Marvin Gene Bays

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Marvin Gene Bays

November 02, 1933 - November 18, 2018

Marvin Gene Bays Marvin Gene Bays, 85, U.S. Marine and Vibroseis engineer, died November 18, 2018 in Stillwater.

Marvin was born November 2, 1933 in Stillwater, the third child of Myrtle (Stagner) and Willfred Bays, who lived on a farm northwest of town. When he graduated from Stillwater High School in 1951, the Korean War was already a year old; after a semester of college, Marvin enlisted in the Marine Corps. Assigned to the 3rd battalion, 5th Marines, First Marine Division, he participated in the defense of Seoul along the Reno-Vegas-Carson Main Line of Resistance. In mid-1953 Sergeant Bays returned to Camp Pendleton to become a marksmanship instructor.

In 1955 Marvin returned to Stillwater and enrolled at Oklahoma A&M, where he began work on a degree in design and drafting. In 1956 he married Jo Anne Geller and the couple soon moved to Ponca City, where Marvin began work at Conoco while commuting to Stillwater to pursue a mechanical engineering degree. During their 11 years in Ponca City, Marvin and Jo Anne had three children: Joe, Peggy, and Brad. Marvin enjoyed playing league volleyball and softball and coaching Joe in youth baseball during these years.

Marvin became involved in the development of Conoco's Vibroseis program, which developed technologies that revolutionized petroleum exploration. With a knack for troubleshooting equipment problems in the field, he began to be sent to isolated places around the world wherever the oil and gas industry was prospecting. In 1968, Marvin took a position with Seiscom Delta and relocated the family to Jackson, Mississippi. With a career that kept him overseas more often than not, he and Jo Anne divorced in 1970, just before Seiscom transferred him to Houston, where he worked during the early 1970s.

Marvin moved to Dallas in the mid-1970s to work for a division of Texas Instruments before returning to Ponca City in 1978 to become manager of engineering and marketing for Mertz, Inc. His time at Mertz, which coincided with the early 1980s oil boom, was the highlight of his career. He led Mertz to become a major manufacturer of Vibroseis vehicles, and his M18/612 Universal SEV proved to be a major contribution to oil exploration technology.

In Ponca City, Marvin met Cindy (Case) Tatum, who he married in 1980. The marriage also gave him two young stepsons, Matt and Dallas Tatum. Over the next 23 years, Marvin and Cindy developed many lasting friendships in Ponca City. They excelled at league sports, Cindy at bowling and both Marvin and Cindy at doubles tennis. During the 1990s, as he transitioned into retirement, Marvin especially enjoyed time with Matt on the golf course.

In 2003, Marvin and Cindy relocated to Stillwater so they could more easily attend OSU sporting events. Marvin's post-retirement job, driving an OSU Transit bus, brought him three enjoyable years of getting to know OSU students.

Marvin was predeceased by his parents, his sister, Maxine, and a granddaughter, Laine Alison Bays. He is survived by wife Cindy Bays of Stillwater, son Joe Bays of Boerne, Texas, daughter Peggy Bays Rowe of Bayou Vista, Texas, son Brad Bays and wife Sharon of Stillwater, stepson Matt Tatum and wife Dara of Edmond, stepson Dallas Tatum of Fort Walton, Florida, sister Carolyn Hubble and husband Dave, of Castle Rock, Colorado, brother Glen Bays and wife Betty, of Stillwater, and two half-brothers, Steven Bays and Harold Bays of Stillwater. Marvin is survived by eleven grandchildren: Jake Bays of Fort Drum, New York; Lydia Bays Dixon of Lewisville, Texas; Parker and Samuel Rowe of Winterhaven, Florida; Erin Rowe of Dallas, Texas; Dalton Tatum of Edmond; Luke Bays of Stillwater; Braden, Briar, Judah, and Moses Bays of Boerne, Texas; and one great-grandchild, Graham Bays Dixon of Lewisville, Texas. Marvin is also survived by his many beloved Bays cousins in and around Stillwater.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Friday December 7th in the chapel at Golden Oaks assisted living center in Stillwater. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the American Cancer Society and/or Companion Hospice of Guthrie.
Published on November 27, 2018
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