Nevilee Ruth Wagner Marburger was born April 26, 1925, at home near Carmine, Texas, to John and Clara Wagner. She was baptized on October 4, 1925, in Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine, by Pastor A. H. Falkenberg of Round Top, Texas. She was confirmed on Palm Sunday, in 1939, by Rev. H. Brunette. Her confirmation verse was Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
Nevilee attended La Grange High School, graduating in 1943. She attended Blinn College from 1943 to 1945, where she pitched for the women’s softball team, and she completed the final requirements for teaching in 1947, at Sam Houston State Teacher’s College. Nevilee taught 1 year at Swiss Alps and 1 year at Round Top Elementary School.
Nevilee met Clinton Marburger in 1942, at a Labor Day dance in La Bahia. They were married by Rev. Leo H. Simon at Nevilee’s family home on August 24, 1947. They began their life together in Port Arthur, Texas, where Clinton was employed at the Gulf Oil Refinery and Nevilee was a talented all-encompassing homemaker. Both Nevilee and Clinton were only children, so they each had family responsibilities to consider, and together they made an incredible team. They designed and built two of their homes there, the first in Port Arthur where they welcomed their first child, Mindy Rae, on 11/24, Thanksgiving Day in 1949. The final home was built in Groves, one story, on a slab, with an attached garage and workshop, designed uniquely with the picture window in the back to view the yard, garden, and large patio, and the high kitchen windows in the front, above the sink and stove, to keep watch while working. There the family grew. Randy Vance arrived on March 1st in 1953 (fortunately he missed 1952, a leap year with 2/29 on the calendar), and Wendy Kay was born on 11/8, Election Day in 1955.
Nevilee always maintained a large vegetable garden, canning the extra tomatoes, beans, and pickles. Flowers and shrubs always grew in the flower beds that surrounded the house. She produced full balanced meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there was always desert. We learned to cook, too.
A master seamstress, Nevilee was just as adept at making wedding gowns as she was at sewing tents that would attach to the VW bus that Clinton built out as a traveling camper. She sewed all our clothes and made dresses for both their mothers when any special occasion arose. She created square dance outfits for all of us, with rows and rows of rickrack on every tier of the full skirts for the girls, and she donated them 2 years ago, along with the petticoats, to a young group of square dancers that performed at the community center. She even made a Santa suit for Clinton that was used for years to add to the Christmas toy delivery excitement, and later that suit was stuffed to come out of a chimney on top the station wagon for parades. We learned to sew, too.
Hair was also under Nevilee’s management. She cut everyone’s hair in the family, as well as her own, both of their mother’s, and that of a friend or two. Perms were a requirement reserved for the females in the group. Sadly, like clockwork, Mindy and Wendy would be given perms just before school pictures.
A teacher by training, Nevilee was very involved in making sure her children developed certain life skills as youngsters. Trips to the public library to check out books to fill the allotted loan time was a regular activity. We all had swimming lessons, piano lessons, and learned to play dominos, cards, and board games. She was a participating leader in Blue Birds, Campfire Girls, and Cub Scouts. We fished, crabbed, and trawled for shrimp with the boat that Dad built; some of us learned and loved to ski. We all took individual dancing lessons and later learned to square dance and ballroom dance.
Nevilee was active in the Ladies Aid group at church and provided transportation when needed for her mother-in-law who did not drive. She saw that her children attended Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and coordinated the gathering of the out-of-town sponsors and their families in Port Arthur to participate in the Baptism and Confirmations of three children. Trips to the beach were often the unique activity offered to visitors to our part of the world. The smell of the refineries on those trips to and from the beach were also uniquely Port Arthur.
While their kids received a lot of attention, Clinton and Nevilee were also good about scheduling time for themselves. They loved to dance, and while they were active square dancers in Port Arthur, for years they drove 4 hours after work on Friday from Port Arthur to enjoy Saturday night country dances at the various area halls. This helped maintain relationships they continued when Clinton retired after 36 years with Gulf. Nevilee and Clinton returned to Burton in 1982, became full-time ranchers, and made the 1923 Wagner-Marburger homestead their own. They were active members of the Top Cat Dance Club in Brenham until Clinton’s death in 2006. They had been married for 59 years.
