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Walker Mortuary
321 West Main Street
Freeport, IL 61032
(815) 232-2136

Matthew Marvin


1914 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
Matthew Marvin Obituary
MATTHEW ANTISDEL MARVIN FREEPORT - Freeport philanthropist, civic and community leader, Matthew A. "Matt" Marvin, 99, died December 15, 2013. Matt was born on August 11, 1914, in St. Luke's Hospital, Chicago, where special care was available for his mother. His parents were Matthew B. Marvin and Lucia (Bright) Marvin, both of Freeport. Matt's family ties to Northwest Illinois extend well before the Civil War. Matt's grandfather was also named Matthew. He was an early practitioner of medicine in Northwest Illinois and subsequently became a lawyer practicing in Warren and Galena where he was acquainted with Ulysses Grant. Later he became a judge and moved his family to Freeport where he lived out the remainder of his 90 plus years. During Matt's young life, the family lived in a stately house still standing at the corner of Locust and Pleasant, where his grandfather and father maintained a stable of horses which they rode around town. When he was a teenager his father built a lovely house, barn, and other building on property adjacent to the Freeport Country Club on Marvin Lane. Tragically, his mother died when he was only 15 years old. Matt attended Freeport public schools, and graduated from Freeport High school, class of 1932. He continued his education at Brown's College of Commerce and Beloit College before joining his father in the family insurance and real estate business, "The Marvin Agency" which had been established in Freeport in 1890. Matt served in the U.S. Army in World War II from 1943-1946, entering as a private and discharged as a master sergeant. He landed on Normandy Beach on D+4 and served in Europe for the duration of the war. He resumed his participation in the military by joining the Army reserve and was appointed a Warrant Officer in 1951. He retired in 1975 as a Chief Warrant Officer 4. Upon returning from the war, Matt quickly became engaged in the civic life of Freeport where he made a positive difference to the lives of people in a number of ways. There was hardly a person in Freeport that did not know Matt, and he was a friend to all. He was the founding member of the Community Chest (now United Way); served as its first campaign chairman; and later as a Director and President. He was also a driving force behind the Housing Authority of Stephenson County, serving as a Director and Chairman. He served on the boards of the King's Daughter's Home and the Norman C. Sleezer Youth Home. In 1991, co-chaired the successful capital funds campaign for building the new Sleezer home. Matt was an original member of the Board of Trustees of Highland Community College and donated funds for the Marvin-Burt building named jointly for his lifelong best friend and cousin, the late Judge Marvin Burt. Matt also served on the Board of the Jane Addamsland Park Foundation and was its long time Treasurer. Matt was a generous benefactor and supporter of Beloit College where a field house bears his name. Beloit College awarded Matt an honorary PhD in 2004, in recognition of his years of support. Matt also made major charitable gifts to the Freeport Community Foundation. Grants from the Matthew A. Marvin fund are awarded quarterly for charitable purposes designated by the Board of Trustees. Matt's father became blind but together both ran the family business based on old Matt's vivid memories of the area and young Matt's business sense. Matt lived with and cared for his father until he died in 1951. Real Estate was more than just a business to Matt. Matt's motto of, "A little buys a lot" made home ownership possible for many Freeport families. Some years ago Matt built six homes on Whistler Street and sold each to a young couple on contract with a $4,500 down-payment. He fondly remembered when the six couples go together and held a surprise "thank you" party for him. The Marvin Agency remained in business for many years. Matt was a member of the Freeport Board of Realtors and served a term as its President. In 1987 he was named Realtor of the Year and served as District Vice President of the Illinois Association of Realtors. He also served as a member and President of the Freeport Association of Life Underwriters. Matt was a Boy Scout, Scoutmaster, member of the Troop committee and scout Council. He was a member and supporter of the YMCA. He was a member of Grace Episcopal Church were he served as a vestryman, chaired its Every Member Canvass, was a delegate to the Diocesan Convention and a member of the Diocese of Chicago Diocesan Council. Matt funded the major share of the cost of a Youth Center addition to the church. He also served as Chairman of the City of Freeport Human Relations Commission. He was a Rotarian since 1939 and served as a Director and President. He was a director of the State Bank of Davis for more than 50 years and served extended terms as its President and Chairman. Another role Matt relished was that of sponsoring of foreign students. Matt would assist them with their paperwork to get to the United States and frequently house and feed them for a time after their arrival. Coupled with his international contacts, Matt could literally travel around the world and be welcomed at every stop, according to his cousin, local attorney Woody Burt, who traveled with him on occasion. Matt was active in encouraging sports participation by young people, especially in Olympic style (amateur) boxing. Matt worked as a volunteer Official and was highly respected in his capacity of timekeeper for local, state, regional, national and international competitions. He had the privilege to serve as a timekeeper in the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles. He was a life member of the AAU; USA Boxing, Inc., the national governing body of Olympic style boxing in the USA and served as Chairman of its scholarship committee. Matt was once named Official of the year by USA Boxing. He also received several outstanding timekeeper awards at the USA Nationals and at the National Golden Gloves. He was inducted into the Golden Gloves of America Officials Hall of Fame. Matt unselfishly gave moral encouragement and financial assistance to many young boxers over the years. One senior boxing official who worked often with him had this to say about Matt. "His good sense and wisdom shall remain with me and with his numerous friends from the boxing community. We all appreciated him and called him "Uncle Matt." Matt's many memberships include the AmVets, The American legion, VFW, the Military Order of the World Wars, the Reserve Officers Association, and the Retired officers Association. Matt is survived by his cousins, Woody Burt of Freeport and Betty (Robert) Philbrook of Pearland, Texas; along with Matt's extended family of Matt (Marit) Burt, and their son, Magnus, of Trondheim, Norway; Linda Philbrook of Los Angeles; Scott (Liz) Philbrook, their daughters, Morgan, and Jesse of Pearland, Texas; and Dr. Beth (Ed) Kalnins and their sons, Jake, Aaron, and Matt of Freeport. Also surviving were his longtime Secretary and friend, Ann Lungwitz and his later life Assistant, Lorraine Brock. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 9th, at Walker Mortuary. The funeral service for Matt will be at Grace Episcopal Church, 10 South Cherry Street, Freeport, beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, January 10, 2014. In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established in Matt's name for the benefit of Grace Episcopal Church, Highland Community College Foundation, The Freeport Public School Fund, Jane Adamsland Park Foundation, and Freeport Community Foundation. Cards may be dropped off at Walker Mortuary or sent to P.O. Box 877, Freeport, IL 61032-0877. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Walker Mortuary. To leave a condolence, please visit walkermortuary.com.
Published in The Journal-Standard from Dec. 18 to Dec. 19, 2013
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