Marvin Ray Grainger
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Marvin arrived March 18, 1926. He lived an active full life burning the candles at both ends many of his 94 years, his departure brings sadness and sorrow in our hearts.
Marvin was a lifelong resident of the South West Missouri area. He was born at home north of Seneca on Bethel Road. Marvin was the last surviving child of 5 siblings born to the union of Rev. Orville Lewis and Lucinda Gertrude Grainger. With Mavin’s passing, this ends on branch of the Grainger Family Tree. Marvin was preceded in death by his parents, Rev. Orville Lewis and Lucinda Gertrude Grainger, a sister Reba Anna Vowels (Clifford), 3 brothers including Orville Eugene “Gene” Grainger, Harold Lee Grainger (Katie), and Onal “Dean” Grainger (Cordia), a nephew Michael Vovels, and his ex-wife Bobby J. (Rinehart) Grainger-Doerge.
The Highest tribute we can give to a deceased loved one is not our tears nor our grief. Instead it is our gratitude. I believe, they would wish us to remember their actual existence and our fond memories of them. Why? Because-what was essential to their life did not die with them. Their existence and our memories live on in our hearts and minds. Those left behind to cherish Marvin’s memories are: Daughter: Linda (Grainger) Cole-Varner and husband Andy “Opie” Varner of Houston Texas, a Grandson: Jeffery D Cole of Joplin MO, a Great-grandson: Dylan Cole of Carllton, Texas, a Great-granddaughter: Bailey Cole of Carllton, Texas, two Nephews: Max Vowels (wife) JoAnn of Joplin MO and Johnny Lee Grainger of Myra, Texas. Two Nieces: Phillis Sue (Vowels) Whitehead-Hanson and Husband Tom of Pea Ridge Ark. and Joy Lee (Grainger) Purdy and Husband Tony of Myra Texas. His Companion: Marlana (Warrick) Thornberry and her family of Joplin MO. A daughter: LeSena Williams of Joplin, MO, a grandson: Ben Williams (wife) Chelsea of Seneca, MO, a great-grandson: Aiden Ray Scott Williams and a great-grand daughter: Khloe Crawford.
Marvin grew up on 80 acres N. of Seneca on Bethel Road. This property was a truck farm the Grainger family ran for 3 generations. They grew fruits and vegetables in bulk to sell. There were cherry, apple and peach groves north of the house. Westward behind the barn was a grape vineyard then acres of strawberries. All of this produce then was loaded onto horse drawn wagons driven into Seneca for shipping or to the cannery. Between the house and the barn laid the family garden. That was not all, they also raised cows, pigs, and chicken for personal use and to sell. Basically, they were self-sufficient. Of course. Marvin and his siblings were part of that workforce during their growing up years.
All of Marvin’s schooling took place in the Seneca School District. He played sports: football, basketball, and some baseball. That was because plowing, and planting always came first in the spring each year. When Marvin was a teen, he worked all kinds of odd jobs in the summer to make spending money. Marvin started his Junior year of high school but never graduated. Uncle Sam had a different idea. Marvin received a draft notice. Instead of waiting, in November of the year before he turned 18 in March, he went to Neosho and enlisted into the U.S. Navy. World War II was calling.
Marvin spent 30 months active duty in the U.S. Navy. He began service Jan. 22, 1943. Two years after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. This portion of WWII was known as the Pacific Campaign fought by naval and marine forces at sea keeping island nations for Japanese control. Marvin trained at Camp Willis in Hitchcock, Texas to become an electrician’s mate. In the back waters of Galveston Bay, he took survival swim training. Marvin was assigned to one of the many LCI ships. These were decent sized ships but were no comparison to the size of the carriers or the huge battleships. Marvin’s first naval base was in Honolulu Hawaii. (There the stories began) Finally, out to the sea the Pacific Ocean was full of islands where battles against the Japanese took place. At this point, many of the LCI’s had their ladders removed and were refitted to become gun boats. Marvin’s became the LCIG-345. While it was still a support shop used to land marines on shore for battle, it could now return fire when needed. All these battles were leading up to the battle for control of Iwo Jima, which lasted for 5 weeks. Marvin received 2 bronze stars for serving during that invasion. He completed his tour of duty February 1946 as a 3rd class EM.
