Marvin M. Pumphrey, a retired farmer and excavator who was a prolific vegetable gardener, died of colon cancer Tuesday at his home in Glen Burnie. He was 85.
Mr. Pumphrey was born in Hanover and grew up on his family's large truck farm there, where vegetables were grown on several hundred acres. He graduated from Glen Burnie High School and worked on the farm until the late 1950s, when his family sold it.
Mr. Pumphrey married Dorothy Tacka in 1946. Even after the family farm closed, Mr. Pumphrey continued growing vegetables in the yard at his home in Ferndale. He grew peas, lettuce, onions, squash and zucchini -- but his specialty was tomatoes.
"He learned to find the kind of tomatoes that would grow in soil that had not been pressed or rotated like on a farm," said his son, Pete Pumphrey of Pittsburgh. "He sort of experimented, and tomatoes became his thing."
Mr. Pumphrey never sold his vegetables, instead giving them away to neighbors and relatives.
He also worked for 35 years as an excavator for construction companies, including William Harting & Sons of Lansdowne.
Mr. Pumphrey belonged to the Kiwanis Club and the Elks Lodge and was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels for more than 15 years. He also participated in the annual Ferndale Days festivities, handing out hot dogs and sodas to the children who marched in the parade.
Services were held Friday at Singleton Funeral Home in Glen Burnie.
In addition to his son and wife, Mr. Pumphrey is survived two sisters, Peggy Lambdin of Glen Burnie and Eutha Persun of Boston; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.