Marvin D. “Buford” Fall
Heaven got a lot funnier on September 11, 2018, when Marvin Fall, Olathe passed away at the age of 86. He was born at home on July 8, 1932 in rural Jewell County Kansas. He was the second of four sons born to Alvin Claud and Vila Kelly Fall. He attended Mankato and Montrose schools, graduating from Montrose High School in 1951. He transferred to Montrose at the beginning of his freshman year, at the strong urging of the Mankato school (he was pretty much told not to come back due to his constant pranks). Marvin decided to tell everyone at his new school his name was Buford because it was the stupidest name he could think of. That’s just the type of thing Marvin did, and it worked beautifully up until the first parent-teacher conference when the whole ill-thought-out plan unraveled. The nickname, however, stuck. While in high school, he excelled at all sports including football, basketball and track which is a good thing, because according to his stories, he didn’t seem to be doing a lot of learning.
Upon “graduating” from high school, Marvin joined the Army where he served in Korea. His service to his country earned him a Commendation Medal, though to hear him tell it, he didn’t do anything but manage the wonderful Koreans who were doing laundry and avoid any responsibility. After 50 years of trying to figure out how a guy overseeing the laundry could win a prestigious medal from the Army, his family just came to accept that he was probably a spy but perhaps never caught on because of his extensive history of avoiding learning.
Upon returning from the Army, he dedicated himself to pestering his dream girl, Carolyn Stone, until she finally married him on Thanksgiving Day in 1955. They were married for nearly 62 years and had three sons, Monte (Denver), Kevin (wife Marcia, Olathe) and Jaime (wife Tamera, Sacramento). Carolyn went to Heaven in September 2017 and no doubt went ahead to tidy up the place and do some baking, so everything would be to Marvin’s liking when he arrived.
In 1960, a second match was made in heaven when the man who claimed not to know anything or do anything, landed a government job. That’s when Marvin was appointed by President Eisenhower to be Postmaster of Montrose, Kansas where he served for 14 years. To pretty much everyone’s surprise, Marvin had found his career and he excelled. This occupation allowed him to do what he loved the most: helping and talking to people.
In 1974, he was transferred to the Jamestown, Kansas post office where he dropped the nickname Buford and stepped into the purpose for which God then called him – loving others. For the next 18 years Marvin served as postmaster and lived out his purpose. During this time, it was not unusual to see the elderly widows and widowers enter the post office numerous times each day to receive the love and compassion, or good-natured harassment Marvin had to offer them. Of course, he always down-played the role he played in people’s lives. He would say, “I didn’t really do anything; I just tried to love people like Jesus did.”
Following retirement in 1992, Marvin and Carolyn moved around the country to care for their grandsons Austin and Alex and granddaughters Lily and Lani. They lived in Dallas, Texas; Jefferson, Maryland; Triangle, Virginia; and Sacramento, California, pouring out their love and every ounce of energy to the grandchildren. As caretakers, Carolyn specialized in preparing gluten-packed, unhealthy foods covered in gravy while Marvin excelled at genius, yet less conventional, parenting methods which are legendary among the grandchildren, and pretty much frowned upon by any living child rearing expert.
Marvin was well known everywhere he went for his crazy stories, sense of humor and deep love of God. He could fill hours with his animated stories, no matter how hard listeners might try to get away, wondering as they left whether he was telling the truth or just making stuff up. He officially retired from family touch football at the age of about 70 when he caught one last glorious pass from Kevin and landed on the ball in a sickening thud which family lore describes as a “flab-o-lanche.”
Marvin and Carolyn lived their remaining years at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Olathe, Kansas where they received amazing love and care until their passing. They are now reunited in heaven where, thankfully, time is eternal, and it is not such a big deal that Mom has to wait for Dad to finish talking with everyone. We look forward to the day we see them again and get to hear the antics Marvin has been pulling. Hopefully heaven is more understanding than the Mankato school was back in the day.
A memorial celebrating Marvin’s life will be held on Saturday, October 6th, at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home located at 14275 S. Black Bob Rd. in Olathe. Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. with the celebration at 11:00 a.m. A reception will immediately follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial gifts to: Good Samaritan Society – Olathe, 20705 W. 151 St., Olathe, KS 66061.
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