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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Dr. Marvin D. Combs, a 1959 graduate of Northwest, was an avid collector of antique cars and pickups while practicing medicince in Arizona and Albany, Mo. The Dr. Marvin D. Combs Memorial Scholarship was recently created in his honor.

Dr. Marvin D. Combs, a 1959 graduate of Northwest, was an avid collector of antique cars and pickups while practicing medicine in Arizona and Albany, Mo. The Dr. Marvin D. Combs Memorial Scholarship was recently created in his honor.

July 12, 2011

Scholarship honors alumnus who dedicated life to helping others

Marvin Combs, left, and his brother, William, right, are pictured side-by-side in Northwest's 1959 Tower yearbook. William created the Dr. Marvin D. Combs Memorial Scholarship in his brother's honor. (Tower)

Marvin Combs, left, and his brother, William, right, are pictured side-by-side in Northwest's 1959 Tower yearbook. William created the Dr. Marvin D. Combs Memorial Scholarship in his brother's honor. (Tower)

MARYVILLE, Mo. - A new scholarship endowed in honor of a 1959 graduate of Northwest Missouri State University will provide assistance to residents of Worth, Gentry, Harrison and Nodaway counties who seek a college education at Northwest.

In creating the Dr. Marvin D. Combs Memorial Scholarship, William L. Combs is honoring his older brother, who dedicated his life to practicing medicine and helping others. Dr. Combs, who died Dec. 5, 2009, at age 76, spent his career as a country doctor in the towns of Willcox, Ariz., and Albany. He was always on call, and residents knew they could reach him at home after office hours in case of emergencies.

"He contributed much to the welfare of the communities in which he lived," William Combs said. "It seemed that a permanent scholarship in his name at Northwest would be the most suitable memorial to his life and career and, at the same time, would help good students from the counties of Worth, Gentry, Harrison and Nodaway attain a college education and perhaps continue the tradition of contributing to others."

Born in Worth in 1933 as the second of six sons, Dr. Combs grew up on a farm near Worth during the Great Depression. Life there was not easy, but he realized the importance of an education and graduated from Grant City High School in 1951. He was drafted by the U.S. Army and served in Berlin, Germany, during the height of the Cold War.

Upon returning to the United States in 1955, Dr. Combs enrolled at Northwest and took classes to prepare himself for a career in the medical field.

"Marvin was four years older than me, but because of the time he worked after high school and his two years of military service, when he came back to start school at Northwest we were in the same class," William Combs said. "During those years we mostly lived in the same rooming house and attended many of the same general studies classes. Our class was the first to have the commencement ceremony in the yet uncompleted new (Lamkin) gymnasium."

After graduating from Northwest, Dr. Combs attended medical school at the University of Missouri, but withdrew after a year and raised money by working as a representative for pharmaceutical company Park Davis. Later, he enrolled at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience-College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he completed his doctorate in medicine.

Dr. Combs went on to establish a clinic in Willcox, Ariz., with a classmate and practiced successfully there for two decades while helping to modernize and improve medical care by working closely with a regional hospital. While many doctors were abandoning obstetrics because of rising insurance rates and increasing lawsuits resulting from birth defects, Dr. Combs continued. He also served as a coroner and was active in the Civil Air Patrol.

In 1983, to be closer to his family, Dr. Combs returned to northwest Missouri and started the Combs Clinic in Albany. After retiring in 2000, he and his wife, Vickey Dickerson, returned to Arizona. 

To contribute to the Dr. Marvin D. Combs Memorial Scholarship, contact the Northwest Foundation at 660.562.1248, or send contributions, which are tax deductible, to the Office of University Advancement, Northwest Missouri State University, 800 University Drive, Maryville, MO 64468.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468