Rev. Ralph E. Marsden, Jr., 86
WORCESTER/HOLDEN - The Rev. Ralph E. Marsden, Jr., 86, formerly of Holden, passed away peacefully under the loving care of his family and the staff at the Jewish Healthcare Center on Wednesday, December 24, 2014. Born in Holden and raised in Worcester, Rev. Marsden was the son of Ralph E. and Olive (Glidden) Marsden. He lived 16 years in Holden before he and his wife recently moved to Worcester to live with their daughter and son-in-law.
Rev. Marsden graduated in 1946 from North High School in Worcester. In 1950, he received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where he served as a lieutenant with the ROTC program and played the trumpet in the marching band. In 1950, Rev. Marsden enrolled at Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1951 he married the love of his life, Anna G. Ek. He graduated from seminary with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1953. His first assignment was Garden Villas Community Church in Houston, Texas where he served seven years. Next, he served 11 years at Windom Community Church in Orchard Park, New York, moving back to Worcester in 1970 to serve as a co-pastor with The Rev. Kenneth Bath at Greendale People's Church. After 45 years of faithfully serving as a pastor, Rev. Marsden retired in 1998. He continued to work at his vocation and ministries part time, receiving the distinction of Minister Emeritus of his church in 2007.
During his ministry in Worcester, Rev. Marsden served many years as the Chaplain at the former Hahnemann Hospital. He was the organizer and deliverer of many of the morning inspirational prayers at WTAG in Worcester. In his spare time, Rev. Marsden followed his passion of playing the trumpet as a member of the Wachusett Community Band, Quabbin Community Band, Grotto Band and Trinity Band.
His life was marked by service to the community and his profession. Rev. Marsden was a member and past president of the International Council of Community Churches and the Worcester Ecumenical Council. He was a longtime member and former president of both the Greendale Retired Men's Club and the Worcester Lion's Club. In 1998, he received the Key to the City of Worcester by then, Mayor Raymond V. Mariano, for his commitment to the enrichment of our community. He was also a member of the Boylston Lodge of Masons in West Boylston.
Rev. Marsden will be affectionately remembered for his spiritual leadership, keen wit, artful storytelling, compassion and authentically selfless nature.
He leaves his loving wife of 63 years, Anna G. (Ek) Marsden; two sons, Philip D. Marsden and his wife, Joyce of West Boylston, Timothy A. Marsden and his wife, Lynne of Worcester; three daughters, Janet L. Andersen and her husband, Steven of Worcester, Laura MacLaren and her husband, Richard of Sutton, and Andrea L. Marsden of Worcester; a brother, David Marsden and his wife, Hazel of Newington, CT; a sister, Priscilla Leclerc and her husband, Arthur of East Templeton; six grandsons, Timothy, Daniel, James, Andrew, Richie and Jordan; two granddaughters, Erica and Allie; two great-granddaughters, Lilianna and Makenzie, nephews and nieces. He is predeceased by his sister, Carol Chaput.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Rev. Marsden's family from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 2, in the Chapel at Greendale People's Church, 25 Francis St., Worcester. A memorial service honoring his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 3, at the church with The Rev. Carla Dietz officiating. Interment will be held privately at Worcester County Memorial Park in Paxton. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to either The Rev. Ralph E. Marsden, Jr. Scholarship Fund, or the Food Pantry, both at Greendale People's Church, 25 Francis St., Worcester, MA 01606. Miles Funeral Home, 1158 Main St., Holden is assisting the family with funeral arrangements. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit:www.milesfuneralhome.com
Published by Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Dec. 25 to Dec. 28, 2014.