Marvin Howard Congleton, 93, Army veteran and dedicated berry farmer

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Marvin Howard Congleton
Marvin Howard Congleton

WILMINGTON – Marvin Howard Congleton, 93, of Wilmington, North Carolina, passed away peacefully Sunday morning, Aug. 28, 2016.

Mr. Congleton was born on May 29, 1923, the son of the late Luther F. Congleton and Emma Rivell Congleton, of Wilmington. He is preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Carolyn Ray Craig Congleton; and two sisters, Dorothy Rae Congleton and Alma Roy Congleton Glover.   He is also preceded in death by three brothers, Capt. George Floyd Congleton, David Bunyann Congleton and Robert Smith Congleton.

As a young family, the Congletons lived on Nunn Street downtown, and Marvin would be seen as a kid selling papers on the corner of South Front and Market Streets. He accepted the challenge of bundle distribution, taking a daily ride on the streetcar from Wilmington to Lumina Station at Wrightsville Beach, before his school day.

His parents had a cottage on the sound near Carolina Beach. Time spent on the shores with his brothers and sister fishing the marshes and Masonboro Island imprinted a deep affection for the environment and community of Myrtle Grove Sound and Seabreeze. This is also where he met the love of his life, Carolyn (Tinker) Craig, and where he raised his family for the past 60 years.

He graduated from New Hanover High School class of 1940. He served in the Merchant Marines, with tours around South America and South Africa before joining the US Army as a Marine Engineer.   His service in the Army earned him the European Central Europe African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and a National Defense Service Medal.

Upon returning to Wilmington and his beloved Myrtle Grove Sound, he remained active as an Army Reserve Officer and managed the Equipment Division for MOTSU Sunny Point.

Anyone who knew him, knew that he had the heart of a farmer and a gardener, and that his passion was growing flowers, vegetable and fruits. He could be heard on the radio where he answered questions as a volunteer and master gardener for New Hanover County.

For many years he operated a pick-your-own blueberry and muscadine grove near Carolina Beach and encouraged his customers to eat all they could and pay by the honor system. He loved sharing the bounty of nature with anyone who wanted to swap stories.

He was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, laying a foundation for his sons to be guided by a life of service.  He was an active member of the Elks No. 532, the VFW and the American Legion.

He is survived by his three sons, Carroll Dean Congleton, Marvin Howard Congleton-II, and Thomas Ray Congleton and their wives; and grandchildren Michael, Stephanie, Mason and Emma.

The family would like to thank the many friends and neighbors who have shared our love of this community and managed to avoid Mr. Congleton on his blue Ford or red M-F tractor as he traveled on the Myrtle Grove loop road for these past 60 years, he did his best to preserve a foothold for the farmers of southern New Hanover County.

A private graveside service will be held at a later date.