Marvin Gann, 1925-2006

My father sang in church choirs most of his life, and his favorite pieces were Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven’s Ninth. Once he sang in the chorus for the Dallas Opera production of Boris Godunov. Along with the Steinway baby grand he bought me when I was 15, which stands in my living room today, such was his contribution to classical music. He was an accountant for Mobil Oil, and spent the last three of his 29 years there as an office manager in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Having grown up dirt-poor on a farm in what is now a rather stylish section of Dallas, he landed at Omaha Beach three days after D-Day, and was a corporal in the 7th Armored Division under Patton at the Battle of the Bulge. He heard the gunfire of the massacre of American prisoners at Malmedy as he was frantically trying to fix a tire on his halftrack.

Luckily – since I was stubborn – he attempted his paternal duty only once. In my last year of high school he warned me that to be a musician was a difficult and insecure life. What would I do about retirement?, he asked. As an artist, I replied, I had no wish to retire. It seemed to me, at 17, unwise to plan one’s entire life around retirement. But Dad eventually retired at the age of 57, and enjoyed his leisure for 23 wonderful years. On my side, I know that he sometimes hated going in to work – whereas I, in my often financially precarious adult life, have never once woken up and had to go do anything for a living that wasn’t music-related. The jury on who won that argument is still out. Meanwhile, my son’s middle name is Marvin.

Dad died Saturday, and we buried him Monday, in Frisco, Texas.


  1. Richard Voorhaar says

    I,too, recently experienced the passing of my Father, and wish you the best in these trying times.

  2. says

    What a beautiful tribute to your father, Kyle. You left out his most important contribution to classical music, which is you. And it seems that you won that argument about retirement.

  3. says

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss, Kyle. I hope you’re doing as well as is possible under such circumstances.
    You dad sounds like he was quite a guy :)

  4. Lula Singletary says

    Thanks for the gift, a beautiful tribute to your father. What a great loss in this life to his wonderful family and to me and my family as well. My prayer is that I, like Marvin, will live up to Marvin’s standards for honoring and serving_ first his Savior and Lord , Jesus Christ, his beloved family, his friends, his country, and the world. Marvin will always be as near as our fondest memories.

  5. kevin Parks says

    Sorry to read of your loss Kyle. I am sure your dad was proud to have you as his son. My best to Nancy & Bernard.