LIVE STREAM SERVICE
Friday, July 3, 2020
10:00 AM EDT
The service at the funeral home is by invitation only. However, friends and extended family may join online at this link.
Friday, July 3, 2020
11:30 AM EDT
1015 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
As family and friends can attest, Dr. Harry J. Marshall, Jr. truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was known for his strong work ethic and patriotic spirit, and these were companions throughout his entire life. He had the gift of letting everyone around him know how important they were to him. He defended his country and was a hero to his family. Though he went through his share of hardships, with his fighting spirit, he never let circumstances get him down. Dearly loved, Harry will be forever missed.
The 1950s were a time of change for America. We were transitioning into a peaceful country with the end of World War II, rationing was a thing of the past, and the baby boom was underway. New and exciting changes were also coming to the lives of Harry and Mae (Lafond) Marshall of Kalamazoo, Michigan, as they eagerly awaited the arrival of their new baby. Finally, on October 6, 1947, their wait was over and they welcomed their son Harry into their family.
As a child, Harry was able to begin building a solid foundation that would serve him well for his entire life. He grew up as an only child in the family home on Kalamazoo’s East Side. The neighborhood was very close, and Harry formed lifelong relationships with many of the neighboring kids. He enjoyed being active, especially playing baseball. Harry’s father was a short order cook while his mother worked in a paper mill. Though he lost both of his parents in his teenage years, Harry carried their lessons of hard work and love that formed the base for his life. As a student, Harry attended Roosevelt Grade School and later graduated from Kalamazoo Central in 1965.
With his strong character and his willingness to work, Harry enlisted in the Navy shortly after high school. He considered it a safe place to grow since he no longer had his parents to guide him. Harry was very proud of his service and being a Vietnam veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy on a destroyer, the USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717). He held this experience very dear for the opportunities it afforded him educationally and to travel the world. He especially loved being noted as a shellback, who was a person who went over the equator on a ship. After being honorably discharged, Harry purchased a blue Camaro and took to the road to see the country for himself. He let his hair grow out from its military cut and simply enjoyed life for what it was.
New opportunities were on the horizon for Harry upon his return home to Kalamazoo. He enrolled in Kalamazoo Valley Community College, where he met Teresa Burke. They courted for a short time and married on January 8, 1972. Though the marriage ended in divorce, Harry was forever grateful for the children they shared, Erin and Jesse.
Of all the things that were important to Dr. Marshall, his family was his highest priority and his greatest joy. He was a supportive father and loved spending time with his kids. He and Erin often took bus rides on Saturday mornings and frequented their favorite spot, the Goodie Shop, for their delicious chocolate malts. Harry was also very protective and not afraid to discipline his two kids. He taught his children many valuable lessons, including respect and appreciation for diversity and uniqueness. Harry was very involved in his children’s lives and enjoyed helping to coach their baseball and softball teams. He was president of the Portage Northern Baseball Boosters and vice president of the West Portage Little League. He also took these positions as an opportunity to positively influence his community. Harry was also a long time season ticket holder for Michigan State football, spending many Saturday afternoons at Spartan Stadium.
Harry was motivated to be as educated as possible and received his bachelor’s, master's, and finally in 1996, his Doctor in Education in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University. His caring and sympathetic nature made him a natural psychologist. Dr. Marshall worked for the Van Buren County DSS and Coldwater Psychiatric Hospital. He also started his own private practice. He considered being a counseling psychologist to be his calling in life. He cared for and respected each patient and treated them as individuals. Harry had a gift for listening, and he was sought out by any friend, relative, or patient who needed to talk. He never judged anyone and instead helped them work through their obstacles.
It was while he was working at Coldwater Regional Psychiatric Hospital that Harry met Linda Myers. The two were good friends for years before getting married on June 27, 2009 in Marshall, Michigan.
Harry had several hobbies to fill his free time. As a huge Detroit Tigers fan, he loved to go to the ballpark for a game and then to one of his favorite restaurants in Greektown such as Hellas Café or Pegasus. Harry was also an enthusiastic coin collector. He continued the collection that was started by his father, and the collection will be passed on to his son, Jesse, so the story continues. Harry was quite involved in politics. He ran for county commissioner and the city council. Though he was never elected, he was a firm believer in the democratic process. Together, Harry and Linda enjoyed traveling, experiencing the arts, and watching live theatre. He was an avid music fan, and his tastes spanned anything from musicals to attending live concerts by famous artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and Elton John. Family traditions were also very important to Harry, and he loved to fuss over birthdays and other major family moments. He spent time in the kitchen and was especially skilled at making pies. He was also a strong supporter of the Democratic Party, NAACP, and the VFW.
In 2010, Harry’s health struggles caused him to receive his first liver transplant. Unfortunately, complications forced him to receive a second transplant only eleven months later, but he was always thankful for the extra time that the transplants allowed him to spend with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Harry treasured life’s little moments, and he never let an opportunity to smile pass him by. Even through his health struggles Harry was sure to attend his grandkid’s activities. Whether it be their plays, performances, or sporting events, he never failed to show his love and support.
All who knew Dr. Harry J. Marshall, Jr. would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. His positive attitude was a blessing and inspiration to those around him, and he was the perfect model of perseverance and strength. Harry embraced life and savored every minute. He was approachable and friendly; a stranger to none and a friend to all. Though he will be deeply missed, Harry leaves behind a legacy that his loved ones will carry on proudly in his footsteps.
On Sunday, June 28, 2020, Dr. Harry J. Marshall Jr., loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away at the age of 72. Harry loved God, his wife and family, politics and sports – most notably Michigan State Spartans sports and Detroit Tigers baseball. Surviving members of his family include his wife, Linda Myers, his two children: Erin (Marshall) Owens of South Lyon, and Jesse Marshall of Kalamazoo; and his two grandchildren: Alexa and Andrew Owens. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Mae (Lafond) Marshall and Harry Marshall Sr. Please visit Harry’s personal webpage where you may archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Private Services will be at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A graveside service will be held at 11:30 on Friday, July 3 at Riverside Cemetery, in Kalamazoo. Memorial Contributions be made in Harry’s honor to American Cancer Society or NAACP.