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.
From 2014. I rode from Tucson to Wichita to see my dad. Then back through Colorado to Tucson. Photos are in random order. Its kind of a “Wheres Stanley” idea.
Below is the “Wheels Through Time”, American made motorcycle museum, located in Maggie Valley, NC. There is an incredible volume of motorcycles shown inside. Well worth the time to visit. They claim they are all in operational condition.
Below is “Tiny Bikes Big Change” ride across Arizona, 2014, in support of Blood Water Ministries, wheel drilling in Africa.
The below photos are a motorcycle training event I did in Cameroon, Africa, 2013. We / JAARS provided donated money for the local National Bible Translation Organization to buy motorcycles for their translators and literacy workers. On the condition they receive training in safe riding techniques and basic maintenance from JAARS Land Transportation department. (Jim McMotorcycle, this time)
Below are rides through the southwest, just for the fun of it.
Below are random photos of the past six years riding USA and Africa. A few “Not Mine” slipped in there.
Yes, we made it. It was a wonderfully safe trip. Thanks for praying for our driving part to the East from Tucson. We visited my dad and other family in Wichita, plus, a supporting church there. Dad is doing very well too. We stayed with our daughter, her husband and family in Hickory, NC for almost a week. Great times with the grands and I helped move their washer and dryer from the basement to the main level. Lots more work than anticipated, but always glad to help. Aren’t projects usually like that? For us it’s always such a pleasure visiting family and friends along the way.
Our flights went great with minimal waiting between them. The longer, nearly 9 hours, from Atlanta to Paris seemed to go fast.
The N’Djamena airport looked brand new and it appears to be fully open. It now has an escalator, better lighting, good signage, air conditioning and our experience going through was the best yet. Always amazing to see how many foreigners are coming to Chad. The SIL facility in Chad looks great, as expected. Our old apartment was waiting for us and we are nearly unpacked and settled in. It is good to be back here and see our dear colleagues! Temps are still warm with humidity so we feel like we are in Louisiana. Thankful for the AC in our bedroom.
We will do our best to keep you well informed during this six-month assignment. As always we continually count on your prayers. Here are some now:
*That we stay in good health
*That we maintain a good life balance, spiritual, physical, mental, emotional.
*That neither of us will allow work to push our lives out of balance. (we have a very hard time keeping this one.) Judy will be returning to be the guest apartment coordinator and I to maintenance project manager.
*That our families have peace about our being here for this season.
*That our Wycliffe ministry funding will get back up to 100% . Currently we are at 75%
*That we will be the light and love of Jesus to all we meet and work with.
Please feel free to let us know you are praying for us and in what ways we can pray for you.
We are staying with our daughter Jody and husband Caleb and grand-kids, Violette and Isaac in Hickory, NC. It’s WONDERFUL to be with them! Oct 6 – 15. We fly out of Charlotte the evening of the 15th arriving in Chad Sunday evening the 16th.
While here in Hickory, it’s working out that we can attend the last day of the Overland Expo being held at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC, tomorrow, Sunday the 8th of Oct. Come join us! http://www.overlandexpo.com/east/
A reminder as to why we work in Chad and Tucson for Mexico. There are roughly 7000 languages spoken on earth today. About 1800 of these languages (500 million people) are still oral societies, meaning their language has never been written down. Our organization, SIL, assigns a team or individual to learn the language and culture and create an alphabet. They usually live in a village where it is spoken. We will help them form a language committee to eventually oversee the translation program. Together we translate basic education, health and business booklets. Then the most important project of Bible translation begins. Often in the process some begin to put their trust in Jesus as their savior and a church is begun. Usually the culmination of our contribution is the dedication of the New Testament in that language. Learning to engage the scriptures is a challenge which continues after our translators move on to a new project where the process starts all over again.
Judy and I are support people. We serve the translators, linguists and literacy workers, so they can focus on their specialty. Imagine all the time they would have to take to just survive? This next season in Chad, I will be working on facility maintenance and Judy will be the Housing Coordinator (Guest house/hotel manager) and Chad Child Education Supervisor (more about these in the next post).
I was reviewing the potential maintenance work load in Chad when we arrive. It looks something like this:
* An 8 apartment complex building needs to be re-plumbed. All the old plumbing will be abandoned and properly capped off and all new plumbing will be installed on the exterior, passing through walls and not embedded in the walls where leaks occur.
* The main water line from the water tower to each building needs to be replaced. We will be installing a new internet fiber-optic line at the same time.
* The administration wants to to move the main car and person entry gate from the north wall on a busy road to the west wall on a side street.
* The security wall needs upgrading. Its a 8 – 12 ft tall cement block wall with electric wire running all along the top. I started installing razor wire along the top of the wall, but left before it got very far. I don’t know if its finished. That consists of building the upright steel posts attaching them to the wall, stringing support wires and then installing the razor wire.
* The south entry gate threshold needs to be raised 18 -24 inches because of rainy season flooding entering the compound at that point.
* Village projects. One planned for the end of Oct. and probably others.
* None of this may happen, but some or all of it might. It depends on the branch leadership priorities and the budget they have to work with. I just go with the flow when I’m there. It might be disconcerting not having a concrete plan, but its Africa, things rarely go the way I think they should.
Thanks for praying for us. None of this is possible without you!
As most of you know, I love God, try to follow the teachings of Jesus and I like motorcycles. Some of you might say it’s a bit more than like, but who’s quibbling. God has gifted me as a fixer of things that help people have an opportunity to start and develop a relationship with God. Maybe a bit weird, but it’s been a great life so far!
The idea of God using something like motorcycles to help people get to know Him is not unique. He’s been doing it since He first invented them. But my involvement in the moto / God / relationship arena is less than a decade old. My newest idea is one I want you to pray with me about. Yes, it’s another strange one, but hold your judgement until after praying about it a bit.
In the locations of the world where Wycliffe goes…
Getting to ride a motorcycle is a privilege too few get to participate in. It’s an absolutely incredible experience I wish more people could enjoy. Flying through the environment instead of being sealed away from it. No, it’s not necessarily a clean environmentally controlled experience. Its being in nature, directly experiencing exactly what is there, right when it’s happening, dust, bugs, rain and heat. But there is something very special about that, a special level of reality living. Yes, for some it would be a nightmare, but for me and countless others it’s a “good” dream come true.Even the random oops of life are enjoyable on a motorcycle. Yes, thats me, Jim, with one foot on my downed bike. No damage, just some laughs. Just today (Saturday, July 23, Judy and I took a test ride on a Honda Gold wing in Kingman, KS. It’s a bit of a show bike, but would be excellent for a fund-raising program. How does one justify a love affair with Jesus and motorcycles? This motorcycle is covered in bible verses challenging one to investigate a relationship with Jesus. Its one of the few I’ve ever seen that has done it boldly and with taste. How this type of bike could be used to help people come to know God will be in a future blog write-up. Coming soon!