(Nov. 28, 2005)
Warren (Rex) Marhenke, long-time Powell High School teacher (ret.), died Nov. 28 in Las Vegas, Nev. He was 85.
He was born June 7, 1920, in Republic County, Kans., near Chester, Nebr., to parents Carl and Wilma Marhenke. He was a Nebraska farm boy who dreamed of a better life and knew that an education would get him there.
He was the first person in his family to be educated, but his education was put on hold when he joined the Coast Guard during WWII to fight for his country. When the war was over, Rex received his BA degree in education from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
On Jan. 14, 1947, Rex married Joan Mary Davenport, the woman who was the love of his life and the mother of his six children. He would later tell his children and grandchildren that he had over a 50-year love affair with his wife.
After teaching and coaching in Kansas and Nebraska, Rex took his wife and five small children to Fort Collins, Colo., where he received a straight “A” MA degree in Physical Education. In 1956, Rex moved his family to Powell where he and his wife had a sixth child, raised their children, and both retired from their professional careers, he a teacher, and she an RN.
For nearly 50 years, Rex made his home in Powell. He never forgot any of his students and kept track of all of their accomplishments. He started teaching English in Powell, and later developed the reading program in the high school there. He was responsible for teaching many students to read their first novel, and he was very proud of that. His students were second only to his children.
After his retirement, Rex “did a little traveling,” from Alaska to Powell, to Texas, to Las Vegas, to Nebraska, to Oregon, and back again. In fact, a couple of months before he died, he made a 3,000 mile driving trip with his daughter from Alaska to Powell. And, a month later he went to Las Vegas to be with two of his sons. Rex was fortunate enough to meet all of his great-grandchildren over the course of the last year, and to spend a lot of time with his children and grandchildren. And, they were fortunate to have their father and grandfather with them in the last years of his life.
He leaves behind his children, Billie, Bob, Greg, Lyle, Steve and Bart, his many grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He would say, they are his greatest accomplishments. He is also survived by his sister June and her husband, Phil Gregory, who was also Rex's boyhood and lifelong friend.
Rex was preceded in death by his father, his mother, his brother Bill, and wife Joan in 2000.
The family had a small memorial service in Las Vegas for their dad and grandfather. His ashes will be buried next to those of his beloved wife Joan, in Hebron, Nebr. There will be a small service on April 1, 2006, which coincidentally, is Rex's wife's birthday. Rex and Joan were married in Hebron, Nebr., among family and friends, and they will be buried among those same family and friends.