Marlin Eater, 93, of Mt. Vernon, passed away peacefully at 4:30 p.m.. on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at Mt. Vernon Health Care Center in Mt. Vernon. His kind and generous spirit will be missed.
He was born Tuesday, Feb. 10, 1920, to James Jonas and Mary Jane (Pace) Eater. He was the grandson of John W. and Mary Eliza (Piper) Eater and William H. and Cassie Anna (Harvey) Pace. On May 17, 1943, he married Nelda Draege in New York. Their wedding pictures were featured in Life Magazine with a sequel on their 10th anniversary. She preceded him in death on Oct. 8, 2007.
Funeral services were held 1 p.m. Monday at Hughey Funeral Home in Mt. Vernon with the Rev. Alan Smith officiating. Interment was at Old Shiloh Cemetery in Jefferson County where he had served for many years. Members Mt. Vernon American Legion Post 141 conducted a flag presentation at the cemetery.
Visitation was held from noon until the time of services at 1 p.m. on Monday at Hughey Funeral Home in Mt. Vernon.
Surviving family members include two daughters, Janice Cherry and husband John and Becky Irvin and husband Roger, all of Mt. Vernon; grandchildren, Jadie Thomas and husband David of Brentwood, Tenn., Ryan Irvin and wife Nicole of Bartlett, Tenn., and Todd Irvin of Pontoon Beach; step grandchildren, Matt Cherry and wife Kristen and Rhonda Vessell and husband Jerry, all of Brentwood, Tenn.; great-grandchildren, Torin Eliza and Parker Marlin Thomas, Savannah Vessell, Dalton and Kayce Irvin, and Sabrina Cherry, all of Brentwood, Tenn.; a brother, Arthur Eater and wife Bonnadine of Willow Springs, N.C.; a sister-in-law, Bernice Breeze and a brother-in-law, Bob Draege, both of Mt. Vernon; and several nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his parents; wife, Nelda Mae (Draege) Eater; sister, Mildred Eater; brothers and sisters-in-law, Keith and Gertie Eater and Olen and Edith Eater; sister-in-law Jean Draege; brother-in-Law, Verne Breeze; and step grandson, Rodney Irvin.
Charles Marlin Eater graduated from Mt. Vernon Township High School in 1939 and later in life took classes from Rend Lake College and Southern Illinois University. He served in the United States Army’s 4th Infantry Division during World War II from January 1942 to September 1945. He was a staff sergeant with Headquarters Unit, landing before dawn on D-Day in Normandy, France. He earned a Presidential Citation for helping secure Utah Beach. He was wounded 30 days later on the front lines of battle, awarded a Purple Heart, and sent to England for recovery. He then returned to serving in Germany in the Battle of the Bulge (also known as the Ardennes Offensive) with the 4th Infantry Division receiving a Bronze Star, two Oak Leaf Clusters for service beyond the call of duty, and a Combat Infantry Badge. He was also present in the liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich, Germany. At the end of World War II Marlin returned to Mt. Vernon, bought a farm, worked nights in the oil fields and farmed during the day. He retired in 1982.
He had a special talent in art and received many awards and recognitions for his work in oil painting. Several of his paintings were juried and displayed at the Southern Illinois Art and Artisans Center and shipped across the United States.
He was an active member of New Hope Baptist Church where he had served as a deacon, Sunday school superintendent, song leader and teacher from 1955 until failing health. He and Nelda were awarded the Dedicated and Outstanding Service Award by New Hope Church.
For those who wish, memorials may be given to the Old Shiloh Cemetery and will be accepted at the funeral home or may be mailed to Hughey Funeral Home, P.O. Box 721, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864.