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updated: 6/24/2014 11:06 PM

Bike-riding newspaper carrier dies at 90

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  • Marvin Teel rode his antique Schwinn bicycle five days a week to deliver newspapers in downstate Christopher.

      Marvin Teel rode his antique Schwinn bicycle five days a week to deliver newspapers in downstate Christopher.
    Associated Press/July 2013

  • Marvin Teel delivers the Benton Evening News during his paper route in downstate Christopher.

      Marvin Teel delivers the Benton Evening News during his paper route in downstate Christopher.
    Associated Press/July 2013

 
Associated Press

CHRISTOPHER, Ill. -- A 90-year-old World War II veteran who rode his antique Schwinn bicycle five days a week to deliver newspapers in his southern Illinois town has died.

Marvin Teel of Christopher died Saturday, two weeks after the great-grandfather was admitted to the hospital only after he insisted on finishing his delivery of 40 newspapers on his three-mile Benton Evening News route that day, the (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reported.

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"He was feeling sick and we wanted to take him to the emergency room, but he wouldn't go until he got the newspapers delivered. So even the day he went into the hospital, he delivered," Sherry Bullock of Du Quoin said of her brother, who would have turned 91 next month. "He had a real work ethic. He believed if you said you were going to do something, you did it."

Teel, a Southern Illinois University alumnus who studied physics, chemistry and math, briefly worked after college as a Christopher High School teacher and Sangamo Co. chemist. He later did television repair and antenna work for decades, scaling 100-foot antennas well into his 80s. He also was a rural mail carrier for 45 years.

"He felt the more active you were, the more alert you stayed," Bullock said.

Teel told the Southern last year that his five-day-a-week route earned him the title of "World's Oldest Paperboy," given that his closest competitor, a 93-year-old California man, delivered the news only once a week.

Teel's survivors include his wife of 70 years, Marilyn, four children, seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and a sister.

Teel's funeral will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Greenwood United Methodist Church near Mulkeytown.

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