Doctors said he needed to be put on Hospice. We did so and he probably got to within an hour or so of death, then perked up, asked for a drink and lived another 4 plus years.
The life and times of Marvin McCabe
Born a twin in Wichita, Ks, Sept 7, 1919, to James O McCabe and Grace M Swanson. They were placed in a shoebox and kept near the wood stove hoping at least one would survive. His twin did not survive that day. Growing up in central Wichita, Marvin had an active and adventurous youth. He also retold stories of visiting the countryside and staying at his aunts and uncles farms. He learned how to catch, kill, pluck and prep chickens for meals. One of these adventures included taking a live chicken to the barn rooftop, twisting its head off and seeing if chickens could still fly headless. After they worked hard in the fields, he and his cousins would cool off in the horse water tanks at the end of the day.
When Marvin was a young teen one of his uncles introduced him to the president of Friends University. The president was impressed with him and encouraging him to study hard and one day he could attend Friends University. Marvin being the resourceful young man he was, asked his new friend for a loan to help him start a paper route so he could save for college. The president took him up on it and gave him a loan.
Impetuous as teens can be, Marvin had collected enough money to buy an old junker car. For some reason, he decided he could get a better deal on a car down south. So he and a friend hopped a freight train down to Texas. He found an old car that ran, bought it and attempted to drive it back to Kansas. They didn’t make it all the way back to Wichita. The car broke down; they abandon it on the side of the road and hitchhiked back to Wichita.
One day in high school he wanted to see a football game but didn’t want to pay admission, so he and a friend climbed a rain gutter to the top of the announcer booth. By his recollection, it was three stories high. Once on top of the booth, a security guard saw them, yelled and they both shimmied down the rain gutter as fast as they could.
His father, whose main trade was a carpenter, sometimes drove an old Indian Motorcycle with a sidecar in the shape of a medicine bottle. At times Marvin rode with his father as he delivered prescriptions to pharmacy customers.
Near the end of high school, Marvin met his first wife Ruth M Nibarger. They fell in love and married young. Shortly after marriage, they decided to move to California. They didn’t have enough money for both of them to take the bus, so after Marvin put Ruth on a bus, he hopped another freight train; being very careful to avoid the train security people. They worked odd jobs along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco. At one point after WWII had started Marvin felt the call of duty to go to war. He wanted to enlist from his home town. So they traveled back to Wichita where Marvin enlisted in the Navy. He was sent to Boston and Ruth followed shortly thereafter where she got a job in the shipyards. Marvin learned the trades of sheet metal and boilermaker. He was assigned to a Navy Repair ship and spent most of his time in the Pacific. When the war ended he was released in San Francisco where Ruth met him.
After he finished his service, they moved to Redondo Beach, CA. There he held two jobs mostly in the aviation industry doing sheet metal. In 1951 he built a two-bedroom house in Torrance, CA. Up to this point they had not been able to get pregnant, so they adopted a little girl, Grace. After that, in 1953 Timothy Edward (Michael) was born followed two years later, in 1955 by their youngest, James LeRoy.
About 1960 the two-bedroom home he had built was getting a little small, so he added a master bedroom and another full bath. He had also settled into a good job with a TRW spacecraft company where he built sheet metal components for all kinds of spacecraft. The one I remember best is the Pioneer and Voyager programs.https://ethw.org/Pioneer_and_Voyager_Missions It was a series of unmanned space missions that were designed for planetary exploration. There were a number of such missions in the program, but the most notable were Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, which explored the outer planets and left the solar system. Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 carry a golden plaque, depicting a man and a woman and information about the origin and the creators of the probes, should any extraterrestrials find them someday. About two years ago Pioneer 10 became the first man-made object that has ever exited our solar system and Marvin had a part in it.
Some of my (Jim’s) earliest family memories were of camping trips. We went to the mountains, deserts, beaches and lots of state and national parks. We sometimes camped on our trips to and from Wichita. But that was often in truck stops and parking lots. I was the youngest and my dad and I did a lot of things together. He taught me bicycling, skateboarding, fishing, hiking and backpacking. He provided training for me to learn rock climbing, mountaineering, surfing, and automotive mechanics. He helped me get equipped for off-road motorcycling, he taught me how to drive and we went 4X4 exploring together. I learned the enjoyment of hard work and the satisfaction of a job well done from him. He provided me with electric appliances and mechanical equipment to take apart and try to figure out how they worked. Our family car, a 1964 Ford Galaxy wasn’t running as well, so he let me attempt to do a top-end overhaul at the age of 14. (It didn’t work out, but he was proud I tried.) He encouraged me to try many adventurous things. Some of his sayings at the time were, “Its better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick”, or “Its better than a kick in the face with a frozen boot”, “We’re off like a herd of turtles”, “Clear as mud”, Then there was something about a one-legged duck and a one-armed paper hanger. Marvin was proud of his Scottish heritage. He was extremely conservative about matters involving his money. Often leading others to believe he didn’t have any or was perhaps overly thrifty. When I was in my teens, he made a decision to trust Jesus as his Savior. When I was 18 years old, freshly graduated from high school and they were 55, they decided to sell the California home and move back to Kansas. At that time I couldn’t leave my beloved ocean and surfing, so they moved back without any kids. They bought 25 acres of undeveloped land near Longton, KS. On and off over the next few years, my brother and I helped them make it livable. It was 1974 when they moved to Kansas and 1983 when my mom Ruth died on the farm of a heart attack.
Marvin was heartbroken and for about a year and just kept busy. Slowly lady friends started to come back into his life and a few years later a special lady whom he was extra interested in was just ignoring him. This made him try even harder to get her approval. Eventually, he won her heart and Wilma Fisk fell in love with him. They were married on April 11, 1988. They decided to sell the farm in 1994 and moved into Wilma’s Wichita home on Maple Street.
They traveled liberally in Kansas and made a few trips to California and North Carolina. Marvin really enjoyed getting into his car at least twice a day, often more. He’d go get the newspaper, get a car wash, and get some coffee, whatever excuse that came to mind. Wilma enjoyed some of these trips. He walked a lot, ate well and took shoeboxes full of vitamins and supplements. He was generally a very healthy man, often telling me he had never experienced a headache.
In 1999 Wilma slipped on some ice, broke her ankle, hit her head and permanently lost her equilibrium. Marvin became her full-time caregiver. It was a tough time for them both. They adapted as they always do and life carried on. Their travel slowly became less and less and one day in May 2015 invincible Marvin, met his match at a stop sign (which he didn’t see) and their car was T-boned. His car was totaled; both he and Wilma were badly bruised, but no bones were broken. In the nine months following he slowly lost his health until the Doctors said he needed to be put on Hospice. We did so and he probably got to within an hour or so of death, then perked up, asked for a drink and lived another 4 plus years.
He finally got to go home to heaven on November 6th, 2019. He is survived by his two sons Michael and Jim, Jim’s wife Judy, 3 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Jim and Judy have been with Wycliffe since 1984. They have served in aviation maintenance/management, motorcycle, and 4X4 training, recruitment, and facilities maintenance in multiple locations in the US and Africa. They currently work with America's Area, North Region, Scripture Access services team. They are a mobile USA team using the internet and face to face encounters with churches, ministries, Native American communities, Diaspora communities, refugee aid organizations, and individuals, introducing them to www.scriptureearth.org. Through this website, those who did not grow up speaking English can access the Bible and other Scripture resources in the language they understand best. Would you consider becoming a part of their Wycliffe ministry partnership team? You can join their prayer or financial team by clicking on https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/JimandJudyMcCabe
View all posts by jimjudywycliffejourney