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Virgil Marple

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  • Virgil Marple

    Virgil had a wonderful collection including many of the molds used for the Avanti. The 232 engine block we (Salt-2-Salt) used to make the 182 cubic inch V8 that set records at Bonneville and Wilmington came from a ‘53 Coupe he had saved. Several members of the North Star chapter probably have some good stories about Virgil. He was quite a guy.


    Marple, Virgil Alan age 78, of Independence, MN, entered heaven on December 24, 2017, to celebrate Christmas with His Lord Jesus Christ. He was born on August 16, 1939, to Laurence and Opal (Lacey) Marple, on the family farm in Wendell, MN. Virgil attended country school and elementary school in Wendell, MN, and graduated from high school at Elbow Lake, MN in 1957. Virgil attended the University of Minne-sota graduating with distinction in 1962 with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1965 he received his Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California. In 1970 Virgil received his Ph.D degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. From 1962 -1965 he worked in the aerospace industry at Aeronutronic, a division of Ford Motor Company in Newport Beach, CA. From 1965-1967 Virgil was employed at Fluidyne Engineering in Golden Valley, MN. Virgil was a Mechanical Engineering professor at the University of Minnesota for 41 years, the director of the Engineering Co-op Program for 25 years, and a founding faculty advisor for the Solar Vehicle Project. Virgil focused his research in the field of particle technology and aerosol science, for which he received numerous awards. As an extension of this research Virgil became co-owner of MSP Corp, and owner of Elpram Systems, Inc. and Compotech Systems, Inc. His many patents for impactors and associated devices are still widely in use in the semi-conductor, mining, and pharmaceutical industries. On June 15, 1962, Virgil and Theresa Koep were united in marriage in Elbow Lake, MN. Virgil's faith and family were an integral part of his life, and nothing could light up his face more brightly than hearing the laughter and chatter of his five granddaughters. His quiet faith was manifested in his generous heart. He had much compassion and concern for the poor where he, Theresa and Wendy visited Flores de Ville, a community built of cardboard homes on a garbage dump in Lima, Peru. He saw his compassionate nature come to light in his ability to make many Peruvians live a better lifestyle with their homes, better education, and better health care. In doing so he created lifelong friendships with these dear people. Virgil lived on his Independence, MN farm for 40 years where he continued his love of farming, provided a home to innumerable rescue kitties, and pursued his passion for antique and rare vehicles - especially Studebakers. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Theresa (Koep), 3 daughters, Jill Rivard (Curt), Holly Gnitka (Steve), Wendy Marple, and 5 granddaughters, Catherine Rivard (fiancé Daniel Graul), Hannah Rivard, Sarah Nicholas (Brandon), Leah Gnitka, Elisabeth Gnitka, and trusted colleague and friend, Trever Nye. Brother, Stanley Marple (Bea), sister-in-law, Alice Marple, brother- in-law, Wesley Koep, sister-in-law, Shirley Koep. Virgil was preceded in death by his parents, Laurence and Opal Marple, brother, LeRoy Marple, sister and brother-in-law, Lucille and Ken Sundet, sister-in-law, Ruth Marple, sister-in-law, Ruby Koep. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 2:00 PM, with visitation one hour prior, at Buffalo Covenant Church, 1601 Highway 25 North, Buffalo, MN 55313. Burial at Lawrence Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Wendell, MN. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Peruvian Partners, PO Box 735, Delano, MN 55328. The Peterson Chapel Buffalo 763-682-1363thepetersonchapel.com

  • #2
    I doubt that I ever met him. It sounds like he was a very interesting guy and we would have had a lot in common that we could have talked about. His story points up the vast diversity in Studebaker people. It is hard to see obituaries for people younger than I, but there seems to be more all the time. I offer my condolences to his family.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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    • #3
      I'm really sorry to read this. I never met Virgil, but he purchased my '53 Studillac about 2 years ago and was a great guy to deal with.

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      • #4
        Sorry to hear of his passing. Virgil accomplished a lot in his life, including a fine collection of automobiles.
        I am thankful that Bob Reining (Bob40) put together a tour of Virgil's collection for the North Star Chapter of the SDC last year. My condolences to his friends and family.
        sigpic
        In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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        • #5
          Met Virgil maybe 15 years ago when he purchased a vehicle from me. That story is a funny one but can be shared at another time.
          Vigil lived about 4 miles from me so there were many days when I spent time talking to him and seeing his new purchases.
          Along with Matt Brunette's Studillac he also bought another semi documented Studillac and was in the process of restoring several significant one off Studebakers.
          That being said,he was one of the most affable,down to earth men I have met.Always had a smile,treated everyone the same and was a true car enthusiast. Studebakers primarily but anything unique fascinated him as his collection showed.
          He told me about how he ended up with 4 door and convertible Avanti's which is another interesting story.
          I will miss Virgil.
          One regret.I never did take any pictures of his collection.Perhaps one of the Chapter members did.
          Brent,did you?
          It would be nice to share those with the Forum.
          Mono mind in a stereo world

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          • #6
            Here is a link to the photos I have from the visit to Virgil's farm. Let me know if the link doesn't work.
            https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...Y0b29pWnhYVlZR
            sigpic
            In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the pictures. That is quite a collection. I see four complete and two partial 1990 Avanti sedans. There are also the non-Studebakers like the AMX and the Marlin.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                Very sorry to hear of Virgil's passing. Condolences to his wife, Theresa & family, and close friends.

                I had the privilege of meeting him and his wife in person at the 1994 International Meet in Minneapolis where he was present with his black 1990 Avanti four door sedan. I also had the opportunity to view his collection after the International Meet in 2007.

                Craig

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                • #9
                  We're sorry to hear this. Virgil was a remarkable man; our best and prayers to his family.

                  I met Virgil when he came to Hastings Nebraska to purchase a very special Studebaker. It was advertised in the June 2012 issue of TW (page 51) as a "1961 Designer Proposal J/K-body". It was featured earlier in a TW article in October 2001. that car had the roof from a '58 President hardtop, fins like those of a '56 Golden Hawk, and a front end design similar to a '58 Packard Hawk. Under the hood was a supercharged '57 Golden Hawk engine, as I recall. A good friend of mine was the second owner many years ago.

                  When I saw it, the car was a good restoration project. 'Wonder if it's still in his collection?

                  George
                  george krem

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                  • #10
                    The car is still in the collection,George.
                    I brought a '58 hardtop roof home for him that he bought from Tom K at the 2012 International.
                    Mono mind in a stereo world

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                    • #11
                      Interesting; thanks, Bob.

                      George
                      george krem

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bob40 View Post
                        The car is still in the collection,George.
                        I brought a '58 hardtop roof home for him that he bought from Tom K at the 2012 International.
                        Is someone going to continue maintaining the collection?

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                        • #13
                          No. The sell off has started.I will be posting in the main area about it.
                          Mono mind in a stereo world

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Milaca View Post
                            Here is a link to the photos I have from the visit to Virgil's farm. Let me know if the link doesn't work.
                            https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...Y0b29pWnhYVlZR
                            Thanks so much for posting the pictures! Virgil had an awesome collection!!

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