Marvin Lewis McCollum, former resident of Wolcott and West Lafayette, passed away on October 24, 2023, expressing the universal feeling, “I just want to feel loved,” and he was! Born April 12, 1938, to the parents of Jesse L. and Ruth (Jarrett) McCollum and brother to James McCollum, he was baptized as a child at Wolcott Baptist Church, graduated as a 1956 Wolcott Wildcat, and was a member of Wolcott Christian Church where, years prior, he served in several capacities. Married just shy of 56 years to his high school sweetheart, Jeannie, Marvin unexpectedly became her dedicated caregiver as they battled her Alzheimer’s diagnosis together. She pre-deceased him in 2015. Until the mid-1990’s, Marvin was owner-operator of McCollum’s Standard Oil Station and McCollum’s Citgo Service Station in Wolcott. Later in life, he operated a small farm north of Wolcott, retiring from farming in 2005.
As a young man, bowling, church dart ball, card club, smelt fishing, hunting and snowmobiling were his activities of choice. His service station, along with other Wolcott businesses, became the hub for men to meet for daily chit chat, bantering, and coffee. He loved his fishing adventures, being Captain of his boat while in the UP Michigan with Jeannie and the family, and eventually hosting Breakfast Club with pop tarts for his grandkids. Additional favorites included golfing days with his buddies, traveling to Florida during the winter months with Jean, and acquiring a talent for woodworking where many treasures were created. The annual family gatherings at Wolcott’s 4th of July Festival provided some of his fondest memories, namely, hosting a growing family in the back of his pickup truck at the community wiener roast, making family floats, opening their house to friends and family for the day’s events and watching fireworks. Wolcott was his home, and he was proud of it. After retirement and upon Jean’s newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s, they moved to West Lafayette to be near their daughter and son-in-law.
After a lifetime in Wolcott, Marvin and Jean found West Lafayette to be their new home with a new journey ahead. Sprinkled into life to help soften the blow of unexpected changes to their retirement plans were continued travels to the UP and Florida, new expeditions to the Grand Canyon, Caribbean, Panama Canal, and a 50th wedding anniversary trip with the extended family to Alaska. Though his journey as a caregiver was likely the biggest challenge of his life, he muddled through it the best he could, unknowingly showing his youngest daughter and son-in-law the lapses of care and support that existed for families like them in the community. This experience inspired the founding of Joyful Journey in West Lafayette, the only not-for-profit adult day service in eight surrounding counties, providing weekday joy, enrichment and support for some of the most wonderful people you’ll ever meet.
When caregiving was no longer a part of his life, peace would meet him mowing his lawn, driving to the car wash, tinkering, keeping things neat and tidy, sitting and napping on his back porch with his companion dog, Abby, eating out, being a good neighbor, and volunteering five days a week at Joyful Journey, delivering his newspaper, lunches and smiles. Continued annual fishing trips to the UP with his son, Jeff, and cousin, Wayne, brought much pleasure. At about the age of 80 at the intersection of Lindberg Road and US 231 in West Lafayette, Marvin initiated conversation with his caregiving daughter, Cathy and son-in-law, Gerard, recommitting his life stating Jesus was his Lord and Savior.
Marvin’s life could be described as highly expectant of himself and others, respectful and appreciating the same, lovingly firm and generously giving, tinged with thoughtful planning while working hard for little pay. He loved a good joke and would always laughingly repeat the punch line three times. It was important to him to help provide all that was needed for his growing family, be good stewards of what he and Jean had, spend only what was needed, give to others, and save anything extra to pay off their debts and enjoy life.
Because of a long standing birthday promise to Jeannie and upon the birth of their first grandson, he conquered his five-decade old smoking habit giving him a chance at a fuller life. He believed in his family, seldom questioning their decisions, and did his very best to do right by them. He would often remind others of the importance of being fair and doing right, over being exactly equal or perfect. Marvin had fair expectations of his family and he loved them dearly.
Surviving are children, Jeffrey (Jane) McCollum, Cheryl (Doug) Podell, and Catherine (Gerard) Benner; grandchildren, Tyler (Racheal), Caleb (Caitlin), Amy (Danielle), Jake (Kaitlyn), and Marty along with great grandchildren; Ashland, Graeme, Taelyn, Parker, and Lanie; sister-in-law, Donna McCollum; and brother-in-law, Robert (Kathy) Zarse.
Though age opened the door to more complicated days and nights and a lot of unanswered questions, he never forgot those on “Team Marvin”, some related and some not. He never asked for much, and appreciated when others knew him well enough not to have to ask what was needed. These individuals provided moments of joy with their time and their presence also giving close attention to his environment. Whether insuring his needs would be graciously provided, time and a listening ear given for him to share his stories and grumbles, or fluffing him up by being tenderly attentive to the comfort of his mind, body, and spirit, their dedicated engagement validated the immense worth of his being and provided the compassion he so richly deserved. These individuals held a special place in his heart, as well as, to those whose primary responsibility was seeing that he was loved well. Marvin recognized those he could count on to make his load lighter and bring about a brighter day. You know who you are! It takes a village of understanding, selfless, committed, attentive, trusting, smart and genuinely willing hearts to graciously and generously serve the heart and soul of another, especially when life gets messy.
All those who were a part of Marvin’s life and the life of his family are invited to graveside services and remembrances to be held at Rensselaer’s Memory Gardens, 8435 W. State Rd. 114, Rensselaer, IN on December 12, 2023 at 11 am EST. Lunch for all to follow in Rensselaer.
In lieu of flowers and in honoring Marvin and Jean’s journey as the inspiration in the founding of Joyful Journey, memorial gifts can be sent to not-for-profit, Joyful Journey, Adult Day Service, 600 Lindberg Road, West Lafayette, IN 47906 in Marvin’s name. Without their living story, Joyful Journey would not exist for others. Marvin understood the need for caregiver support and importance that their beloved be given a chance at an abundant life where they feel loved, too.
Springer-Voorhis-Draper Funeral Home is entrusted with care.
Friends and family are encouraged to share a photo, a memory, or messages of condolence at www.springervoorhisdraper.com