Marvin Brown Shoemaker Jr. was born in High Point on July 7, 1928, to Leffie VonCannon and Marvin Brown Shoemaker. He transcended earth (he always dreamed of levitating, flying without a plane) on Saturday morning, Oct. 18, 2015, no doubt to join the love of his life, Polly Shoemaker, who preceded him in death by only 22 months.
Daddy was also preceded in death by his sister, Marion Shoemaker Lambeth and two of his children: Toni Elaine Shoemaker, a special needs daughter whom he adored and who was the core force of many lessons learned and taught about acceptance and tolerance and compassion, and Randolph “Randy” Shoemaker, who died shortly after childbirth complications and whose loss both he and Mom painfully felt. He was also preceded in death by a stepdaughter, Rebecca ‘Becky’ Walker (CA) with whom he shared a passion for fishing.
He is survived by a lot of love.
When Daddy married Mom, he married a ready-made family into which they continued to add over the years. He never hesitated to accept Mom’s children as his own. His children include George (Wendy) Wilson, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Carol (Andrew) Sims, of Garner; John I. Wilson, of Raleigh; Tim (Shannon) Wilson, of Tracy, California; Ken (Roni) Shoemaker, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Lynn Shoemaker (Sandy Younce), of Wilmington; and Deb Shoemaker (Russ Maynard), of Wilmington.
Fortunately, Daddy loved “his girls” and was always a staunch believer that girls were equal in every way to boys, which is good because he didn’t get grandsons to carry on the Shoemaker name–but he did get feminist granddaughters whom he loved very much: Bonnie Shoemaker, of Asheville and Marlee Shoemaker Yeates, of Denver. He was so proud of them both. He had other grandchildren of whom he was also proud (Dee, Katie, Tad, Tommy, Tim, Ron, Aleta, Melissa and Kenny) and 10 great-grandchildren as well as two great-great-grandchildren.
Daddy attended four years of mathematical engineering school at N.C. State University, where he also developed a knack for architectural drafting. His life drove him in a somewhat different direction with so many mouths to feed, so he never pursued his own big dreams–owning and flying his own plane for fun and attending medical school to become a doctor–but he did implore his children to reach for the stars, to dream bigger, and he did become affectionately known as Dr. Brown when there were skinned knees to clean and bandage. Those moments and our dreams seemed to be just fine with him, equal and maybe even greater to any prestigious degree or expensive plane.
Home was always Wilmington in his heart. His father had worked here during WWII helping to first build the railroad, then the shipyard and finally opening a small shoe store in the North Fourth district of downtown, also known as Little Brooklyn. Daddy attended New Hanover High School and Wilmington was rich with memories of his own father. So, it was no surprise that this is where he chose to retire from an eventful and successful career as a heavy construction equipment salesman.
Daddy became known among our friends for his witty wisdom and adages called “Marvinisms.” You probably passed him on the highway, blowing your horn; he was in no hurry to get to the stoplight first. If there were oysters to be had, he had them. He taught us to always be prepared: carry an oyster knife at all times. Always have options; never miss an opportunity. The only thing you need to pack for vacation is a toothbrush. School projects sent home to complete are a challenge to see which parents are the most talented (and Daddy was very talented!).
If it’s worth doing then it’s worth doing right. Love is patient. If you settle, then you’ve settled, so never settle. Never stop learning. Learn something new every day even if it’s what not to do or how not to be. If you have to ask how much it cost, then you probably don’t need it. A higher price doesn’t guarantee a better quality. All work and no play makes for a boring life. Don’t get yourself all bunched up. Don’t encourage the grass to grow if you don’t want to mow it. Turn the lights off when you leave a room–no sense in lining the pockets of corporate greed mongers.
War never solved anything. Always be kind and gentle. Be careful with your words because you can’t take them back. Family is important. Accept people for who they are at any given time. Situations are how you frame them. Never loan a book that you want returned. Don’t borrow from others, but if you do, return it in better shape than you received it. When all else fails, read the directions. Eat, drink and be merry. Ignorant people talk about other people; average people talk about things; intelligent people talk about ideas. Write it down. If it isn’t recorded, then it never happened. Keep records. Never punish a child for making mistakes while learning. Most answers are derived from listening not speaking. Love and laugh, then love and laugh some more.
The family and close family friends will celebrate Daddy’s life at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, at a small private ceremony at Mom’s grave in Raleigh Memorial Park, 7209 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, next to the baby’s garden, where his son Randy is also buried.
An open celebration of Marvin Shoemaker’s life will begin with a time to visit with the family at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, at Airlie Gardens under the trees outside Lebanon Chapel. A service officiated by John K. Ormand Jr. M. Th., LPC, a man who Daddy loved as his confidante and guru, will begin at 3 p.m. at the chapel. His friend and ours, Deb Butler, will offer reflections on “The Last Gentleman.” His granddaughter, his “Sweet Pea” Marlee, has asked to speak. Kelly Jewell will provide music.
Following the service, family will receive friends at the home of Lynn Shoemaker, Sandy Younce and Marlee Shoemaker Yeates in Beaumont/Forest Hills. If you play an instrument, bring it with you. Daddy was looking forward to neighborhood parties and jam sessions with other musicians in the backyard.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Kids Making It, 617 Castle St., Wilmington. Daddy had been creating prototypes for his cigar box guitars for the youth at KMI. He was very determined to get to Kids Making It to teach those young entrepreneurs how to carry on his contribution to music, one of his legacies.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.
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