He’s a member of what Tom Brokaw rightly called “The Greatest Generation”. Meet Marv Dykhuizen, age 97. Actually, he’s Uncle Marv to me. You’ll notice he’s wearing his World War II Army Air Corp hat in this photo.
Uncle Marv is a native of my hometown, Lafayette, Indiana and he played high school basketball for the Jefferson Bronchos. He went on to join the Army Air Corp (the Air Force didn’t exist in WWII). During that time, he was a navigator on a B29 in the Pacific. He also married (my aunt) Pat Patton, who was from just east of Lafayette. She attended Monitor High School. They were married in Biloxi, Mississippi where he was stationed at a nearby Army Air Corp base. According to multiple accounts (including some of his own), the tall, strapping blond Marv was not sore on the eyes as a young man. All my life, he stood out for his totally bald head.
After the war, Uncle Marv went to Purdue and got a math degree. He taught math at the university for three or four years before going to work at Alcoa in a management position. He retired from Alcoa. He was one of 5 brothers (including my grandfather, Ralph) and he has 2 sons himself as well as six grandkids. He lost his beloved Pat a few years ago.
Uncle Marv might be 97, but he’s sharp as a tack. His eye sight isn’t what it once was, so he calls me every year when he gets my Christmas card to let me know how much he appreciates receiving it and to catch up on my family. I always joke about enjoying the “audio Christmas card” from the oldest guy I know.
Uncle Marv is a character. He can’t drive anymore, so he walks the 1/4 mile or so to the local Burger King to “meet the guys” for breakfast. If the weather isn’t so hospitable, one of those gentlemen stops by to pick him up. Keep in mind, “the guys” are all now mostly the age of my Dad, his nephew. He likes the walk. It’s good for him, he says. He’s outlived all of his contemporaries.
Uncle Marv is a story teller, but then, wow has he got a story to tell! If you see him wandering around on the north end of Lafayette, stop and say hello. He’ll immediately begin to regale you with some entertaining tale.
Our country owes a lot to men like my great Uncle Marv. Thanks for your phone calls, your beautiful witness of what a committed marriage looks like, your sense of humor…and your service to our great country. Uncle Marv, you are a ornery Dutchman and a total treasure.