May 28, 1923 – June 16, 2013
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Marvin Brindley Small Jr., 90, of College Station, died peacefully on Father's Day, June 16, 2013, surrounded by his loving family. A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 6, 2013, at Christ United Methodist Church in College Station, Texas. Interment will be at The Memorial Cemetery of College Station.
Marvin was born in Gadsden on May 28, 1923, the only son of Marvin Brindley Small Sr. and Frances Lucile Stringer Small. Marvin graduated from Gadsden High School in 1941, where he was the president of his senior class. Upon completion of high school, he received a scholarship from Vanderbilt University, where he played football under Bear Bryant. In 1943, he was called to duty to serve as an Army Air Corps Fighter P-47 pilot. He was stationed stateside where he instructed fighter pilots at Randolph Field. He was discharged to Kansas City, where he married Jean Adam and had four children. He decided to return to college, where he was class president and a walk-on at spring training. In 1947, his KU football team was the Big Six Conference Champion, and KU played in the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech. It was at the University of Kansas where he completed his degree in Political Science.
His love of flying led Marvin to a 35 year career as a Pilot, Sales Manager and Public Relations Officer for Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kan. A longtime resident of Westlake Village, Calif., Marvin was an active member of the Village Voices and, as an avid cyclist, enjoyed many years riding with the members of the Conejo Valley Cycling Club. In 1985, Marvin won two gold medals when he participated in the 16th International Senior Olympics Cycling Competition, winning a gold medal in both the time trial and road racing events. He rode his high wheeler bicycle for over 20 years in annual parades held in Thousand Oaks, Calif. His cycling adventures included multiple "Ride the Rockies" trips, and in 1997, Marvin rode his bicycle across the United States from Anacortes, Wash., to Kennebunkport, Maine. In 1997, the state of Texas recognized Marvin for riding his bike at the age of 74 across the United States.
In 2000, he moved to College Station, Texas, and Marvin's love of music was fulfilled as a member of the choir at Christ United Methodist Church. His love of cycling continued and he participated in the Bryan College Station Christmas parade as the "Cat in the Hat" for over 10 years, and in 2011 he was honored as the Grand Marshal.
Marvin was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Loyall Taylor.
Marvin is survived by his sister, Frances Small Easley of Mobile; his children, daughter, Susan Williams and husband, Clyde, of Colorado Springs, Colo., daughter, Diane Wells and husband, Ward, of College Station, Texas, son, Trey Small and wife, Lana, of Lake Forest, Calif., and daughter, Debra Madden of Austin, Texas; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank Marvin's personal physician, Dr. David Hackethorn, the staff at Crestview Methodist Retirement Community and the doctors and staff of St. Joseph Hospital.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Marvin Brindley Small Jr. may be sent to the following: Crestview Methodist Retirement Communities Benevolent Fund, 2505 E. Villa Maria, Bryan, TX 77802, 979-776-4778; or Christ United Methodist Church Music Ministry, 4201 State Highway 6 South, College Station, TX 78745.
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Published in The Gadsden Times on June 30, 2013