Family, colleagues remember a 'friend of Clayton State University' today

By Curt Yeomans


Elizabeth Marshall tried to meet the recipients of the Clayton State University scholarship named for her and her husband, Allan, whenever she could.

She also loved to find out the latest developments at the university. She saw it grow from a small community college in Morrow, to a university with more than 6,000 students.

Marshall, a resident of Jonesboro, began her association with the university when she was hired in 1971 to teach in its history department. She retired in 1985, and joined Clayton State University Foundation's Board of Trustees the next year, according to a university press release about her.

Marshall passed away in her sleep on Wednesday, her son, David Marshall, said on Friday. She didn't like to reveal her age publicly. She remained on the board of trustees until her death.

"I know many faculty and staff have fond memories of Dr. Marshall, and she will be missed," said Thomas Harden, Clayton State's president, in an e-mail to the university community on Thursday. "I personally appreciate the many years of dedication Dr. Marshall provided to Clayton State University, and send the deepest condolences to her family."

A graveside funeral service will held for Marshall at 10:30 a.m., on Saturday, at Alta Vista Cemetery, at the intersection of Jesse Jewell Parkway and Auburn Avenue, in Gainesville. A memorial service will be held for her later in the day, at 1 p.m., at Central Presbyterian Church, 201 Washington St., in Atlanta.

Her husband preceded her in death, in 1979. She is survived by her three sons, David, Thomas and Andrew Marshall; their wives, Betsy, Sheila and Gina, and six grandchildren.

Marshall was born in Gainesville before the Roaring 20's. She received a bachelor's degree in English in 1937, and earned master's and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Georgia in 1959 and 1974, respectively. She was a college professor for 35 years, teaching at Georgia Military College and Georgia College before joining the faculty at Clayton State. She was accepted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society in 1973. She spent the last 14 years of her teaching career at Clayton State.

During her career as an educator, Marshall received several honors, including the essay award from Phi Alpha Theta, a history honor society, in 1969. She studied in India as a Fulbright-Hays scholar, and at the University of California in Berkeley, on a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

She participated in a study tour of Israel in 1980, and was an ambassador to the People's Republic of China in 1983 on behalf of the Friendship Force of Atlanta.

"Education was her passion," David Marshall said. "She had a real quest for learning and travel. She loved learning about new places. She also loved research and writing, and her family was always important to her."

She always attended meetings of the Clayton State University Foundation's Board of Trustees when her health would allow it, said Reda Rowell, Clayton State's director of development. Elizabeth Marshall was one of the longest-tenured members on the board.

She also helped raise awareness and funds for Clayton State on several occasions. A friend of Walter and Emilie Spivey, she spearheaded early efforts to raise funds for the construction of the university's Spivey Hall, Rowell said. Marshall also wrote a book about the Spiveys, entitled "A Unique Partnership, Walter and Emilie Spivey."

Rowell called Marshall a "real friend to Clayton State University."

"She'd always say, 'Now Reda, tell me what's going on at the university, I'm eager to know,' just like the gentile, southern lady that she was," Rowell said. "She knew about the dorms and activity center we're currently building on campus. That's the last thing I talked about with her. She was really excited about those projects. She was an advocate of helping students be a success at Clayton State.

"She loved Clayton State in every aspect," Rowell said.

The family is asking that donations be given to, either Central Presbyterian Church, or the Allan and Elizabeth Marshall Scholarship, in lieu of flowers.