Marvin L. Gallup was born Dec. 28, 1948 in San Francisco, the first child of Army Col. Sam and Nita Gallup. By 1964, he was the oldest of seven children, had lived in two foreign countries and seven states, and never went to the same school two years in a row. Already fiercely independent, at 15 he asked to stay with his Hoeffel cousins in Napoleon, Ohio, for his junior and senior years so he could at least know his graduation classmates. He starred in their production of “The Fantasticks,” songs from which he sang for the rest of his life.
He briefly attended Texas A&M University, got drafted and served as a radio man in his unit in Vietnam. When his tours of duty ended, he enrolled in Kent State University’s aviation program because the only thing he’d ever wanted to be was a pilot.
After graduating from Kent State in 1974, he got a dream job as a private pilot flying for a wealthy European family. For three years, he gladly lived out of a suitcase, flying all over Europe and seeing its beauty from the sky then walking its cities and absorbing the cultures. He started buying things that caught his eye; not “art” in the traditional sense, but a neat mask from one place, a carving from another, compiling items that, whenever he did settle down, would make his home interesting, meaningful and memorable.
Whenever he would get back to the states to visit, it was as if the prodigal son was returning. He finally moved back stateside in 1978, and briefly lived in Toledo, Ohio. Then his second dream job materialized: corporate pilot for Diamond Shamrock, based out of Dallas. Once he became a Texan, he never moved out of the state again.
His first home in Dallas on Midway Road was full of the interesting items he’d picked up on his travels, and full of plants. He’d inherited a green thumb from both his father and his grandmother, and with each successive move in Dallas, his plant collection grew. So did the greenhouse; at his second home on St. Francis, the geodesic dome greenhouse was erected every winter and taken down every summer. By the move to his final house on Brookshire, the greenhouse became a permanent structure. It housed countless orchids, staghorn ferns, bromeliads, Buddha’s bellies and boasted a customized watering system and humidity control. There was nothing he couldn’t grow.
He wasn’t alone in these wonderful houses. In 1983, he met Bud Jordan, a software consultant then with Datapoint International. Both of their jobs required a lot of travel, but the homes they made together had the best kitchens (both were great cooks), interesting things to look at from all over the world (Bud picked up things on his travels as well; you could be in the house for two days and still never see all the neat things, or see anything twice) and the best dogs (Trot, Fritz, Amos, Andy, and Adam.)
Marvin got to see most of the world, either while traveling for work or on vacations with Bud. In fact, Bud once asked him where he wanted to go, and he said, “Take me somewhere I’ve never been.” That list was not a very long one, but yielded the first of eight trips to New Zealand. He loved to travel within the US; Bozeman, Mont., was a favorite place to return to again and again.
Cook extraordinaire, spontaneous dancer, lovely tenor singer, handyman, host, photographer, life partner, daddy to his dogs, brother, friend. He was many things to many people, but to all who truly knew him, he is very sorely missed and was very much loved.
Surviving Marvin is his partner of 27 years, Bud Jordan; his siblings, Lou, Tom, Bill, Chris and Larry and their spouses; and several very close friends. A small memorial reception was held by those dear friends in Marvin’s honor on Sunday, June 13. If you would like to make a donation to honor Marvin, please do so to Central Texas Dachshund Rescue, via their website at www.cdtr.org. Please go to the “In Memory of” section, and make your tax-deductible donation there. The mailing address is 7301 RR 620 N., Ste. 155 #136, Austin, TX 78726.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 9, 2010.