.

Mr. Martin was commissioned in the Army Air Force during World War II and served as an aide to Gen. Claire L. Chennault, organizer of the famous "Flying Tigers" and then commander of the 14the Air Force, in China.

After the war, Mr. Martin joined American Airlines as its personnal director in New York.He then entered the retail field and was a merchandising manager for women's clothing in several department stores.

At the time of his death, he was executive vice president in charge of stock sales for Warwick Cable Television Co.

Mr. Martin was born in Faison, N.C. His family moved to Washington when he was a boy.

Survivors include his wife, Tryntje, of the home in Warwick; two sons, Jeffrey, of the home, and Isham L. Jr., of North Woodstock, Conn.; three daughters, Hope, of the home, Martha Frair, fo Wappingers Falls, N.Y., and Mary Peck, of Pasadena, Calif.; a sister, Mrs. Walter D. Goodrich, of Fairfax; two brothers, James C., of Bethesda, and Francis S., of Houston, Tex., and three grandchildren.