Marvin Deerhake was born in 1930 on a farm near New Knoxville, Ohio, and grew up in the First Evangelical and Reformed Church. He graduated from high school in 1949 where he participated in FFA, chorus, band and basketball.
In 1953 he graduated from Mission House College (now known as Lakeland College) near Sheboygan, Wisconsin; there he participated in Zeta Chi Fraternity, Socratic Society, Christian Fellowship, College A Cappela Choir, and the college basketball team. He graduated from Mission House Theological Seminary in 1956, and was ordained in June of that same year in the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
Rev. Deerhake first served as Associate Pastor at Zion Evangelical and Reformed in Lodi, California. He then served for six years as Pastor of St. Stephen’s UCC in Juneau, Wisconsin. In 1963 he accepted a call from Grace UCC, Ft. Wayne, building a new educational facility and operating a pre-school program of nearly a hundred students there. He was active in the conference camping program directing Mid-High Camp, and served as chairperson of the Association Church and Ministries Committee. He was instrumental in starting two new churches in that city, served as President of the Ft. Wayne’s Ministerial Association and was on the Board of the Ft. Wayne Children’s Home, which not only ministered to disturbed youth but also unwed mothers. He also represented the Ft. Wayne area on the United Church (retirement) Homes Board of Directors.
In November of 1978, Rev. Deerhake accepted a call to Bethel UCC, Freelandville, beginning his ministry on March 1, 1979. He challenged the members to deepen their commitment to Jesus Christ by increasing their giving of time, talent and treasure. The congregation responded by holding a Mission Festival week-end each year, and in 1983, due to local needs, the congregation was instrumental in beginning the North Knox Social Ministries, and then starting in 1984 sent volunteers (in February for two weeks) to Americas, Georgia, to work on Habitat for Humanity projects (1984 18 men, 1985 — 25 men and women, etc.); some later also participated in Jimmy Carter’s yearly building blitzes. In response to the Indiana Kentucky Conference camping program’s call in 1982, Rev. Deerhake developed Adult Mission Study Tours which he led for 11 years, including tours not only in the United States but also to Japan, Taiwan, and Germany. He was also active on various Association and Conference Committees, twice serving as delegate to General Synod. During his tenure at Bethel Church, he baptized 88 children and 16 youth and adults, confirmed 58 young people, performed 64 marriages, received 61 adults into membership, and conducted 90 funerals. Since Rev. Deerhake’s semi-retirement in 1986, he has served Indiana churches as Interim Pastor seven times from six months to two years each.
Rev. Deerhake and his wife, Mary, who was also a graduate of Mission House College, were married June 29, 1952. They have three daughters, Elizabeth, Laura and Brenda (a member of Bethel Church) and two grandsons. They currently live at Pine Bluffs near Freelandville.