Marvin Albin Acree Jr., 93, of Franklin, completed his life race Thursday, April 23, 2020 in Nashville. He ran the race well while being one of the most positive persons one could ever know.
Mr. Acree was born in Farmville of Gordon County, Georgia on Jan. 10, 1927. Marvin was one of 14 children, nine boys and one girl that lived to adulthood. (He always said they had a baseball team of boys and each had a sister, but it was the same sister).
Mr. Acree graduated from Sonoraville High School, attended West Georgia College (from which he was drafted), graduated from Emory University and completed his Master’s Degree at Georgia State University. The first trip he took without family was at 18 years of age to Germany. He cherished memories of Munich and Garmisch, Germany as well as Switzerland and Denmark.
He married the love of his life, Retta on September 9, 1950. They were married 62 years. He taught chemistry, physics, biology and environmental science for almost 40 years. He taught at Sonoraville, Gordon, and retired from Southwest DeKalb High School in 1989. In addition to teaching, he used his powerful hands to help support his family. He had a train shop in the basement that helped pay his children’s way through college as well as serve as a place for life lessons for children, grandchildren, and friends who were privileged to spend time there. When not in the basement, he was in his beautiful garden that helped fill his love of farming and provide further lessons. He painted many houses during his summers away from school. He knew he could make more money at other careers, but teaching was his gift to share and money meant nothing to him except to supply his family’s needs.
Marvin felt his greatest strength was having an even-tempered disposition, trying not to get too excited about anything. This strength was based on his great faith developed throughout his life. He also had an incredible sense of humor even enjoying laughing at his own jokes.
He was determined his children would travel. He said his favorite trip was camping to California and back. His journeys also took him to Hawaii, Alaska, New York City, London, and to San Francisco and Yellowstone with his children after Retta died. Even in his 90s, he was willing to fly alone if it enabled him to visit family.
He was a churchman extraordinaire. He served as a deacon, Sunday School teacher and director, youth sponsor, mission trip cook, narrator of Senior Adult musicals, and did anything possible to support his church and pastor’s family. He served and was loved by churches wherever he lived in Georgia and Tennessee. He was a man of faith that talked to God, learned constantly, and gave generously.
Preceding him in death were his father, Dr. Marvin A. Acree, Sr. and his mother, Webbie Penelope (Hudgins) Acree, his wife, Georgia Henrietta (Retta) Mowell Acree, his son, Marvin A. Acree, III, all of his siblings and some nephews and nieces. Surviving are his daughter, Beverly Blakely (Raymond), Angela Mills (Robert), and son, Glenn Acree (Kim). He believed these children were wonderful describing each as his favorite their size. They were surpassed by his grandchildren, B.G. Blakely (Tricia), Ashley Collette (Adam), Carly Duggan (Tim); John Mills (Shereen Katrak), Stephen Mills (Emily), Jeremy Acree, and Sam Acree. Beyond perfect are his great grandchildren, Jackson, Cason and Sadie Blakely, Rhea and Eila Collette, little Duggan due in August; Leila Mills, Anya Katrak, Maddy and August Mills. He loved his entire family and is survived by many nieces and nephews. He made all who knew him feel loved and appreciated.
With the death of his siblings, Mr. Acree served as the patriarch of his nuclear and extended family, not through stereotypical ways of power and control, but by demonstrating a love of life and others that everyone who met him immediately recognized. Scores of people who had the privilege of knowing him will be affected by him for decades to come.
Due to the pandemic, memorial services will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be sent to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. https://www.choa.org/donors-and-volunteers/ways-to-give