Walter Marshall honored by county, state

Walter Marshall honored by county, state
April 13
08:30 2017



Late County Commissioner Walter Marshall was honored by his colleagues and N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall during a county meeting on Thursday, April 6.

Elaine Marshall was there to present the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is among the most prestigious awards conferred by the governor for exemplary service to the state. She warmly greeted Walter Marshall’s family, saying all Marshalls are “all kissing cousins, all kin” before handing family members the award honoring the longtime commissioner, who passed away in late February.

“I know public service is a family affair and one cannot be a good public servant without support at home,” she said.

The county commissioners also presented a resolution to the family honoring the life of Walter Marshall. They then shared their thoughts on their late colleague and spoke to the family members

in the audience, which included Marshall’s widow, Paulette, their children and grandchildren.

“The reason why your grandfather was so bold, was because he was right,” said County Commissioner Everette Witherspoon.

Witherspoon talked about how, as local NAACP president, Marshall led lawsuits that resulted in greater African American representation on both the school board and county commissioners board.

“Your grandfather was a legend before he even took public office,” he said. “This was just icing on the cake.”

Witherspoon hoped that there would be other honors for Marshall, like hanging his picture in the commissioners’ meeting room and naming the Central Library or another building after him.

Commissioner Fleming El-Amin, who was chosen by the local Democratic Party to fill Marshall’s seat, said he was standing on the shoulders of giants. He said Marshall was a walking encyclopedia of history and always spoke his mind.

“There are few men who are who they appear to be 24/7,” said El-Amin.

County Commissioner Co-Chairman Don Martin said, before coming to Forsyth County, his background on diversity was “pretty thin,” but Marshall educated him on the subject.

“My learning on diversity issues started with Walter,” he said.

Commissioner Ted Kaplan also said he learned a lot from Marshall over the years. Commissioner Richard Linville said that Marshall was always thinking about others and would ask how he was doing, especially when he was going through a difficult time. Commissioner Gloria Witherspoon said even though she and Marshall would sometimes disagree, they could still leave the room with a civil “goodbye.”

Marshall’s son, Malcolm, thanked the commissioners for their kind words. He said that though his father may have disagreed with the other commissioners sometimes, it was a relationship built on respect.

“He respected each and every one of you,” said Malcolm.

The county resolution honoring Walter Marshall was ratified during Monday night’s county commissioners meeting.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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