Marvin Richard Grandalen

Marvin Richard Grandalen

Feb. 11, 1936 – Jan. 20, 2021

Marvin Richard Grandalen, loving husband, father, grandfather and best friend, passed away surrounded by his family on January 20, 2021, at his home in Cowley. 

Marvin was born on February 11, 1936, to Bennie Sr. and Bertha (Erickson) Grandalen in Portland, N.D.

Marv grew up living on a farm outside of Portland with his parents, three brothers and one sister. As a young boy he had to work and help out on the family farm. He learned to drive a vehicle before he was old enough to drive, learned to drive a tractor and do all kinds of chores on the farm. He always had farming in his blood, even until the time that he passed away. He was taught how to work hard at a very young age, and he passed that on to his own children. 

Marv loved to tell stories about growing up in North Dakota, how they spent countless hours in the fields working and the cold winters there. He shared many stories of snow storms in North Dakota and not being able to see the barn from their home because it was blowing and snowing so hard.

Marv attended school in Portland. He always talked about his sister-in-law being one of his teachers and, of course, what an angel he always was. He always had a smile on his face when he was telling the story. 

After he graduated from school Marv married Eleanor Thompson, and to that union were born four daughters and one son. To provide for his family Marv pursued employment in the farming industry in North Dakota, but after several years of farming Marv and Eleanor decided it was time to go a different direction. 

He and his family moved to South Dakota to work in the construction industry. There is a story of Marv working to build a dam in South Dakota, running a heavy piece of equipment. The grade was so steep that no one wanted to do the job, but it did not stop him. He knew that he could do it, and he completed the job. 

Marv later had an opportunity to move to Wyoming for employment, so in 1969 Marv, Eleanor and family moved to Cowley. Marv pursued a career in the bentonite industry working for others. In 1978 the opportunity came for him to start his own construction company, and that was the beginning of G K Construction. 

Marv was always an entrepreneur at heart and looked forward to a challenge and was willing to go the extra mile to do whatever he had to do to get the job done. He was nominated and received the Trailblazer Award from Lovell Inc. at the Lovell Chamber of Commerce banquet in March of 2011 and was honored at the banquet and received a plaque in his honor. He had a great love for business and was a very smart businessman. 

Marv has been very instrumental in the role he played with the way that bentonite is mined. Many of his leading innovations are still being used and will continue to be used in the mining industry. His philosophy for business was simple. Work hard and keep your customers happy by helping them get the best product possible. 

Marv, Eleanor and family loved being in Wyoming and living in Cowley. In September of 1980 Eleanor passed away. 

In June 1981 Marv married Ginny Steed, and she instantly gained five children and he gained two stepdaughters. 

After Marv’s retirement in 2001 he and Ginny purchased a home in Mesquite, Nev., and a home in Terrace Lakes, Idaho, where they enjoyed playing golf, four-wheeling and lots of visiting with family and friends. In 2009 they decided to return to Cowley, a place they always called home. They both loved to be home in Cowley, where they could spend time with their children and grandchildren. 

In November of 2014 Ginny passed away, and Marv has missed her greatly through the last several years. Marv loved to have family gatherings, always enjoyed visiting and good food together, loved going to the mountains, had a passion for tractors, trucks, all kinds of equipment and pretty much anything with wheels. Ginny was always surprised on what vehicle he had purchased for her to drive. She never knew if he was trading one or keeping it. Marv always had a nickname for most all of his grandchildren, and everyone was always his pal. 

He loved to help his neighbors by plowing their snow, grading gravel and tinkering around with his machinery that he kept at home. No one was a stranger to Marv. He loved to visit with everyone. He was a great mentor, teacher and friend and was kind to everyone. Marv loved his family and would consider that to be his biggest accomplishment. 

One of his daughters referred to a song entitled “I Did It My Way,” and all who knew Marv knew that he did it his way. Marv has created a great legacy and will be greatly missed by all his family, friends and all who knew, loved and cared for him. 

Marv is survived by his children Cindi (Leon) Dobrzynski of Austin, Texas, Peggy (Chuck) Wittick of Cody, Jaye Grandalen of Cowley, Rick (Lori) Grandalen of Cowley, and Kristi (John) Schneider of Lovell; stepdaughters Wendy Thompson of Ogden, Utah, and Terri Johnson of Pocatello, Idaho; brother Bennie (Patty) Grandalen of Portland, N.D.; sister Burnette Domier of Minneapolis; and 19 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

Marv was preceded in death by his wife Eleanor Grandalen, wife Ginny Grandalen, parents Bennie Sr. and Bertha Grandalen, brothers Art Grandalen and Orville Grandalen and grandsons Joshua Cribbs and Tyler Grandalen. 

Funeral services were held on January 25 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lovell at 1 p.m. Burial was in the Lovell Cemetery.