Wesley John Marston, passed away on April 2, 2014 following 92 years of a life well lived.|
Wesley was born on December 1, 1921 to John Wesley and Farol Marie (O'Connor) Marston in Redfield, South Dakota. His father, a World War I veteran, was employed by the Chicago and Northwestern railroad, and during his childhood, Wesley lived in many of the communities served by the Dakota Division of that railroad. One of Wesley's fondest childhood memories was seeing a Ford Tri-Motor aircraft, which at the time was one of the largest aircraft in existence.
Wesley had a sister, Audrene, who predeceased him, and a brother, Robert, who died in infancy.
Wesley graduated from Huron High School in Huron, S.D., in 1940. Between graduation and the second world war, he worked a number of odd jobs, including as a bell hop and in a machine shop which manufactured car mirrors. His hobby was photography, and he maintained a photo lab in the hand dug basement of his parents' home.
With the coming of the war, Wesley was drafted into the Army Air Corp. His test scores qualified him as a genius in engineering. That, together with his interest in photography and his experience in a machine shop, qualified him as a camera repair technician.
During the war, he was promoted to the rank of technical sergeant. His training unit was shipped off to Saipan, where they serviced the cameras for a B-29 bomber wing for the bombing campaign against the Empire of Japan. Wesley was responsible for managing the photo lab of his bomber wing.
Following the war, he returned to Huron, S.D., and worked as a brakeman for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, alongside his father, cousins and uncles. During this time, he met his future wife, Gloria Jean Leaver. She prevailed upon him to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and become the first person in his family to attend college.
He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from South Dakota State University in three years. With one year left on his G.I. Bill, he obtained his Masters of Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He married Gloria Jean Leaver while at the University of Illinois on June 21, 1951. After graduating at the top of his class, he was hired by Bell Telephone Laboratories, the world's leading research and development laboratory, where he spent his entire working life.
After receiving additional education at Bell Lab's Kelley College in Manhattan, he worked in a number of Bell Lab's East Coast Laboratories, working on military radar. During this time, he worked at the S.A.G.E. (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) project at M.I.T.'s Lincoln Lab, which was the world's first computer project. He also worked on the Naval Intercept Project, testing the radar systems for the B-52 and the F-14.
In 1965, he was transferred to Bell Lab's Naperville Lab, outside of Chicago, where he did telephone work. In 1969, he was transferred to the newly opened Denver laboratory which was eventually located outside of Northglenn. While at Northglenn, he wrote the software for AT&T's dimension PBX (Private Business Exchange) system. He remained in the Northglenn lab until his retirement in 1982.
After moving to Colorado, Wesley and his wife, Gloria, lived in Boulder. However, after living 30 years in Boulder, they moved to Fort Morgan in 2000 to take advantage of the slower life style and the easy access to the downtown area shopping and services.
Following his retirement, Wesley pursued interests in genealogy and computer programming. He also helped seniors prepare their taxes at the Boulder Senior Citizen Center.
His wife passed away shortly after moving to Fort Morgan. His son, Douglas, assisted him for the remainder of his life. Wesley leaves behind one son, Douglas Marston, and many friends.
Wes was exceedingly generous and kind throughout his life and was beloved by anyone who knew him. He will be sorely missed.
There will be a visitation on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, from 1 until 3 p.m. at the Heer Mortuary in Fort Morgan. Graveside Military Honors will be held Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at 12:00 noon at Memory Gardens. Interment will follow. The Heer Mortuary in Fort Morgan is in charge of the arrangements.
Published in The Fort Morgan Times on Apr. 4, 2014