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Mills B. Marsh Jr.

Mills B. Marsh, Jr. (Bruce)

December 29, 1924 - April 3, 2013

SALEM - Always proud to be a native Oregonian, Bruce left this world surrounded by multiple generations of his family. His grandfather moved to Oregon after the Civil War and logged in what is now downtown Portland, and today Bruce's great grandsons and great granddaughter enjoy playing in Portland's public parks. Those of us in between will miss so much about him, including his love of God's world, knowledge of the State of Oregon and its plants, trees and geography, his ability to grow marvelous flowers and plants, and his skills and devotion to camping, gardening and recycling. Bruce left us here to continue his traditions: summer reunions in Central Oregon, time spent outdoors in nature and consistent loving faith, support, and encouragement for each other.

Mills Barton Marsh, Jr. (Bruce) was born to Mills Barton Marsh, Sr. and Martha Elizabeth (Millie) Torrance in Noti, OR on December 29, 1924. He joined sisters Priscilla and Adelaide, siblings Mary and Norman soon followed. While at Elmira High School in Elmira, Oregon, Bruce lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and track, and served as Student Body President. When World War II was raging, Bruce and his best friend from high school jumped at the opportunity to serve in the United States Navy even before their graduation. Their early departure was with permission of their principal, who might have been happy to see these rambunctious young men leave town for a while.

After being stationed in ID, OK and TX during the war, Bruce began his university studies at Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, OR (now Western Oregon University), where he met lifelong friends and brothers, Elbert, Ted and Bill Floyd, and fell in love with their little sister, the charming Rose Marie. They married and moved to Eugene, OR where Rose Marie began her teaching career. Bruce attended then graduated from the University of Oregon in 1951 with majors in Geology and Geography. Graduation was just a few days before the birth of their first child, Michael Barton.

After graduation from the UofO, Bruce and Rose Marie lived in Sacramento, CA, Astoria, OR, and Newport, OR before finally moving to their permanent home, Salem. The family grew with the additions of Kathleen Olivia (1954) and Susan Elizabeth (1957). It was here that the family helped begin a new church in South Salem, Westminster Presbyterian Church, which remained their church home the rest of their lives. Through the years, Bruce served the congregation as Elder on Session, church school teacher and member of various committees, most especially those supporting the church's glorious grounds and its building. In 1963 they built a house in a cherry orchard in South Salem and welcomed the family's youngest child, Barbara Marie (1964). Bruce continued his career as a cartographer and cruiser/appraiser of timberland, creating maps for the State of Oregon.

When Bruce was young the town of Noti did not have a Boy Scout Troop, so when Mike was old enough he and Bruce became involved with Troop 108, sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church. Bruce became Scoutmaster of Troop 108 in 1966 and served scouting for 50 years. During his many years as a beloved scout leader he encouraged many young men to remain active and earn their Eagle Scout awards; including his son in 1966, and many more through the years. The entire family attended three National and International Boy Scout Jamborees as well as participated in numerous camping adventures.

Bruce retired from the State of Oregon in December of 1985 and spent the coming years travelling (Seattle for Mariners games, Arizona for spring training, Scotland, England, Ireland, Japan, Hawaii, the East Coast and Southwest United States), working with Troop 108 (their beautiful new Boy Scout Lodge was named the "Bruce Marsh Scout Lodge" in 2002) and becoming an outstanding grandfather (Grampy) to his grandchildren, Sarah Louise Marsh (Duncan) York, Elizabeth Frances Marsh (Eric) Johnson, Matthew Shoki Tanabe (and his Joanie), Tobias Yuuki Tanabe, Mollie Kathleen Bootsma, Jane Rie Tanabe, Margaret Rose Bootsma and Megan Frances Bootsma. Bruce and Rose Marie attended and sponsored church and youth group events, sports, choir, orchestra and drama events, games, performances, travels and camps. During his retirement, Bruce enjoyed time reading and playing with all his grandchildren.

In October of 1998, Bruce's life changed when, while cutting an offending branch over a neighbor's yard, he and his chain saw fell about 20 feet. His visit in the ICU lasted four months, followed by years of serious health issues. Still, those 14 years of challenges allowed him to enjoy significant time with his grandchildren, including marriages and sweethearts for the older ones, the birth of the youngest grandchild, and the births of three great grandchildren. In recent years, this tall, strong ex-logger, who led hundreds upon hundreds of boys camping for weeks in the Oregon wilderness in all seasons, including heat and snow, became physically dependent on others. Yet when Rose Marie was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, his demeanor was positive and patient. Since her death in May of 2012, Bruce's life centered on visits from beloved relatives and friends. He was a positive influence on the lives of so many.

Bruce is survived by his children and their spouses, Michael (Charlotte) Marsh, Kathleen (David) Shelton, Susan (Toru) Tanabe, and Barb (Ernie) Bootsma, eight grandchildren and three great grand-children.

Please join us in celebrating the life of Bruce, a true public servant, with bagpipes and Boy Scout color guard at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3737 Liberty Rd., SE, on Sunday, April 28th at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Troop 108, Cascade Area Council Boy Scouts of America or Westminster Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

Funeral Home

Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service and Oakleaf Crematory
605 Commercial St SE Salem, OR 97301
(503) 3642257

Published in StatesmanJournal on Apr. 21, 2013
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