Virgil Marvel Family – Notes – Photos and Videos

On this page I will expand on the life of my Grandfather Virgil Thomas Marvel and his family.

From my personal experience, my grandfather was always kind and generous. Unfortunately during the early part of my life, I had only limited contact with him and Grandma Bea. My cousins Tom Heminger and his sister Gail lived in South Bend, Indiana and would spend more time with them. The following is Tom’s rememberance of Grandpa Virgil:

“Virgil Marvel was a religious man. I never knew him to drink, or swear. He was gentle in spirit and always presented himself respectfully. I never heard him get into political arguments or express radical views. My dad took me up to the hospital the night before Grandpa died to say goodbye. I did not know that he would be gone the next day. He had brown lung disease from the early days as a coal miner and cigarette related cancer.”

from an email to me dated Nov. 22, 2022

The Marvel relatives would all gather over at Grandpa Virgil’s during the holiday seasons. According to my cousin Tom – ” The Marvels ate southern style with country fried ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, beans, salads, rolls with butter and plenty of pie! Nobody went home hungry.”

Fishing was something that all of my Marvel relatives enjoyed. I remember getting up early on several Saturday mornings usually around 5 a.m. Then my dad and I would travel to a nearby lake to spend time together fishing. On those trips, the boat would be hitched to back bumper of the car. At least 2 or 3 ‘fishing’ trips a year would end up in South Bend, Indiana and we would spend time with Granpa Virgil and my cousin Denny.

Now Some facts concerning my Grandfather Virgil Thomas Marvel and his family

According to the U.S Census In 1910, Virgil was the age of 11 and he along with his family lived in Lewis Township, Clay County, Indiana.

On August 23, 1916, Virgil Marvel married Garland Ferne Johnson in Sullivan County, Indiana.  Virgil was 18 and Ferne Johnson was just 16.  She would turn 17 four days later.

By 1920 the Census stated that Virgil was married to Ferne, and they lived in Hymera Town, Jackson Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.  His occupation according to the census was – Coal Miner.

Some time after 1925, Virgil and Ferne Marvel moved to the South Bend, Indiana area. His brothers also made to move to South Bend. Automobile manufacturing was starting to take off in Northern Indiana, especially in South Bend.

According to the 1930 Census, Virgil and Fern moved to Mishawaka, Penn Township, St. Joseph County, Indiana.  His occupation was listed as – Electrician – Auto Brake.  His address was listed on W. Marion St. Mishawaka.

The South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana) dated September 24, 1930, Wednesday on page 19.  Printed the Moving Permits for South Bend and it showed that Virgil Marvel moved from 1014 West Marion Street to 1004 East Lawrence Street in Mishawaka, Indiana.

The South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana) dated August 25, 1931, Tuesday on page 16 – Mishawaka Statistics – Moving Permits – Virgil Marvel moved from 1004 East Lawrence Street to 410 East Pennsylvania avenue, South Bend.

In 1935, Virgil Marvel filed for divorce from his wife Ferne. The children were  Gerald Marvel age 17, Phyllis Marvel age 13, and Donald Marvel age 11 at the time.   Judgment was handed down on May 10, 1935.

According to the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana) dated July 16, 1935, Tuesday on page 1.


  Virgil Marbel (Marvel), employe(e) of the Bantam Ball Bearing company, is in the emergency room of St. Joseph hospital as the result of an electrical shock suffered while at work shortly before 2 o’clock this afternoon.  He may recover.

According to the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana) dated July 17, 1935, Wednesday on page 13

ELECTRIC MAN IS IMPROVING AFTER SHOCK   Virgil Marvel, aged 37, of 115 East Donald Street, electrical maintenance man employed by the Bantam Ball Bearing company, 3702 West Sample Street, is reported to be improving today in St. Joseph’s hospital where he was taken after he was severely shocked while working Tuesday afternoon.  In changing connections, he inadvertently grasped a 220-volt live wire.  Fellow workmen freed him.  He was taken to the hospital in the city ambulance.

According to a note by daughter Phyliss – Tuesday, July 16, 1935, Dad received an electric shock while at work at the Bantam Ball Bearing Company.  Also on July 16, 1935, Mother was sent to State Institution at Long Cliff, Logansport, Indiana.

According to the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana) dated September 25, 1935, Wednesday on page 8


Merger of the Bantom Ball Bearing company, of South Bend, with the great Torrington company, of Connecticut, is a impressive demonstration of appreciation of the local company’s value.  Some business mergers indicate dangerous weakness in one of the affected units.  In this instance a large industrial organization has absorbed a smaller company because the latter was operated with such skill that it had assumed the appearance of an indispensable asset.

  Although it is a comparative newcomer, having been moved to South Bend from Bantam, Conn. In 1928, the ball bearing company has been listed among the better local industries for some time.  The engineering and administrative abilities of Karl F. Herrmann have been major factors in its growth, and it was gratifying to learn that he will remain in South Bend to serve as general manager of the company.

According to the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana) dated March 15, 1937, Monday on page 7

VIRGIL COBLER HEADS BEARING COMPANY UNION   Virgil C. Cobler was elected president of the Bantam Ball Bearing company independent labor union Saturday night at a meeting of employees in German hall, Prairie and Indiana avenues.  John Stevens was named vice president, Carl O. Guin secretary and Robert Fanning treasurer

  The organization approved a 15-point working proposal to be submitted later this week for negotiation with the management and voted to discard a proposal that the organization affiliate with a nationally-recognized union.

