Marvin P. Lahr
MIDDLETOWN - Marvin P. Lahr,

89, of Squantum Drive, Middletown, RI died Wednesday December 29, 2010 at Newport Hospital, Newport, RI.
He was the husband of the late Lorraine (Alexander) Lahr.
Born in Des Plaines, IL on April 2, 1921, he was the son of the late August F. and Velma (Wengert) Lahr.
Mr. Lahr’s forbearers arrived in New York City from Germany via Antwerp Belgium on the American Bark “Garland” on October 10, 1851. From Brooklyn, NY the family moved to Sandwich, IL, where his great-grandfather Adam Wengert built houses and started farming. Family history indicates that Adam Wengert offered a reward to anyone who could find a hammer mark in the millwork of a house he built. In 1870, the family moved to State Center, Iowa traveling in a covered wagon pulled by oxen. Tradition says that Adam and his son walked the entire distance, as oxen must be led and not driven. The family endured hardship upon immigration, with the loss of two children in Brooklyn, NY to a smallpox epidemic, and being wiped out by grasshoppers on their farm. Mr. Lahr’s mother and father later settled into a farm in the small town of Lamoille, Iowa.
Mr. Lahr grew up in a farmhouse with no electricity, running water, central heat, or indoor plumbing. He rose each morning at 4 a.m. to help his father and brother with the morning farm chores, which included feeding the cows, chickens and hogs, and helping his father August harness the Belgian draft horses that pulled the farm machinery. He and his brother Bob rode their horse “Red” rain, shine or snow to a one-room schoolhouse each day. Red spent the day relaxing in the little barn behind the schoolhouse with a bag of oats. After school, Mr. Lahr worked at a neighbor’s dairy farm milking cows to earn extra money for the family. He then went home on “Red” to finish the evening chores at his own family farm. Mr. Lahr developed a strong work ethic at an early age on the family farm.
In his high school years, Mr. Lahr went on to become valedictorian of his graduating class. He regularly played in high school basketball and baseball leagues. He often played baseball with Iowa Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher Bob Feller (Bullet Bob). Bob Feller credited his arm strength and ball speed to milking cows, picking corn, and baling hay on the family farm in Van Meter, Iowa. Feller recalled his childhood fondly: "What kid wouldn't enjoy the life I led in Iowa? Baseball and farming, and I had the best of both worlds. "The Feller family's farm is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Upon graduation from High School, Mr. Lahr was given the offer of full tuition for college if he agreed to become a minister, which he politely declined. In 1938 the Iowa farm boy enlisted in the Navy and found himself aboard the light cruiser USS Trenton (CL-11) bound for Guam, Manilla, China, Pearl Harbor, the Straits of Gibraltar, Lisbon Portugal, Ville Franche, France and Rotterdam, Holland. Mr. Lahr described his WWII experiences on the Trenton as “My magic carpet to the world, having traveled tens of thousands of miles visiting 17 countries and various island groups.” In 1940 the Trenton transported the Royal Family out of Luxembourg, in exile to the United States.
In 1942, Mr. Lahr later served aboard the USS Richmond, operating out of the Pacific side of the Panama Canal Zone. The Richmond escorted convoys to Bora Bora, Tonga, and provided anti-aircraft gun cover until fighter aircraft could be made operational. The ship patrolled the Galapagos Islands, down to the west coast of South America to Cape Horn, with a stop in Caloa, Peru. The Richmond arrived at Dutch Harbor, Alaska in January 1942, along with the heavy cruiser Salt Lake City, and the destroyers Bailey, Dale and Monaghan (classified at the time as hazardous and undesirable duty).
The group of ships formed a Task Force operating in the region of Kiska, Attu, Agatu, and Amchitka Islands. Japanese aircraft harassed the ships when weather allowed. Mr. Lahr recalled, “They would dive out of the overcast and unload their bombs. During the daylight hours, we stood anti-aircraft watches. We could never seem to keep our clothing dry; our battle stations were exposed to freezing salt spray. The unsung heroes were the mess attendants, who supplied the watch stations with coffee. Never before or since has a cup of hot coffee tasted so good. I experienced some heavy storms before I got to the Aleutians, but I must admit that the waves that built up there were the most frightening I had ever seen.” He took part in the Battle of Coral Sea, and the Battle of the Komandor Skies.
Mr. Lahr next served on the submarine USS Pintado, keel laid down by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine May 7, 1943. The Pintado arrived in Newport, RI for torpedo trials in February 17, 1944. The Pintado and her sister “Wolfpack Ships” patrolled Saipan, and the East China Sea, effectively weakening Japan’s defensive capability in the Marianas. With few shipboard comforts, duty on WWII submarines was one of the most statistically deadly, physically demanding and emotionally challenging assignments for those serving in the US Navy. War patrols were so exhausting, that submarine sailors were often given a month of rest after each 30 to 60 day patrol. Mr. Lahr took part in the decommissioning of the Pintado in 1946. He served in the United States Naval Reserves from 1948-1950, in the United States Coast Guard from 1950-1953, and in the United States Coast Guard Reserves from 1953-1955.
Mr. Lahr married Lorraine Alexander in 1959. The couple settled in Middletown, RI in 1963. For thirty years, Mr. Lahr worked at the Naval Underwater Systems Center (NUSC), in Newport Rhode Island as an electronics Technician with the Combat Control Systems Dept. and the Shipborne Equipment Engineering Dept. Known to his co-workers as “Red Lahr”, he received numerous commendations and awards during his career. Mr. Lahr traveled the globe with NUSC, and often took his family along for truly memorable vacations in the Caribbean, Peru and Hawaii.
Upon retirement, Mr. Lahr enjoyed spending time with his family, working on his house and yard, and writing letters to the Editor of the Newport Daily News. He also traveled to Japan and China.
In later years, up to the age of 88, Mr. Lahr was actively involved in the support and daily care of his wife when she became seriously ill. He was a “Quiet Hero” in times of real trouble. At 89, he remodeled the inside of his house, seeing to every detail. At one point, when Mr. Lahr was offered a very fancy watch by his family he simply stated “Thank you very much, I have a watch that I like, and it’s working just fine”.
He is survived by his son Ron Lahr of Omak, Washington, by his two daughters Eden A. Lahr and Lisa L. Lahr both of Middletown, by Robert Fleming his nephew of Norco, California, by his sister Sharon Antes of Mesa, AZ and by his aunt Grace Robinson age 103, of Shell Rock, Iowa.
Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, January 4, 2011, from 4-7 p.m. in the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI.
His funeral will be held on Wednesday, January 5, 2011, at 10 a.m. in the funeral home.
Burial with military honors will be held in Trinity Cemetery, East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI.
Donations, in his memory, may be made to the Robert Potter League for Animals, P.O. Box 412, Newport, RI 02840.
Condolences, information and directions are available at www.memorialfunerlahome.com

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