George William Marsh passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 27, 2013 at the Taylor House Hospice in Des Moines. George was 88 years old. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 31 at the Zion Lutheran Church in Dexter. Burial will follow services at the Dexter City Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30th at the Johnson Family Funeral Home in Dexter.
George was born on August 13, 1925 to Henry and Anna (Bickelhaupt) Marsh on their farm southwest of Dexter. He graduated from Dexter High School in 1942 and worked on the family farm until his induction into the US Army in March of 1945. He graduated Officers Candidate School in January, 1946 and served with occupation forces in Europe at the end of World War II. Following his discharge from the Army in 1947 George enrolled in Iowa State College. He married Gelena Ruth Schnell on September 19, 1950 while still a student. He graduated from Iowa State in June, 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry and was recalled into active military duty that same month. George served in the Korean War with the 987th Field Artillery Battalion as an aerial observer. He was relieved from active duty in 1953 but remained a member of the US Army Reserves for another 22 years, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. George was always extremely proud of his service to his country and of the service of his older brothers, Bob and Howard.
George began a career in farming in 1953 southwest of Dexter near Port Union. In 1959 he and Gelena moved to a farm northeast of Dexter near the Bear Creek Church where they lived for 31 years; George farming and Gelena working as a registered nurse. During that time George served multiple terms as president of the Dallas County Farm Bureau, was on the Dallas County Zoning board, and served several years as president of the Earlham School Board.
George and Gelena retired to a home in Dexter in 1990. Retirement gave George more time to pursue his golfing hobby, read historical non-fiction books, and cheer for his favorite teams - the Cyclones, the Cubs and the Bears. George and Gelena also enjoyed may winters in Mesa, Arizona until Gelena passed away in 2004.
George was an active member of Zion Lutheran Church in Dexter from his baptism until his death, serving many years on the church council during that time. George's faith was always strong and provided him in great comfort in his days.
George was preceded in death by Gelena and siblings Barbara Willrich, Robert Marsh, and Howard Marsh. He is survived by his sister, Marlene Rasmussen of Mesa, Arizona and children, Tim and wife Dawn of Ankeny, Stan of Earlham, Jeff and wife Jennifer of Algona, Cindi and husband Bill Neubauer of Cumming, and Heidi of Dexter. George was extremely proud of his seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Memorial contributions can be made to Zion Lutheran Church in Dexter or the Taylor House Hospice at 3401 E. Douglas Avenue in Des Moines.
Published in Des Moines Register on Oct. 29, 2013