Marvin Curtis Jans, the only child of Harry and Erma (Schmillen) Jans was born August 10, 1934 in Remsen Iowa. He attended school in Spencer IA, graduating in 1953. After graduation he worked with his father on the family farm east of Fostoria. Marvin took over the operation of the farm upon Harry’s retirement and continued to have a cow/calf and row crop operation. He was always looking to improve his herd genetics with the use of artificial insemination and believed in the care of the soil as he ridge tilled for many years. After retirement, he would still go to the farm to help out when needed and would often drive by either by car or electric bicycle in his later years to see how the crops looked.
Marvin married Norma Lee Schnider on May 23, 1954 in Everly IA. They lived on the family farm after their marriage until he retired, moving to their current residence in Fostoria. He and Norma began spending winters in warmer climates in their later years, mostly in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
He became interested and involved with motorcycles as a teenager, owning and riding many motorcycles over the years – both dirt and street versions. Harley-Davidsons, Indians, Yamahas, and Hondas – he rode them all. He participated in ice races on the Iowa Great Lakes in the winter and hill climbs in various locations during the summer. He and Norma took several long distance motorcycle trips during the early years of their marriage. He also became an avid snowmobiler.
Marv loved vacationing in the Black Hills – in the summer taking the family camping and dirt biking on logging roads and trails during Sturgis week, attending the “Days of ‘76” festivities in Deadwood and spending at least 1 day in Sturgis. The kids knew they had to finish walking beans before they could leave! Marv was very proud of the fact that he attended the Sturgis rally for 50 consecutive years. He also enjoyed delving into the history of the Black Hills – especially finding and exploring some of the old mining sites and stamp mills. They were often joined by some of their good friends and their families - a good time was usually had by all! Marv and Norma would go back out and go snowmobiling on many of the same roads and trails in the winter, again joined by family and some good friends.
He took up electric bicycling in his 80’s, and was often seen pedaling around Fostoria or riding out to the farm on nicer days. He hauled them to and from Texas so he could ride year around. His goal was to ride at least 10 miles every day unless the weather prevented it. He wore out 1 bike and was well on his way to wearing out the 2nd when he passed as he totaled over 22,000 miles on them.
He was the Clay County Civil Defense director for many years, was an Amateur Radio (HAM) operator (call sign WAOKXB) and a trained severe weather spotter. He also worked security at several locations throughout his life - including the original Roof Garden in Arnolds Park, Stylecraft Industries in Milford, and for 50 years at the Clay County Fair including a stint as night captain.
Marvin passed away peacefully in his sleep at their winter home in Donna TX on December 1, 2023. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Norma, along with 4 children – Jennifer (Rick) Steuben, Jeff (Jane) Jans, John (Cheri) Jans, and Jayne (Kim) Kroger; 9 grandchildren – Ryan (Lynnea) Steuben, Stephanie (Tim) Power, Matt (Carla) Jans, Sarah (Dan) Andresen, Jessica Jans, Paige (Ben Mathews) Jans, Dallen (Cassandra) Kroger, Keith Kroger, Kassandra (Conor) Fahy; and 10 great grandchildren as well as other relatives and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and infant great grandson Emmanuel Steuben.
*In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Fostoria Fire & Rescue or Clay County Fair Foundation.