Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Florida hero: John Arthur Marshall ... by gimleteye

It was an honor to know John Marshall, who founded the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation in Palm Beach County with his wife, Nancy.

John, a retired career military officer, created a second career working on behalf of the Everglades named for his uncle, Art Marshall; one of the scientists who, in the 50's and 60's, pointed out the threat to the state economy and quality of life through the partition of the Everglades that served subdivisions and especially Big Sugar. As such, John provided a connection to an earlier generation of Florida environmental leaders.

The struggles that absorbed John Marshall's time and energy are front and center today: the need to buy land in sugarcane production adequate to the purpose of storing and cleansing polluted stormwater runoff from Lake Okeechobee and eventually to filter clean, fresh water at the right time of the season into the remnant Everglades. John's advocacy for "Plan 6" to fix Everglades restoration simply carries back to what leaders understood to be true back in the 1950's and 1960's: that the key to fixing Florida is restoring connectivity between Lake Okeechobee, through Big Sugar lands, to the Everglades.

I will always remember John for his commitment, dedication and perseverance in the cause of restored water flow between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. He never surrendered hope that future generations would be able to experience the Everglades as one of God’s great creations. He rejected the soft corruption of low expectations that is rampant — not only in state agencies and managers like the SFWMD governing board but also in the mainstream environmental movement.

John Marshall believed that governmental processes -- like public hearings, working groups, and the formal trappings of give-and-take -- would eventually persuade even a majority to agree that buying out Big Sugar lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area offered the only realistic chance to reform Florida's mismanagement of fresh water resources. That is the same hope so many Floridians carry today.

John Marshall's life of action for the Everglades followed a grand American tradition of non-violent protest, exemplified by other heroes, and an example to us all.

From Pete Quasius:

John Arthur Marshall Bio May 9, 1940 – March 28, 2016

Passionate, knowledgeable and proud describe John Arthur Marshall. The long-time patriot, gator fan and environmentalist was known and respected throughout the country as a trusted colleague, true friend, humanitarian, devoted husband, step-father, uncle and a nemesis to those who did not support his commitment to preserving the environment!

John Marshall founded the Florida Environmental Institute and the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation in 1998. The foundation was created to continue the work of his uncle Arthur R. Marshall, renowned environmentalist and namesake of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Proudly, this refuge is only one of twelve refuges in the United States named after a person. John and wife Nancy, as co-founders of the organization, devoted themselves to fulfilling Arthur Marshall’s dream and were actively involved on a daily basis for 17 years as chairman and president respectively.

After his uncle passed, John Marshall knew that he would dedicate his life to the preservation and restoration of the Florida Everglades and its eco-system. He was responsible for planting thousands of trees at the refuge and other bio-sensitive areas, and delivering science-based education and public outreach programs to educate children throughout Palm Beach County to become stewards of the environment.

His commitment to the environment included chairing the Environmental Action Committee for the South Florida Water Management District; he was a member of the Everglades Coalition, a spokesman for the Florida Environmental Institute and a vice president of the Friends of the Refuge.
John was named 2001 "Conservationist of the Year" by the Audubon Society of the Everglades and the Florida Wildlife Federation. He was also the recipient of the 2003 "Conservationist of the Year Award" from the Flagler chapter of Daughters of American Revolution and in 2004, received the Environmental Education Award from the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals. Most recently, Marshall received a Commendation from the Everglades Foundation for his “Leadership and Service in Protecting America’s Everglades.”

A career military officer, John Marshall saw active duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1963-1971, serving his country in Viet Nam where he received 19 air medals for 275 air combat missions. John was recognized on numerous occasions, including a Meritorious Unit Commendation while commanding the Headquarter & Maintenance Squadron-31, and an Acquisition Reform Proposal to the Dept. of Defense was endorsed by the Secretary of the Navy. He served as a U.S. Marine Corp Reserve Officer from 1971-1993 and received a Meritorious Assignment to the Office of Secretary of Defense, Test & Evaluation in 1992 and 1993. During this time, John also received the Secretary of the Navy Marathon Man award for completing the first 17 USMC marathons. He retired as Colonel in 1993 having accomplished many significant achievements and awards. He later served as a U.S. civil servant system engineer until his retirement in 1997. Semper fidelis!

Blue and orange were John’s colors, from his sneakers to his car. He was a passionate gator fan and graduated the University of Florida with a B.S. geology in 1963. He graduated Naval Flight School in Pensacola, FL in 1966 and Radar Intercept Officer School in Brunswick GA in 1967. He continued his studies at the Navy Top Gun Fighter Weapons School in Miramar CA, 1970 and was a NASA Fellow in Biological Applications in Remote Sensing from 1970-1972. He received a M.S. in system engineering from the University of West Florida in 1972.

John Marshall’s community involvement included serving on the board of trustees of the Commandery of The Palm Beaches and the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem and Knights Hospitaller.

Born in Miami, Florida, he is survived by his beloved wife Nancy George Marshall, West Palm Beach; sister, Jeanne Anne Moore, Dana Point, CA and step brothers Randall Marshall, Orange City, FL and William Marshall, Dregs, Idaho.

A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 2, at 10:00 a.m. at Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1300 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the John & Nancy Marshall Everglades Education Fund, established at the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties.


Geniusofdespair said...

John Arthur Marshall also mentored college students. He ran a program personally where each summer he would offer college students a stipend to attend a full-time program that taught them about Florida's Environment. They would even experience diving to see the Coral Reefs and learn about them. At the end they would write a paper based on something they did in the program.

My niece went to the program and said it was one of the best experiences of her life.

John was a gentle man, and he and his wife Nancy were dedicated to the Florida Environment.

Thank you is just not enough for John. Just not enough.

Unknown said...

From Michael Conner on FB....PLease have a thankful thought for this courageous gentleman today-- he will be sorely missed. A champion for our Everglades. A close compadre, along with his father, Art Marshall, of my fiancee's grandfather and Everglades activist, the late Johnny Jones.

A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 2, at 10:00 a.m. at Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1300 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the John & Nancy Marshall Everglades Education Fund, established at the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties.

HBernstein said...

Thank you for pointing out a nearly forgotten hero for all Floridians.

He was an outstanding example of persistent civic activism, who fought the good fight.