Twelve representatives were chosen, one from each department of the plant, to serve on the union council.  They include Mr. Stevens, Fred Smith, Earl Camp, Raymond Burgh, Virgil Marvel, Mr. Fanning, Henry Rodin, Remus Smith, George Rodin, John Cybulski, Vernon H. Jamison and Albert Wiemer.

According to The South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana), dated December 23, 1938, Friday on page 24.


  An informal dinner was held in the Hotel Lasalle Thursday evening in honor of the 1938 Bantam Bearings corporation apprentice graduates.  The management was represented by A.H. Frauenthal, general manager; T.M. Allen, factory manager; W.T. Bell, treasurer; R.L. Frarey, superintendent, and S.A. Parlin, engineer in charge of apprentice instruction.  Apprentices attending the dinner were David Osborne, Gevin Bartlett, Paul Abbott, Willard Martindale, Virgil Marvel and Albert Golichowski.

A $300 apprentice bonus check was presented to Mr. Osborne on graduating from the regular three-year apprentice course.  Plans and improvements for the apprentice classes were discussed.

On July 21, 1938, Virgil Marvel married Bernice Fike in South Bend, Indiana

By 1940, Virgil and Bernice still lived in Mishawaka, Penn Township, St. Joseph County.  His occupation was listed as – Electrician – Bearing Manufacturing company.

In December of 1947, Dennis Keith Marvel was born to Virgil and Bernice Marvel in South Bend, Indiana

Dennis went on to fight in the Viet Nam War and while over there married a young Vietnamese young lady named Huong “Molly” Thien.  After the war they came back to the United States.  They had three children – Steven, Timothy, and Phillip.  Dennis and “Molly” divorced soon after they returned to America.

Virgil Thomas Marvel passed away on October 13, 1972 in South Bend, Indiana. Virgil and Bernice Marvel are buried in the Southlawn Cemetery also in South Bend, Indiana.

Granpa Virgil and Grandma Bea Marvel

Grandpa Virgil Marvel

Grandpa Marvel’s house in South Bend, Indiana

Marvel Family Gathering

Marvel Family Gathering

Gerald ‘Jerry’ Marvel Family

Marvel Family Gathering

William ‘Bill’ and Phyliss Heminger with Tom and Gail

Bill Heminger Family

Bill Heminger with Gail his daughter

Gerald ‘Jerry’ and Jane Marvel with William and Gary

Tom Heminger at a pony ride

Grandma Garland Fern Marvel

Fern – Phyliss- Jerry and Marvel

Fern – Jerry – Phyliss – Bill – Betty – Gail

Fern – Don – Phyliss – Jane

Jerry with his mother Fern Marvel

Tom Heminger at the Zoo in South Bend, Indiana

Bill Heminger and Jerry Marvel at Jerry’s house

Unknown Marvel family with Don Marvel lying on the grass

Bill Heminger Family

Grandpa Virgil out on the boat ready to go Fising

Jerry Marvel with his favorite guitar

Grandma Bea and Denny Marvel

Marvel brothers and wives

Sadie Marvel

Donald Marvel with a Marvel Uncle

Unknown Marvel relatives

Unknown Marvel Family Members

Marvel Family Members at Effie’s Funeral

Unknown young boys

Young Virgil Marvel

Virgil and Bea Marvel

Virgil Marvel with his mother Effie Marvel

Grandpa Virgil and Bea

Grandpa Virgil at his favorite hobby – FISHING

Marvel Uncles and wives

The Photos Below are of the William Mortie & Effie Marvel and Family

The William Morton ‘Mortie’ and Effie Marvel’s family

William Mortie and Effie Marvel on the farm

Young William and Effie Marvel with Hazel and Virgil Marvel (the baby)

William and Effie Marvel

William Morton ‘Mortie’ Marvel

William Mortie Marvel

Effie Marvel late in life

William Mortie Marvel Dennis Marvel and Virgil Marvel

Photos of the newspaper articles listed above

The South Bend Tribune March 15, 1937

The South Bend Tribune Dec. 23, 1938

The South Bend Tribune July 17, 1935

The South Bend Tribune Sept. 25, 1935

Virgtil Marvel Obituary October 14, 1972

Memorial Card for Grandpa Virgil Marvel

Memorial Card for Grandpa Virgil Marvel

Tombstone for Grandpa Virgil Marvel located at the Southlawn Cemetery South Bend, Indiana

Marvel Burial Site at the Chapel Hill Cemetery. Located in Osceola, St. Joseph County, Indiana

William Morton ‘Mortie’ Marvel

Effie Stoops Marvel

Tombstone for Bernice Marvel located at the Soutlawn Cemetery South Bend, Indiana

Crypt of Garland Fern Marvel located in the Portage Chapel at the Riverview Cemetery – South Bend, Indiana.

Home Movies taken by my dad Donald Marvel over the years – (8mm film digitized by YesVideo at Costco)

Once In Awhile – written by my dad Donald Marvel – Played by Jacob Tilton