SHELBY - Leo "Marvel" Wastweet, 89, formerly of Shelby and well known for his band called "The Bald Spots," died of natural causes at a Shelby Care Center on Saturday, July 24, 2004.
A celebration of his life will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Shelby. Burial will take place at a later date at Sell Lake Church in Shevlin, Minn.
Marvel was born in Bagley, Minn., in 1915 to John and Emelia Wastweet. He attended school in Itasca Township in Mallard, Minn., through eighth grade, and worked on the family farm in his young years. His brother taught him to box at a young age, and he had a good swing. He learned to play guitar at a very young age, and played music for a burlesque show while traveling throughout the United States. Marvel attended Civilian Conservation Corps in Nevis, Minn., in 1937-1939, sailing the Great Lakes working on ore boats.
In 1940, he married Ellen Felt. They were both baptized, confirmed, and married at Sell Lake Church in Shevlin, Minn. He worked in a family restaurant, sold insurance, operated the Silver Dollar Club in Walker, Minn., and drove tankers. In 1951, they moved to Montana and settled in Shelby, where Marv and Ellen remained until their ill health in 2001, when they moved to Havre be with their daughter Mavis.
Ellen died in December 2001 in Havre. In April 2002, Marv had a stroke, which limited the use of his right hand and ended the musical chapter of his life, as well as his love for pool. He continued to live in Havre with his daughter, until moving to the Marias Care Center in Shelby in June of 2004.
Marv made a living as a salesman, but was best known as an enthusiastic musician, playing guitar and singing as the leader of "The Bald Spots" band. He often played as a one-man band. He played largely in Havre, Great Falls, Shelby, Cut Bank and Conrad, but during 40 years of playing, was known to play all corners of the state. He was very recently coined "the chordmaster," and had a unique guitar-playing style.
Besides his music, Marv loved to play horseshoes, cribbage, pool and poker. He was a member of St. Luke's and Sell Lake Lutheran Churches and an active Eagle member until his illness. Marv was proud of his full-blood Norwegian heritage, and actually enjoyed lutefisk. His sense of humor was one of his strongest and most loved assets.
Survivors include his daughter, Mavis Filler of Havre; grandchildren, Pamela (Bob) West of Havre; Christine (Tom) Lambert of Great Falls; Jim (Brenda) Fenger, Brenda (Duane) Bauer, and Darrin Fenger, all of Kalispell; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Marv was preceded in death by his wife, Ellen in 2001; daughter and son-in-law, Marlene and Delmar Fenger in 1990; infant daughter, Roberta; parents; and brothers, Harry, Elmer, Ray, Clifford and Dillard.
Memorials in Marvel's honor may be made to Bear Paw Hospice of Havre, Peace Hospice of Great Falls, North Central Senior Citizens Center of Havre, senior center in Shelby; St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Shelby or Sell Lake Free Lutheran Church of Shevlin, Minn.