Marvin Dean Gorham, age 57, of Dodge Center, Minn., passed away March 12, 2023, in his home, surrounded by loved ones. At the end of December 2022, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive type of cancer (metastatic sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung) that grows rapidly and spreads quickly. He fought a courageous battle.
Marvin was born on February 26, 1966, to Francis and Sonja Gorham, just six minutes before his twin sister Monica. He and his four siblings grew up on a small farm about a mile east of Mabel. He attended Mabel-Canton High School and graduated in 1984. He was a member of Hesper Lutheran Church where he was baptized and confirmed.
Marv started college at Mankato State University in 1985. Here he cultivated some of the best friendships of his life; relationships that grew and became stronger and more treasured with every passing year. Sometime after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology degree, he continued with graduate studies. Marvin put his sociology skills to good use by working many years with troubled youth through his employment at the VonWald Youth Shelter and the Many Rivers Juvenile Detention Center, both in Rochester, Minn.
Marv and Ka first met at a mutual friend’s party in 1995; neither showing much interest in the other. They saw each other again, through the same mutual friends, 12 years later. And this time, Ka found her soulmate and Marvin found the love of his life. He and Ka were married on a beautiful summer day beneath the trees and in the midst of the lovely blooms of his Pine Island home in 2010.
In time, Marv’s true calling led him to start his own business: Marvin’s Gardens Landscaping and Lawn Care. This career change enabled him to give free reign to his abundant creativity in a variety of ways. Not only did he build one-of-a-kind paver patios, water features, and garden paths, he also fashioned the most unique furniture, bird houses, cat trees, planters and other whimsical creations from recycled, reclaimed, and repurposed wood. Together, he and Ka put many hours into creating spaces within their yards that are so comfortable and inviting that friends and family find it difficult to leave. Marv loved to entertain and he and Ka hosted many legendary outdoor parties.
Marv constructed extraordinary tree houses for both of his sons and enjoyed getting Rhyse involved with building projects once he was older. Together they constructed what they affectionately called “the shack”; Rhyse’s own private man-cave complete with ham radio and a functioning wood stove. Rhyse remarks that some of his favorite times with his dad were when they worked on projects together, such as building that shack, cutting down trees for firewood, building furniture, and landscaping.
Marv was in awe of Westley’s innate musicality and creative artistry. His pride in his son’s burgeoning talents was evident and he was committed to nurturing these interests. Marv and Westley found they particularly enjoyed baking together. One of their specialties and personal favorites was caramel rolls. It was not difficult to see that Marvin found joy in spending time with his sons.
Marvin loved nature and longed to be outdoors. One of his passions was taking trips to the BWCA. He was always looking for a chance to go and many memorable trips were made with family members and friends. Fellow campers enjoyed his remarkable wit, good-natured sarcasm, quickness to laugh, and unbridled appreciation of a good pun.
He was preceded in death by his father Francis Gorham and his niece Elyse Gorham Pevensie.
He is survived by his wife Ka Yang Gorham, son Rhyse Jensen-Gorham, and son Westley Gorham. Also, by his mother Sonja Gorham, brother Darrell (Jennie) Gorham of Coon Rapids, Minn., sister Kathy Gorham Vatland of Stewartville, Minn., brother David (Laurie) Gorham of Ellensburg, Wash., sister, Monica (David) Erickson of Fountain, Minn., and a niece and several nephews.
Marv’s family would like to thank the incredible Mayo Clinic Oncology, Palliative and Hospice teams for taking such great care of Marv these last months.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life gathering on Friday, April 7. If you would like to attend, please contact a family member for details.
Jennifer Collazo says
Though we have never met Marvin, after reading his obituary we feel like we missed out on someone special. We would like to send our love to those who are feeling the pain of losing such a special person and remind you that out of everyone in this great big world- God chose you to be there and fulfill his time here. That’s pretty special! Peace be with you all, Jen And Steve Collazo
Rae and Audrey Henneman says
We were so sorry to hear of Marvin’s passing so suddenly. We had heard that he wouldn’t be working on the lawn care here in Conner circle. Marvin laid step for us and he did a wonderful job. We will miss seeing him around this summer. We are truly sorry for your loss and will keep you and your family in our prayers.
We are sorry for your loss and will be keeping you in our prayers.
Thank you for your kind words and keeping us in your prayers.