The Fence Post obituary: Marvin “Marv” J. Walz

Marvin “Marv” J. Walz, 78

Dec. 20, 1941 – May 20, 2020

Arthur, Neb.

Marvin “Marv” J. Walz, age 78, of Arthur, Neb., passed away on May 20, 2020, at his son’s home in Broken, Bow, Neb.

Marvin John Walz was born Dec. 20, 1941, in Ogallala, Neb., to Alfred and Nellie (Wheeler) Walz. He was the youngest of three children. Marv was raised in the Sandhills of Arthur County, living on the Boe place five miles north of Arthur until age 6 months, his father’s ranch 11 miles northeast of Arthur until 1958, the Kramer place 12 miles northeast of Arthur until 1965, and in 1967 he purchased his granddad John Walz’s homestead seven miles north of Arthur. It was here that he raised Angus cattle, buffalo, Quarter horses, and was a good steward of the land. He was presented with the Nebraska Pioneer Award in 2013 for continuous ownership of the Walz Homestead for 100 years.

Marv attended rural elementary schools in Arthur County and graduated from Arthur County High School in 1960. Marv developed a love for ranching early in his life and hired out at age 11 as a ranch hand on the Mahan ranch and trained his first horse at age 7. He was raking hay and feeding hay at age 8 with a team of horses, Buster and Snorts. Throughout his life, he became an accomplished horse trainer and had a special talent in welding and iron construction. Comments from fellow horsemen are that they never saw him riding a bad horse and that he always took the outside circle around the pasture when rounding up cattle. He was admired for his overhand loop when roping at brandings.

After graduating high school, Marv worked on his father’s ranch one year before attending college in Fullerton, Calif. He returned to Arthur County a year later to ranch when he was drafted into the Army in 1964. He completed his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and Fort Riley, Kan., before serving in the Vietnam War in May-December 1965. Just before deployment, his father passed away at age 52 and Marv had one week at home before serving with the Big Red One Rangers under General Westmoreland’s command. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion 16th Infantry entering Vietnam with a beach head landing June 24, 1965. His duties included carrying his own field gear, plus a 26 pound radio and explosives for the Platoon Leader. His Sergeant commented in training that if he ever had to be in combat, he would want Marv’s battalion with him. A positive highlight of his serving was attending a Bob Hope USO show for the troops. After contracting malaria in the jungle in October, Marv was airlifted to Saigon, then to Guam overnight, and finally hospitalized at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu for two months before being discharged in December 1965 with the rank of Specialist 4th Class.

After his discharge, Marv worked at Woodland Park, Colo., as a horse trainer. On June 19, 1966, he married Theo Charlene Wilson and moved back to Arthur County in September of that year. To this union was born a daughter, Del Rae J., in 1967 and a son, Troy Marv, in 1970.

Marv served on the District #32 school board; as a county commissioner; member and trustee of the Arthur Baptist Church; member of the American Quarter Horse Association; member of The American Legion Post #207; and member of The Compassionate Friends. He enjoyed helping the FFA students and the 4-H Club identify native Sandhills grasses.

Marv loved his family, being a cowboy/horseman, and most of all being with his three grandsons. He was known for his wit, sense of humor, and his teasing nature.

Preceding him in death was a daughter, Del Rae in 1984.

Survivors include his wife Theo, of Arthur; son Troy (Adrienne) Walz, of Broken Bow; grandsons Wheeler (Kate) Walz, of Omaha; Kelton Walz, of Grand Island; Weston Walz, of Broken Bow; one sister; Louise (Johnie) Hendrix, of Washburn, Mo.; one brother; Jerry Walz, of Cody, Neb.; one brother-in-law; Delwin Wilson of Arthur; and sister-in-laws; Lexie (Bob) Cone; and Dale Dee (Ron) Pochon, all of Ogallala.

A private family graveside service was held on May 23, 2020, in the Arthur Cemetery in Arthur, with Pastor Blake Wilkes of the Arthur Baptist Church officiating. Interment will be in the Arthur Cemetery with Military Honors from the Everett J. Yates American Legion Post #207 of Arthur and the Keith County Veterans Honor Guard.

Memorials are suggested to the Everett J. Yates American Legion Post #207 of Arthur.

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Draucker Funeral Home of Ogallala has been entrusted with arrangements.