Marvin Terrell will be missed by manyBy JASON PATTERSON,
Yazoo City said goodbye to a great man this week.
There were no empty seats at First United Methodist Church Monday during the funeral service for Mr. Marvin Terrell. Even the choir loft, where Terrell had the most powerful male voice for many years, was filled to capacity.
Terrell touched many lives in his 80 years on this earth.
There were teammates from his legendary playing days at Ole Miss present. There were former players he helped coach at Manchester Academy. And there were plenty of folks who didn’t get to know Terrell until after his athletic glory days were behind him.
Marvin Terrell’s athletic accomplishments are well-documented. Nearly 60 years after he played his last down at Ole Miss, he’s still considered one of the greatest linemen in the university’s history.
He was drafted by the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) after his All-American senior season at Ole Miss, and he continued to share his knowledge of the game with local young men for many years.
My son James is a big football fan, and he enjoys collecting football cards. He is particularly proud of his Fletcher Cox, Willie Brown and Ben Williams cards because they are from Yazoo City, and he has had the opportunity to meet them and have them sign his cards.
One day James was running down the list of Yazoo football greats that he was aware of when I told him that he needed to add Marvin Terrell to that list.
“Mr. Marvin from church?” he asked. James was having a hard time at first connecting the man who always greeted him with a smile and a kind word with the man described as greeting those unfortunate enough to have to line up across from him with lots of punishment.
“That’s him,” I assured him, and after a search online we were able to purchase a football card from when Terrell played for Dallas. One day after church James scrapped up enough nerve to ask Terrell to sign the card for him.
James was with me the last time I spoke to Mr. Marvin. We were leaving Manchester Academy’s last home football game, and we stopped to speak on the way out. James had gotten a good video of Mr. Marvin’s grandson, Hayes Bardwell, getting a crushing sack on the opposing quarterback, and we wanted to show it to him.
“That looks like you back in the day,” I said.
“That was a loooong time ago,” was his response.
It was a long time ago, and the fact that so many people still remember speaks to how truly remarkable Terrell’s athletic career really was.
But Marvin Terrell would have been considered a great man even if he had never accomplished all of those things on the football field.
What made him great was the Christian example he set and the kindness he showed everyone he encountered. He didn’t talk about it – he lived it. He was genuine.
Whether you ran into Mr. Marvin at a ballgame, at his regular table at Stub’s restuarant, on the golf course or anywhere else he always had a big smile and he always seemed like he was glad to see you. He always had something encouraging to say.
He loved people, especially his family. As I listened to his daughter Jana talk about her “gentle giant” Monday, I thought to myself that if I accomplished nothing more in life than having my children and my wife know that I loved them like that, I would be satisfied.
Marvin Terrell did much more. He was a great example for countless young people in this community, a leader in his church, and a man whose presence lifted up others around him.
He was one of a kind, and he will be missed very much in our community.