If you want me again look for me under your boot soles.
That was Walt Whitman talking about himself, but he could have been quoting Walt Marsh.
Our Walt passed away at home with his family around him July 12, 2013. Like the other Walt, he is still with us in the gardens that he tilled, on the trails that he hiked until his knee gave out on him, on tennis courts where he played and football fields where he coached, on the beach at Bandon where he took all of us each Christmas, in Korea where he served years ago, and in western Missouri where he was born and grew up on a family farm.
Like Walt Whitman, Walt Marsh took pleasure in witnessing the genius of others, from Stan Musial whom he encountered as a young baseball fan to his four grandchildren, from Senator Jeff Merkley to Larry Young, a fairly good (according to Walt) player on one of Walt's Fort Osage (Missouri) High School football teams who reinvented himself as an Olympic race walker and noted sculptor.
Walt took particular interest in the perceptions and insights of others and so became an addicted reader, mostly of non-fiction and fiction. High on Walt's list of favorite writers were John Steinbeck, Wallace Stegner, and Wendell Berry, all of whom shared Walt's affection for American people and landscapes, but there were many others.
Nineteen years ago, Walt and Barbara, his wife of 62 years, moved to Oregon to join their daughter and son-in-law in a business venture in the mountains above Ashland. Walt's last job was Sunday morning host at Green Springs Inn. He formed deep and enduring friendships with many regular patrons and friends. When Walt learned about his final illness, he still had time to say goodbye to many of them, which he appreciated.
Walt leaves behind Barbara; his daughters, Pam Marsh, of Ashland and Maria Marsh, of Richmond, New Zealand; sons-in-law, Diarmuid McGuire and Bob Rea; grandchildren, Kerry, Meghan, Padraic, and Molly McGuire; and Missouri cousins too numerous to catalogue.
Walt's family plans to celebrate his 85th birthday with a picnic and opportunity for remembrance at Green Springs Inn at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 20, 2013. The bounty of Walt's gardens and other of his favorite vegetables will be included on the menu, including heirloom tomatoes, sauerkraut, big sweet onions, and fresh sweet corn.
If you wish to make a gift in Walt's memory, consider a donation to the Capital Campaign of Ashland Emergency Food Bank with special consideration to the garden that AEFB is currently developing to provide fresh seasonal food to members of the Ashland community.