Marion Luther Reh – 1996 Inductee

Marion Luther Reh was a community leader.  He was born March 6, 1918, to Todd and Rhoda (Snapp) Reh on a farm southwest of Natoma, Kansas.  The family later moved to a farm northeast of Natoma where he attended Round Mound rural school.  They were poor and Marion learned about hard work at an early age.  He started working out at age fourteen, helping neighboring ranchers and farmers.  His working helped contribute to the family.

When Marion was eighteen, he took a job working for Bus Harbaugh, who had a grocery store and meat market in Natoma.  Bus taught him how to butcher and cut meat.  Later he worked for Harl Richmond at Richmond’s Store, taking care of the meat locker plant.  In 1946 he and his brother Bill built a slaughter house at the east edge of Natoma.  In 1948 they added a locker plant.  Marion continued to work at the meat processing until 1978 when he sold his share to Bill.  Marion was very much interested in the community.  He helped organize the first Labor Day Celebration in 1938 and helped each year thereafter.  He was a cubmaster when his sons were in Cub Scouts; later he was a 4-H leader.  He was awarded a plaque by the high school FFA Chapter for helping their judging team.  In 1960 he went to an auction school in Kansas City, Missouri.  He was an auctioneer for many years, serving the area.  He served on the Natoma City Council for several terms, a total of 23 years in all.  Later he became Mayor, giving of his service for twelve years.

Marion always liked horses.  He was known for taking kids for rides.  Whenever they saw him riding, they knew he’d take them for a ride.  He knew how to win their friendship and love, and most of them knew him as “Uncle” Marion.  He became “family” active in the Kansas Western Horseman’s Association (KWHA).  He served as a board member, was vice president, then he served one term as president for that association.  He became a respected KWHA judge, fulfilling that job for twenty-five years.  He was a very competitive rider and earned many trophies riding his quarter horse stallion.  He was awarded “Judge of the Year” by contestant votes two out of the three years that this award was given.  He helped organize several saddle clubs in the area and announced at many nearby shows.  One of the reasons he was a favorite horse show judge was that he always took time to walk out and explain to the young people why he hadn’t placed them and what they could do to improve.  Many parents thanked him because their children listened and did try to improve.  He had a way that kids related to; they listened.

Marion was very instrumental in making the old Welling Theater into a community center.  He spent many hours laboring on the remodeling of the building.  He was happy and anxious for Natoma to have the Center.  He was never too busy to help.  After snowstorms, he was at many driveways on his tractor, clearing the snow.  He was especially thoughtful of people living alone.  In the springtime plowing gardens–not for pay but just out of goodness, he was there.  He really cared about people, his community and his God.  Marion married Roberta Hoskins in 1940 and they had three sons:  Marion Lee, Gary, and Dennis.  Marion died March 18, 1993, and was buried in the Natoma Cemetery.

Marion Reh was a man who seldom met anyone he didn’t like.

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