Marvin married Bobby Jean Rinehart June 29th, 1946. They later divorced in February 1969, Bobby Passed away in August of last year. They had one daughter, ME.
Soon after completing his WWII service duty, Marvin moved to Neosho and started the next chapter of his life. First, he went to work for the Pet Milk CO., but he was not happy there. Next, he worked part time for Hadley’s Grocery Store and sold Grit papers door-to-door as a second job. August 14, 1946 Marvin went to work for Empire District Electric Co. in Neosho as a laborer. He was promoted to a lineman 1st class and transferred to Joplin in 1952. It was 1962 when Marvin became a line foreman in charge of his own crew. Higher positions were offered, but he was content working outdoors with his crew. Marvin retired in 1988 after 42 years of employment with Empire. His classification at retirement was as a transmission and development line foreman.
Marvin belonged to several local Joplin organizations which either related to veteran’s groups or to work. He was a member of IBEW 95 electrical union. VFW Post 534 and Elks Lodge #501. Marvin also bowled in the Empire men’s bowling league at the old bowling alleys Plaza Lanes and Bowl-A-Rama in the 1960’s and 70’s.
I do not believe anyone would consider Marvin a hobbyist. However, he hunted a few times and fished some. He enjoyed watching the Chiefs and the Cardinals. He did enjoy camping near Noel on Elk River. Cooking breakfast for supper on the old camp stove in any park on Shoal Creek. When I was a kid, we camped in every state park in Colorado. Boating also was a favorite of ours. First we rented 14’ers on Grand Lake. We explored all the feeder rivers that dumped into the lake. We were hooked. Marvin bought a used 15` red metal boat with a motor and we felt pretty cool. This later became Marvin’s pride and joy “the beauty”. She was a 16`-fiber glass white bottom with turquoise leather seats and trim and a Johnson outboard motor. We enjoyed boating on lakes in 3 different states. Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Marvin liked Table Rock Lake best, but we spent more of our time on Grand Lake because it was closer to home. For awhile Marvin had a small trailer parked on the S.E. hillside by the #10 bridge Elk River Bridge. When the pelicans migrated south, they would land in the back water right in front of the trailer. It was quite a sight.
June 30th, 1994 Marvin really got lucky in love for the last chapters of his life when he met Marty. They have been partners for 26 years now. Together they have visited many of the place’s dad took me as a kid. And then they explored the rest of the United States, making Alaska the only state they did not get to go see. They traveled into Mexico, British Colombia, and major portions of Canada. They rode the train through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. For years they became “snowbirds” spending weeks on South Padre Island. Opie and I used to meet them in Houma, Louisiana to catch car loads of Mardi Gras beads. What fun we had! Marvin and Marty endured down times as well, illnesses with complications did not pass them by. May 22nd, 2011 an EF5 tornado wiped out the mid-section of Joplin. Windows crashed, the locked door blew open, as the tornado made havoc inside. Then it lifte4d the house separated it from the foundation. Days later, dad was finally able to call, his voice was shaky. He said “I have never felt so scared before--not even in war” as during those few minutes he and Marty held each other tight in that small hall closet in the house that was on the S.W. corner of 15th and Highview.
Marvin considered himself a member of the Baptist faith throughout his life, growing up the son of a minister. Listed are the churches he belonged to over the years: Swans Prairie, Bethel Road, Connor Avenue and Forest Park. Most recently Marvin attended the Sheep Shed with Marty where had been re-baptized.
Our families extend heartfelt thanks to Mercy Hospital and their staff for their care over the past years. Our gratitude is also extended to Marvin’s caretakers at: NHC Healthcare, Joplin Gardens, Marcy Swing Bead of Carthage, and Integrity Home Health Care and Hospice. Marvin’s and Marty’s families cannot thank you enough. But mostly Jeff and I wish to thank you Marty and your daughter LeSena for your constant loving care for Marvin.
A Tribute to Life Celebration will be held at 2:00 pm Thursday May 21st, 2020 at the Mason-Woodard Chapel. A celebration of life tribute visitation will be held immediately following. Marvin’s body will be cremated, and a memorial plaque will be placed in the Grainger plot at the Seneca, MO. Cemetery.
Marvin (Daddy) your sun has set, but your memory will live on and shine for us forever.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory.