ANSONIA - “I’m just a dad doing what dads do,” humbly remarked Marvin Peters of Ansonia, during a recent Father’s Day interview with The Daily Advocate, after family members talked of how he has always been there for them.
Peters has been his family’s strongest supporter the past 49 years.
He and wife Judy are the parents of three children, Jeff, Shannon Hall and Emily Smith, and grandparents to six - five boys, Adam, Aaron, Shane, Nick and Tyler and one girl, Breena.
“It takes a special man to be a dad and a true blessing to be a father,” said daughter Shannon, who has gotten a lot of her father’s support with her health issues. “Lots of men don’t understand the importance of family and how to love their kids above everything else and to take care of their needs before his own. Yes, I am biased, but I’m positive our dad is one of the best and many men could learn a lot about faith, family and how to love unconditionally from him. He supports everybody from physical to emotional..nothing is ever off the table with him. He was that way when we were growing up, too.”
“Everything Shannon has gone through has been a challenge but a blessing,” Marvin said. “There have been a lot of blessings in this community, and Miami Valley was super to her.”
“One thing we learned with cancer is that nothing should be left unsaid or undone…good, bad or ugly,” Shannon said.
“I know God’s got her [Shannon],” Marvin said. “That was one of the hardest things. Dads fix things and I didn’t fix this, so who do we rely on?”
“Dad is always willing to help no matter what,” Jeff said. “Anytime I need help around my house, he’s there for a second opinion.”
“He is a great father,” added daughter Emily. “I was his shadow growing up. Where he went, I was underfoot. If we wanted out of trouble, he’s the one we went to.”
Marvin was going to work one more year at BASF, where he had been employed for almost 25 years, but opted to retire three years ago. Shannon’s cancer was diagnosed the week before and her first doctor’s visit was his first day of retirement.
Marvin, who had also worked at Westinghouse prior to that for 27 years, has been taking his daughter to her cancer treatments as much as he can.
He said he doesn’t belong to any organizations but noted that they have been attending Northside Community Fellowship on Spring Street in Greenville since it formed nearly six years ago with Pastor Randy Brown at the pulpit.
The church family, Marvin said, has been good to Shannon, who got to take her three children to Washington,D.C. on a recent trip so she could spend some time with them and eliminated another thing on her bucket list.
Marvin and his wife, the former Judy Baker, were good friends through school, having started first grade together, but didn’t start dating until after they graduated in 1964. They were married 48 years ago on Sept. 11.
“They were in Myrtle Beach on 911 when that happened,” said Shannon of her parents.
Judy, who retired from eye doctors Vallo and Fisher’s practice after 21 years of employment, said her husband has always been a sweet man.
“And, he can do the laundry…he can do it all,” she said. “He’s a very good help. I don’t have to tell him; he just does it. Jeff is a chip off the old block He takes care of his wife and boys. All the boys are replicas of him.”
Not only has Marvin and Judy supported their children; they’ve also attended many of the activities of their grandchildren.
“I”ve changed diapers, gave them baths…did it all,” Marvin said.
“They’ve been to all of the kids’ ballgames since Adam was 7,” said Shannon, who is taking a summer break from treatments. “Dad spoiled all the grandkids. He went to every sporting event he could. I couldn’t count on one hand how many times he’s missed over the years. We traveled all over, even Michigan, to watch Adam play. We always had good road trips.”
Even their trips to the doctor’s and hospital visits have had special meaning to Shannon.
“No one is around and we talk about anything,” she said. “You have that one special friend you can talk to and that’s Dad.”
All of their children work. Jeff is in the IS Department at Children’s Hospital; Shannon works at Crown Lift Trucks in Vandalia; and Emily works at the Hospice Care Center in Greenville.
“I’ve seen Shannon be bent over in the morning with pain and still go to work,” Marvin said. “She went to work everyday. She would say, ‘There are people worse than me.’ She keeps the family going.”
Where did he learn how to become a good father?
“I had a good mom and dad, Roy and Stella (Shellenbarger) Peters,” he said. “Dad was always hands-on. He was from the old school. Mom did the raising.”
Marvin is the third oldest child, with a sister, Carol Good, and two brothers, Larry and John.
“I know it’s my dad, but he is my best friend and he is amazing, loving and caring…such a selfless soul,” Shannon said. “He honors God and his family everyday. Happy early Fathers Day, Dad, and thank you for not just being our dad but our biggest supporter. Dad said it’s a team effort with Mom, and all of us couldn’t agree more. What awesome parents and role models for us all!”
“I didn’t do this on my own,” Marvin said. “Judy’s a great wife. When I was away [with Shannon], she was here for Breena fixing meals and keeping the house going. It’s a team effort. I love my family and do everything for them. God has blessed this bunch through cancer so much. It’s been no bed of roses. We have issues, but we work through them. He’ll keep us going through this. I wish back in the early years that I knew Christ like I know Him now. It has been instilled in us as adults. That’s when we found Christ and put Him in our lives. We all have accepted Christ through baptism, even the in-laws, except for grandchildren Adam and Nick. They’re believers; they will someday.”