DUKE CENTER, Pa. - Francis R. "Sonny" Marshall, 77, of Oil Valley Road, passed away Wednesday (April 2, 2014) at The Pavilion at Bradford Regional Medical Center, surrounded by his loving family, after a short, courageous battle with cancer.
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He was born April 28, 1936, in Austin, a son of Francis and Sarah Marshall.
He was a graduate of Austin High School in 1954. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, but instead he attended Penn State University for business, where he played basketball for a year.
On April 25, 1985, in the Duke Center United Methodist Church, he married Donna Bova, who survives him.
He was a member of the Duke Center United Methodist Church, where he also served as a lay minister. He was an active member and past president of the Otto Lions Club, never leaving home without his Otto Lotto Tickets in his back pocket. He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and a 50-year member of the Masonic Fraternity 258 in Bolivar, N.Y., and 555 Duke Center. He was also one of founding fathers of Otto Township Old Home Days, adding to this day the beautiful fireworks display, for which he organized funding.
His priority in life was his family, and you could always see him at any sporting event where his grandchildren were participating. Those who knew him knew he was the most avid New York Yankee fan, naming his only son after Mickey Mantle. His love of baseball wasn't just for the major leagues; he enjoyed coaching Little League with one of his closest friends, Bruce Milliron. He loved golf and playing in tournaments with his children and grandchildren.
He was a huge supporter of his community, and you could find him at the helm of fundraisers for people in need or directing a chicken barbecue to raise money for local charities.
Sonny worked for 32 years for Market Basket Stores, after which he retired as district manager. He bought the Duke Center Superette, turning it into a successful catering, meat and grocery store. His motto was "You Can't Beat Sonny's Meat." He sold the business in 2000 but couldn't totally retire, so he lent his years of expertise working for small grocery stores as a consultant in Port Allegany and Coudersport. He was also the town supervisor of Otto Township.
Surviving, besides his wife, Donna, are his daughters, Voni (Bob) Walker and Jill (Roger) Petersen, both of Wellsville, N.Y., Becky (Dennis) Campbell of Bradford and Jeannie (Danny) Drummond of Duke Center; his only son, Mick (Michele) Marshall of Bradford. He had many grandchildren he was so proud of and affected their lives greatly, including Aaron Hess, Tricia Smith, Ashley Loper, Dustin Hess, Ryan Marshall, Ariel Stavish, Emily Marshall, Christian Hess, Gage Campbell, Sara Drummond, Seth Drummond, Sawyer Drummond, Melody Campbell, Erica Marshall, Samaria Campbell and Carrie Drummond; two great-grandchildren, Maya Hess and Selah Stavish; a sister, Gloria "Tootsie" Stuckey; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Also surviving is his previous wife, Nila (Toni) Layberger Burrell.
He was predeceased by his parents, Francis and Sarah; a brother, Gayle Marshall; and a sister, Fay Kio.
There will be a visitation from 10 to 2 p.m. Saturday (April 5, 2014) at the Duke Center United Methodist Church, 26 Oil Valley Road, Duke Center, with a memorial service following at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Gary Sheesley and the Rev. Chris Stavish co-officiating. There will also be a celebration of Sonny's life from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 19, 2014, at the Otto Township Fire Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be made in his name to the Bradford Hospital Foundation,
or Duke Center United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be made at www.framefuneralhome.com.
Published in The Olean Times Herald on Apr. 4, 2014