James Ronald “Jim” Marshall, age 76, of Baltimore, died October 11, 2017, at Pickering House. He was born March 8, 1941, in Logan, to the late Earl and Eileen (Wright) Marshall, the youngest of four children. At age 2, his family moved to Columbus, where his father was a conductor for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
In his early years, he attended Seibert Elementary School, then Barrett Junior High School. In 1956, he started at South High School where he was a stand-out athlete in track, baseball, and basketball. While at South, he was named All-City in track and basketball. He was team captain of the basketball team his senior year. He graduated from South in 1959. After high school, he chose to postpone college while he worked and played in several independent basketball leagues.
In 1964, Coach Art Lanham persuaded Jim to come to Rio Grande College to play basketball for him. He played at Rio Grande for a year and a half before leaving school to join the Marine Corps in spring 1966 (he had drawn a low lottery number and wanted his choice of military services – Marines over the Army).
Just before he left for basic training, Jim was playing basketball for Bliss College (Columbus) when they played Otterbein College of Commerce. That game resulted in the highest scoring game in a single game of regulation length in college history (207-88); Jim scored 87 of those points. The team and Jim were recognized in the 1973 Guinness Book of World Records.
Once Jim reported for active duty, he did his basic training at San Diego Recruit Depot, then on to Camp Pendleton (CA) where he began his training as a radio operator. His duty station was Camp LeJeune (NC) where he continued his training. In the fall of 1966, he was sent to Okinawa for pre-stage training before being shipped to Vietnam; he was assigned to Kilo Battery, 4th Battalion, 13th Marines. He served as a radio operator until May 25, 1967, when the foxhole he was in was hit by a rocket. He sustained a severe head wound; this happened at Con-Thien, Quand Tri Province (1000 meters below the DMZ). He was air lifted to a medical aid station, stabilized, then flown to Philadelphia Naval Hospital where he spent nine months. Jim received the Purple Heart medal which was pinned on his pillow by Gen. William Westmoreland. Once he was able to leave the hospital, he began escorting bodies of Marines who had died in service to their country back to their families.
In September, 1968, Jim returned to Rio Grande to finish his education and play basketball once again for Coach Lanham. Due to his severe hearing loss as a result of the head injury, he was unable to complete his degree and left school in May, 1970. On Nov. 15, 1975, Jim was inducted into the Rio Grande Athletic Hall of Fame.
Still wanting to serve his county, Jim joined the 684th Army National Guard in 1974. This unit is a Medical Company Clearing in Westerville. He retired in 1986 as a First Sergeant. He also received the National Guard Meritorious Service Medal.
He was later employed as a building manager with the Columbus Police Department and as a district manager with Denny’s. He was an avid golfer, scoring three holes in one.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 47 years, Joan (Lenhart) Marshall, whom he met at Rio Grande; daughter, Kimberly (Scott) Shepherd; son, James Roy (Aimee) Marshall; grandson, Kenny Marshall; brother, Ken (Linda) Marshall; sister, Marilyn Davis; sisters-in-law, Lois Marshall and Peggy Lenhart; brother-in-law, Bob (Suzi) Lenhart; dear friend, Darren Morehart; and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by brother, Earl Marshall; and brothers-in-law, Charles Lenhart and Bill Davis.
Funeral service was held October 16, 2017, at the Dwayne R. Spence Funeral Home, Canal Winchester with Frank Bullock officiating. Interment with military honors followed at Floral Hills Memory Gardens.
Friends who wish may contribute to FairHoPe Hospice, 282 Sells Road, Lancaster, OH 43130 or University of Rio Grande Athletic Department, Office of Institutional Advancement, PO Box 500, Rio Grande, OH 45674 in Jim’s memory.