John Marvin Willhite
January 8, 1931 - June 12, 2019
John Marvin Willhite was born south of Holly on January 8, 1931 to John and Louise Willhite. He departed this life on June 12, 2019 at the Holly Nursing Care Center in Holly, Colorado at the age of 88.
Marvin was born during the beginning of the dust bowl era. He was a student at a one room schoolhouse until moving into town to attend Holly High School. After high school, Marvin attended college at Colorado A & M, which is presently known as Colorado State University. While there, he belonged to Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and was a member of the ROTC.
In 1951, Marvin married his sweetheart, Pat (Donohoe). They were blessed with three children, Jeanne, Cathy, and David. Soon after they were married, Marvin joined the U.S. Air Force where he served as an officer for four years. Following their time in the service, Marvin and Pat moved back to Holly to begin their lifelong partnership in farming and ranching.
Marvin was serving as the Mayor of Holly during the 1965 flood. He helped navigate the community through that eventful time.
While farming and ranching was his business, horses were his passion. Marvin and Pat owned and bred show and racehorses for many years. When the children were younger, the family enjoyed time together raising and showing horses. Later, Marvin focused on his love of racehorses. A few years after the flood, Marvin was one of the original founders of Gateway Downs Racetrack in Holly. He contributed in many ways to Gateway Downs from its inception through the 1990's. He was a longtime member of the American Quarter Horse Association, and also served as a Director and President of the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association. Marvin had the honor of being inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2012.
Marvin and Pat enjoyed traveling, fishing, and spending time at their mountain cabin. The cabin was a special place they shared with family and friends. It's where the grandchildren loved learning how to fish and snow ski.
Marvin is survived by his three children, Jeanne Allen and husband, John, Cathy Hammes and husband, John David, and David Willhite and wife, Cheryl all of Holly, Colorado; brother, Bill Willhite of Holly; eight grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; many other relatives and a host of friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Patricia Willhite; two infant children; and sister-in-law, Roberta Willhite.
Funeral Services for Marvin Willhite were held June 18, 2019, at the Holly United Methodist Church in Holly with Pastor Kathy Leathers officiating. Interment followed in the Holly Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Holly Fire and Ambulance Fund in care of Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel, P.O. Box 950 Lamar, CO. 81052.
Arrangements were under the direction of Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel.