Marvin E. Proffer was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on February 3, 1931. Growing up in southeast Missouri, Proffer attended Cape Girardeau public schools before graduating from Cape Central High School in 1949. Receiving a football scholarship for his athletic achievements in high school, he opted to attend Southeast Missouri State College (now Southeast Missouri State University). After graduating with his bachelor's degree in 1953, he enrolled at the University of Missouri-Columbia and earned a master's in education in 1954. He served in the US Army from 1954 to 1955.
Moving back to Cape Girardeau County to handle his family's business interests, Proffer quickly became involved in civic affairs in Jackson. At the age of twenty-four, he was elected to the Jackson Board of Aldermen. After being defeated in his initial campaign for election to the state legislature in 1960, Proffer ran again and won a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives in 1962. He served in that body from 1963 until his retirement in 1988 and was Chairman of the House Budget Committee for eight years of his tenure. Upon his retirement, Proffer moved to Oakville, Missouri, and worked for several years as a lobbyist for Southeast Missouri State University.
The opinions expressed in this audio recording are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and values of the State Historical Society of Missouri.