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Issue 1

September 27th, 2019

Greenville community loses local legend

FRI. | 2-23-24 | NEWS

     On Sunday, Feb. 18, the city of Greenville suffered a major loss. Marvin John Jarman passed away, leaving behind his life’s legacy and an incredibly large void in the Greenville community. 

     In his 77 years, Marvin touched many hearts and lives in the community. Whether it be through simply seeing him at a sporting event around town, sharing a car ride with him or being offered a classic stick of Juicy Fruit gum by him, most every Greenville citizen has met or heard of Marvin. 

     Popularly known as “Mr. Greenville,” Marvin was born in Sterling, Colorado, on Jan. 13, 1947. Soon after, he moved to North Carolina, and his love for baseball, Rose and the Greenville community began.


Photo by Owen Simmons

     During his time at Rose, Marvin was an avid sports fan, attending games with friends and family. In 1969, he won the title of “Mr. School Spirit” and graduated from Rose, but this was nowhere near the end of Marvin’s involvement with the Rampants.

     “He had been to all of the games as a student, and so a couple of the guys were like, ‘come on, Marvin, come sit on the bench with us, come help us… at football practice', and he just became a coach from year one,” athletic director and baseball coach Clay Medlin said. “He coached football, baseball and basketball and was at almost every other sporting event.”

     Medlin has known Marvin his entire life, throughout the Greenville Little League scene and later as the Rose baseball coach. He notes Marvin's pure intentions and wholeheartedness throughout everything he did.

     “[He was] very genuine; he didn't just ask questions to ask them; he asked them because he legitimately cared, [and he was] compassionate because he truly did like a lot of people and really had their well-being in mind,” Medlin said. “I mean, it wasn't just ‘hope you're doing well’ like we all say; he genuinely meant it.”

     Marvin's loyalty is quantified by his 1300 consecutive basketball game attendances, his 50-year streak of football game attendances, and his unwavering love of baseball. 

     “He had not missed a basketball game home or away since 1966 until this past January, when he got sick, and he had not missed a football game since 1970,” Medlin said. “The basketball streak is just amazing; I mean, 24 games a year at least, and then playoffs and tournaments… Not to miss a home or away one for fifty [or] almost sixty years is unbelievable.”

     In 1970, a storm came to town that caused the time of that day's football game to be moved forward a couple of hours. Because of the lack of technology, no one was able to contact Marvin, and he missed the bus. 

     “Since that day in 1970, when we have an away game, he will get here two hours early, three hours early, four," Medlin said. "I mean, he gets here super early, and we’re always like, 'Marvin, why are you here so early? We’re not going to leave you’ and he’s like, ‘Well, it happened before’.” 

     Marvin was determined and unwilling to miss his beloved Rose sporting events, and with the help of the Greenville community and his own two feet, Marvin was able to keep his impressive attendance streaks. 

      “There’s a lot of basketball fans that don't come to 1400 straight games, and there’s a lot of football fans that say, ‘it’s kind of cold’ or ‘it’s raining, I'm going to watch from the TV set’,” Medlin said. “He loved Rose, and that’s where he wanted to be, so he made the most out of it, [and] I think that you just have to make 100 percent out of wherever you are, whatever you're doing at the time.”

     Marvin’s true dedication to Rose and to Greenville can also be seen in his vast memory, which he was known for. He could remember it all—faces, names and just about every fact one could know about any given sports game in Rose history. 

     “It’s amazing; I mean, he truly remembers something from every game that he's been a part of,” Medlin said. 

Marvin found a way to help each team during every game. During football games, he could be seen pacing the field and even running to grab the kicking tee. At basketball games, he was the stat keeper, and at baseball games, he kept the pitch count for both the Rampants and the away team. 

      “While he was on the bench as a coach, he was also doing stuff to help the team every single game of all three seasons,” Medlin said. 

     Marvin’s love and dedication extended beyond Rose. He was a huge part of the Greenville community. He worked for Greenville Parks and Recreation for many years, cleaning Elm Street Park. He could be seen walking around Greenville most days wearing Rose apparel, always specific to what sport was in season at that time. Marvin also had a strong love for East Carolina University sports. 

     “He was Mr. Greenville; I mean, everybody in the world has given him a ride or fed him, or he’s been at their house, or he’s known their grandparents or grandkids depending on what generation,” Medlin said. “He’s been through every mayor and every city council, and all of them have known him.”

     Marvin has left many important lessons for Rose athletes, students and people in general, one being the importance of loyalty and perseverance. 

     “There were no excuses with Marvin,” Medlin said. “He never had a drivers license but found a way to be at every practice, every day, every game and you know if you're in the dugout, on the bench, or on the sidelines and you can see that he’s able to persevere and be this loyal, then u can too.”

     The outpouring of prayers, praises and condolences offered to Marvin’s family and friends have shown overwhelmingly the impact Marvin had on Greenville as a whole. 

     “So, we will always remember him, but it’s just not going to be the same, like some other coaches have said, when you look across the field and he’s not there,” Medlin said. 

     Marvin will be greatly missed by all. There is no doubt that his legacy extends far and wide, from the dugout at Elm Street Park to the stands of Rose games, to his new seat for sporting events. 

     “The amount of people that Marvin has reached is unbelievable, and that’s his biggest legacy or biggest impact: being the kind of person that everybody loves, not just the baseball team or the basketball team, being someone school-wide and city-wide that everyone adores and has reached out about, that's really awesome,” Medlin said.         “He’s just really the kindest and most genuine person you can ever meet, and in a world that’s got so much turmoil sometimes, finding someone that is as kind and as generous as him, that's like the light of the world.”

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