Vincent Harding Maring

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Vincent Harding Maring, age 88, died in his sleep with a family member at his side on Friday, Jan. 30, 2009, at Nevada Regional Medical Center following a brief illness. He was born Jan. 18, 1921, in Nevada, the son of Tommy Maring and Verda Ruth Myers. He was reared by Elmer Guy Ater and Verda, both of Nevada. Vince married Christabel Lou Huston on April 9, 1948, and she survives of Nevada.

Vincent Maring attended school in Nevada under his stepfather's name of Ater. However, as he was never formally adopted by his stepfather, he adopted Maring as his last name when joining the service and in his marriage to Christabel. Vincent was reared on a farm west of Nevada and lettered in golf during high school. He worked as a caddy at the Nevada Country Club as a youngster earning money for his school clothes and supplementing the income of his mother.

Upon graduating from Nevada High School in 1940, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and worked in Iowa. After leaving the CCC, he worked several odd jobs until May 27, 1942, when he and his buddy, Chester Barrett, joined the Marine Corps.

Vincent and Chester Barrett had intended to join the Army Air Corps. However, the Air Corps had filled its quota for the month so they walked down the street and joined the Marines instead. Vincent didn't think they would accept him since he stood only 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 121 pounds. He was mistaken and was sworn into the Marines in St. Louis, Mo.

He went to boot camp in San Diego, Calif., then on to Whidbey Island, San Francisco, Calif., and finally Camp Pendleton, Calif., to complete his training. He went back to San Francisco as a replacement for Marines already serving the Pacific and was sent aboard ship to New Caledonia and then to Australia where he joined the First Marine Division which had just come off Guadalcanal after it was secured by the Army. The First Marine Division was formed in Quantico, Va., during World War II and made the first assault on Guadalcanal, the first enemy island ever held.

The first assault that Vince participated in was Cape Gloucester, more commonly known as New Guinea. It rained the entire time they were there. He went through at least five or six days without any food before finally finding insect infested rice the Japanese had left behind.

The next landing his Division made was on Peleliu Island, where his Battalion suffered huge casualties on their way up Bloody Nose Ridge, where the Second Battalion Seventh Marines were already in place. It was at Bloody Nose Ridge where Vincent was shot in the arm by a Japanese sniper.

Vincent spent almost a year recovering from his wound; first aboard a hospital ship in New Caledonia and later at military hospitals in Oakland, Calif., and Norman, Okla. Vince was awarded a Purple Heart and several other medals for his war time service.

On May 24, 1945, he was discharged in Norman, Okla., and hitchhiked back home to Nevada to begin his civilian life once again. For a short time he worked on the Santa Fe Railroad, in Needles, Calif., which he found way too hot for his taste. He then returned to Nevada and worked for the Moss Motor Company and for Singer Sewing Machines.

While Vince was working at Singer, he patronized the bowling alley on East Cherry where Christabel Huston, who would be a 1947 graduate of Nevada High School, worked at the snack bar. In spite of her mother's concerns about her daughter dating an older man, they married in April 1948.

Vincent began working at Farm & Home Savings on March 1, 1949, eventually becoming an Assistant Vice President until his retirement in 1980. Vince served as president of the Nevada Chapter of the American Savings and Loan Institute from June 1966 through June of 1968.

Vincent was an avid golfer, enthusiastic quail hunter, and a die-hard fisherman. In his later years, Vince took up woodworking in the shop at the back of his garage. He made lots of doll furniture for the Cabbage Patch dolls that Christabel collected. He also made quilt racks, miniature tables, and various other pieces and bells for the Methodist Church choir.

Vince was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1993 and given only six months to live. However, he survived for almost 15 more years, including once weekly trips to Joplin for five and a half years for chemotherapy treatments.

Vince once said that he came out of the war with nothing but his body and his dog tags, as his possessions never caught up with him, but he and his wife built a very comfortable life from that humble start.

Vince will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m., on Thursday, Feb. 5, at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, with the Rev. Ralph Clark officiating. Interment will be held at 1:30 p.m., Thursday at Fort Scott National Cemetery, Fort Scott, Kan., with United States Marine Corps Military Honors. Friends may call now and until the hour of service and the family receives friends from 10-11 a.m., prior to the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial contributions may be made in Vincent's name to the Vernon County Senior Center or to the Nevada Methodist Church in care of Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada.

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