A Family friend (John Marcum) passed away on February 9th. just a few short weeks ago. My parents were friends with John and his wife Susie, as they became acquainted through the Custer Baseball Little League Organization that John helped start. In fact that program is still going strong today with thousands of boys and girls playing ball at the brand new Custer diamonds. My five brothers and I all played ball at Custer, as did John’s two sons John and Dave. I remember John Jr. as one the finest athletes ever to come out of Monroe, and younger brother Dave was no slouch either. Their dad was their coach and mentor, as he encouraged his sons to always do their best both on and off the field. Sandwiched in between John Jr. and Dave was Johns daughter Linda who knew the Custer ball fields well. When you saw the Marcum’s their kids weren’t far behind.
John and his wife became very active in church and various ministry outreaches in the late 60’s and early 70’s. John remained a faithful follower of Christ all his life, and never met a stranger. Soon after meeting John you were going to hear about his passion for Gods saving Grace. I guess you could say he was an Evangelist at heart. His desire was for everyone to experience the love, peace, and hope that he himself had experienced through turning his life over to God.
John was an Engineer at Ford Motor Company where I worked, and whenever we would meet the talk always centered around family, hunting, and his Savior Jesus. John was not a closet Christian! You never had to guess where he stood on spiritual matters. He was bold, yet compassionate, compelling the listener to “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”
One aspect about John’s life was known to only a few. You see John enlisted in the army during World War II and served with the Army’s 99th. Infantry. He was part of the four Army divisions that participated in the greatest land battle in history-the Battle of the Bulge! Nineteen thousand (19,000) soldiers did not return home from this harsh winter battle. It truly was the end of Hitler’s Axis powers. The battle lasted over a month in one of the coldest winters Europe ever experienced. John was awarded the purple heart for wounds received during combat, and was a proud member of the American Legion Post in Reading. An American hero indeed!
Once John retired (1975) he settled into his lakefront home in Quincy Michigan. He became a member of the Bankers Baptist Church, and was active in the choir, Sunday school, and served as a church deacon. He also was active in the Gideon’s ministry, and gave of his time, talents, and resources to many charities that furthered the cause of Christ. Outgoing and friendly John and Susie made many friends at church and in the Quincy community. From these friendships John had opportunity to hunt some prime property. I remember John inviting my dad over to hunt some of these deer infested farms. Of course I would have to tag along, and be the “bird dog” for these “old timers!” John was always gracious, and so was his wife Susie. At mid-day we would go back to their house and Susie would fix us lunch. We would talk hunting, but always John would want to talk about Jesus. My dad, who passed away just a few years after our last hunt with John, was always impressed by John’s zeal for Christ. Before my dad died he too gave his heart to Christ, and I’m positive John’s message did not come back void! Thank you John for your zest for life, and your commitment to sharing the gospel of Christ.
Next to God and his devotion to his family, John was an avid outdoorsman. It almost seems surreal that just this past fall, John enjoyed one of his most memorable hunting seasons. At 91 years old John was still climbing into tree stands, and still bringing down bragging sized bucks. Although the family trips to hunt the Upper Peninsula were winding down Daves 40 acres was prime Quincy property. The first picture is of John holding Dave’s big bow shot buck that John tracked and found the day after Dave hit it. Dave credits his dad for finding this Southern Michigan bruiser. The next picture is of John and his good friend Jerry Wilson with the big 8 pointer John downed on opening day of gun season. The last picture is of John and Dave with the “double” they took on longbeards this past Spring. Dave called them in and his dad put the “smack down” on a trophy Tom with an 11 inch beard and 1″ spurs. John had filled his deer license several years in a row, and had taken the last few with a crossbow. What great memories are left to those that knew and loved John the most. How many sons get to be in the woods at the crack of dawn, when the roosters crow, the turkeys gobble, and the steam exhales from the deers nostrils, with their 91-year-old father? What a wonderful gift John F. Marcum Sr. was to his family, as well as all mankind. Yes he will be sadly missed, but his legacy will live on in the hearts and lives of his family, and each life he touched. Glad to have known you John. You truly did make the world a better place.
John was able to spend some good quality time with all his family before being called home. As always he lived for Jesus, he defended his faith, and he looked forward to the words “Well done my good and faithful servant” from the Lord he served. His life made an impact on his family and friends, and they will never be the same because of this life so well lived.