Games were also always a big part of their social life, in the private homes of friends. Nevilee enjoyed her bridge group in Port Arthur during the day, participated in evening couples’ groups for 42 dominos and various card games with Clinton, and connected through games with other ladies during the day at churches in the Brenham area. In Houston, she became active in the 42 Domino group at the Wirt Rd Community Center three days a week from 9am to noon until earlier this year. She was the oldest, one of the few females, and a beloved winner at her game. Before COVID-19, these days extended into the afternoon, when she played Canasta with a different group.
Nevilee cared for her own mother in Port Arthur when she could no longer be safely alone on the Burton farm. Nevilee’s move to Houston became permanent in April of 2010 after several medical crises in and out of hospitals and facilities that all began with a fall in the pasture in November 2008. It was hard for her to leave her garden, her grand pecan tree, and her cattle, particularly the old cows that she saw as pets. Additional time was spent in hospitals and nursing care facilities in Houston as she recovered, so Nevilee’s female stray pit bull, newly arrived at the farm, moved in with granddaughter Sarah, and “Trouble” bonded with Sarah and Dylan, Nevilee’s first greatgrandchild.
As Nevilee regained her strength, she wanted a lap dog and was able to rescue Thelma, a large chihuahua whose owner had died. Thelma, now 11 years old, became her soul mate over the past 8 years. When the move from Mindy’s home to Assisted Living became necessary on June 30th of this year, the separation from Thelma was the most difficult.
No longer able to predictably stand or walk, Nevilee’s other remaining pleasure was reading the Brenham Banner and materials from the Church. She contributed to the records of the Kieke, Eichler, and Noak reunions for many years with information gleaned from those papers. Her membership in the Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine was also very important, and she stayed connected through the mailings and the visits by Pastor Tinker. Her failing vision made that sedentary pleasure too difficult in her last weeks.
Nevilee handled so much physical decline in the past year with acceptance, including the last hospital discharge to Memory Care on August 25th, but on Nov 29th, when her lungs were no longer able to provide enough oxygen to survive without invasive interventions, it was not difficult to follow her wishes for comfort. She was admitted from the ER to an inpatient hospice suite in Houston, and with Sarah, Randy, Wendy, and Mindy at her bedside, and Laura, Doug, Chris, Taylor, and Pastor Tinker on the phone, we were each able to say our goodbyes. At the age of 97 ½ years, Nevilee died peacefully, shortly after midnight on Nov 30th. The burden of trying to make her increasingly difficult life better has been lifted, and it is hoped that she is dancing with Clinton and playing 42 with the many friends who have gone before.
Nevilee Wagner Marburger and Clinton had three children, Mindy Rae Lawrence, Randy Vance Marburger, and Wendy Kay Maltba.
Survivors include her three children, five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.
Children: Mindy Lawrence of Houston, TX; Randy Marburger and wife Cora Belle (Harrington) of Burton, TX; and Wendy and husband Michael Wayne Maltba of Orange, TX.
Grandchildren: Sarah Alexis Rae (Jeremy James) Odom; Laura Beth (Bryan Lane) Lee; Douglas Wayne (Stephanie Nicole) Marburger; Christopher Joseph (Danielle) Bodin; and Taylor Nicole (Joseph Brian) Delaney. Great-Grandchildren: Dylan James; Bronson Lane; Harlee Quinn; Walker Clinton & Austin Vance; Nixon Grey, Emryn Kay, and Aspen Sage.
Nevilee was preceded in death by her parents, John and Clara Wagner; her in-laws, Walter and Hilda Marburger; her husband, Clinton Walter Marburger; former son-in-law Edward Arnold “Buddy” Bodin; and son-in-law George Timothy Lawrence.
Pallbearers: Laura Lee, Bryan Lee; Sarah Odom, Jeremy Odom; Douglas Marburger, Stephanie Marburger; Christopher Bodin; Taylor Delaney.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the La Bahia Cemetery Association, designated funds at Martin Luther Lutheran Church of Carmine, or the charity of your choice.
Funeral Services for Nevilee Marburger will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at 11:00am at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine, TX with Pastor David Tinker officiating. Visitation/viewing will be at the church prior to the service, beginning at 9am. Following the committal at the La Bahia Cemetery pavilion, a luncheon reception will be held in the Fellowship Hall back at the church. All are invited. Those not going to the cemetery are invited to go the Fellowship Hall to wait until the family returns.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 West Main St, Brenham, TX 77833.