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Ralph Olin Marsh

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Athens - The Reverend Father Ralph Olin Marsh, 80, of Athens, died June 7, 2010. He was the husband of the late Frances Bryan Marsh. Born in Leslie, Ga., he was reared in Ft. Myers, Fla., and came to Georgia in 1943 to attend Emory University. Father Marsh is survived by his sons, Kyle and Kevin Marsh; and their wives, Nancy Marsh and Sue Marsh. He is also survived by a sister, Mrs. Clyde L. Wade of Greenville, Texas. He has three grandchildren, Amy Marsh Misenheimer, Joshua Marsh and Rebecca Marsh; one great-granddaughter, Ada Misenheimer; and one great-grandson, Cole Misenheimer.
After attending Emory for one year, he joined the U.S. Navy and was later attached to the U.S. Marine Corp as a medical corpsman. He served in China in1945 and 1946.
After being discharged from the military, he returned to Emory where he received his B.S. degree. He worked in the advertising field in Atlanta for several years before teaching at Briarcliff High School in Decatur, Ga. In 1962, he enrolled in the Episcopal Seminary, St. LukeÕs at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
Receiving his M.Div. degree, he was assigned by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta as the Chaplain to the University of Georgia. Father Marsh served in this capacity for 32 years and was instrumental in the building of St. MaryÕs Chapel located on the campus at the corner of Lumpkin St. and University Drive.
He was a charter member of the Athens Mental Health Board and worked actively in Alcohol and Drug treatment and prevention for almost 20 years. He was the founder of Touchpoint, an alcoholic half way house, which served the Athens/Clarke area for over fifteen years. Father Marsh also held AssociateÕs degrees from the University of California and Rutgers in the area of Addiction and Treatment.
Father Marsh was affectionately know as the Dean of Saturday Football Parking, having been the first campus chaplain to start selling parking spaces to Gerogia football fans on ÒHoly RowÓ (Lumpkin Street).
During his last years on the Georgia campus, he began the operation of a small confectionary business known as ÒThe Gourmet Padre.Ó This little venture celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2005 and grew to the stage of having customers in 27 states, England, France and Belgium in this period of time.
Services will be held on Friday, June 11, 2010, at 1 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The Reverend Father William J. Bradbury (one of Father MarshÕs former students) is officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions or memorials may be made to The Father Ralph O. Marsh Memorial Fund Episcopal University Center, 980 Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30606.
Lord and Stephens Funeral Home East is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on June 9, 2010
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