Joseph ‘Butch’ Marvel II, accomplished coach, educator

November 29, 2017

Joseph Burton "Butch" Marvel II of Georgetown passed away Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, following a short stay at Delaware Hospice in Milford.

Butch was first diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma in 2012, and was later found to have Merkel cell cancer. Doctors called him a "medical Marvel" because he so far exceeded his life expectancy. Butch was very grateful for the excellent care and unending compassion he received from doctors Peri, Thomas and Pisc, and the entire staff at Tunnell Cancer Center, as well as from his primary care physician Dr. Beshara Helou.

Butch was born Nov. 14, 1943, at Beebe Hospital in Lewes to Joseph Lewis "Joe B" Marvel and Myrtle Parker Marvel. He was later joined in life by his younger sister, Sue.

Butch was a lifelong athlete and sports fan. He played baseball, football and basketball at Georgetown High School, where he graduated in 1961. Butch attended the University of Delaware before transferring to Bridgewater College in Virginia, where he earned a degree in elementary education, played baseball, and was the starting quarterback for the football team for all four years. He then returned to Bridgewater and coached basketball and football while he earned credits to teach secondary education.

Butch served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1966-72. He then went on to teach English for over 30 years at Sussex Central High School, and later at Delaware Technical Community College.

Many in the community knew Butch as a coach at Georgetown and then Sussex Central High School, as well as briefly at Cape Henlopen High School, for the Georgetown Little League and later for his children's sports teams. He coached baseball, basketball and football for many years, including the State Champion 1969 Georgetown Senior Little League all-star team. He was also proud of his time as assistant coach to Ray Barkauski at SCHS, where they shared a number of successful seasons. He also served as a Rehoboth Beach lifeguard in the ‘60s and ‘70s, a time during which he made many friends and memories.

Butch married Holly Skidmore Marvel Feb. 23, 1980. They were married for 37 years and had three children: Shannon, Kelsey and Michael. All three married (to Corey McNaught, Cody White and Allison Vari Marvel, respectively) in the past year, and Kelsey welcomed Butch's first grandson, Rowan Joseph White, Nov. 16, 2017. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Reagan Mackenzie White, and four nephews: Eric and Joey Pepper (sons of sister Sue Pepper-Whapham) and Mark and Matthew Skidmore (sons of Mark and Renee Skidmore).

After his retirement, Butch continued to exercise avidly, first at Quest Fitness in Lewes and then at Flex World Fitness in Georgetown, where he made many friends and gained many admirers. He loved spin classes and bicycling outdoors with his wife. He continued exercising long after his diagnosis, sometimes going to the gym just after receiving chemotherapy.

Above all, Butch was a family man. He loved to brag on his wife, children and relatives whenever given the chance. In retirement, he relished performing various tasks and errands for his wife and children, British mystery television series, Jon Stewart's Daily Show, Harlan Coben books and fantasy sports leagues with his ragtag bunch of Sussex County friends. He read multiple newspapers and completed multiple crosswords daily.

Visitation will be held Sunday, Dec. 3, from noon to 2 p.m., at Short Funeral Services, 609 E. Market St., Georgetown, followed by a brief service and a private burial. At 3:30 p.m., all are welcome and encouraged to join family and friends at the Georgetown Fire Hall for a celebration of Butch's life.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Bridgewater College at, Tunnell Cancer Center at or Delaware Hospice at

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