A founding member of the Flickers Arts Collaborative and distinguished retired military officer, died on Wednesday, February 21st at age 90. A special scholarship program is planned in his memory.
Retired Lieutenant Commander Joseph Marshall, 90, of Newport, Rhode Island, died peacefully surrounded by his family and loved ones, Wednesday, February 21, 2007, at Heatherwood Nursing and Rehab Center in Newport, Rhode Island. He was the husband of the late Viola Mildred Beck Marshall with whom he shared his life for 57 years.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland on 23 September 1916, he was the son of the late George Thomas and Elizabeth Marshall. He left home at the age of 17 to join the military where he would build a prestigious career advancing from enlisted to commanding officer. Known as a “Mustang,” his career growth was unique in its day
Lieutenant Commander Marshall entered the United States Navy on 5 March 1934, as an enlisted serviceman and completed Recruit Training at Norfolk, VA. He was assigned to the Scouting Force Flagship, U.S.S. Indianapolis, CA—35 on 7 July 1934. After progressing through the Boatswain-Mate rating, was promoted to Warrant Officer on 29 August 1942. On 16 December 1942, was transferred to the Navy's Deep Sea Diving School, Washington Navy Yard for advanced training.
Some of his notable assignments included: Diving Officer on the U.S.S. Normandy, an Ocean Liner that was converted to a Troop Transport. The ship caught fire and capsized at Pier 88, in New York City; Diving and Salvage Officer, U.S.S. Tekeska, ATF—793; Diving Officer, ASR—9; Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Utina, ATF—163; First Lieutenant, U.S.S. Yosemite, Ad—19; Movement Report Officer, Commander Naval Forces Far-East, Yokuska, Japan, Hull Superintendent, Ship Repair Facility.
Other memorable experiences included: On 24 November, 1936, with the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt embarked, the U.S.S. Indianapolis CA—35, proceeded to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Montevideo, for the Pan American Peace Conference, Prior to this cruise, the Indianapolis, while undergoing an overhaul at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, saw an attempt at sabotage which involved driving nails into the cable system. A blaze was started but quickly extinguished. A communist plot was suspected.
He was an active deep-sea diver and arrived at Pearl; Harbor two days after the bombing on December 7, 1941 to search for survivors. Another notable experience was diving on the Japanese Aircraft carrying Submarine I-7, at Twin Rocks, Kiska, Alaska.
He participated in the following military actions: During the period of February—March 1942, the U.S.S. Indianapolis CA—35, was continuously underway for 55 days. During this period, this vessel participated in a defensive action against enemy bombing planes during the Battle of Bougainville, in which 18 enemy planes were shot down.
He also participated in the occupation of Kwajalein and Enewetok Atolls (Marshall Islands), Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa.
While in the service, he was awarded the following medals and commendations: National Defense, American Theatre; Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (6 battle stars); five letters of Commendation for diving and salvage operations.
On 31 June 1959, he retired from the U.S. Navy with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, following twenty-five years of Active Duty. He began a second career when he joined Raytheon Corporation’s Submarine Signal Division in Portsmouth, RI, where he commanded their research vessel, the “Sub Sig.” He retired after eighteen years.
He was a member of the Retired Officer's Association, the U.S. Naval Institute, and the Navy League, the Naval War College Foundation.He was active in community affairs in his later years and was a founding member and board officer of the Flickers Arts Collaborative, producer of the annual Rhode Island International Film Festival, the Jubilé Franco Américain, the Jamestown Chamber Music Series, the RI Film Forum, ScriptBiz and numerous community artistic events.
He is survived by two sons and their families, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Marshall, Jr. and son Matthew J. of Greene, RI; and George Thomas Marshall and his partner, Lawrence J. Andrade of Newport, RI; as well as close family friend, Eric R. Bronner of Bristol, RI.
A Memorial Celebration of his life was held on Monday, February 26th at 12:00 NOON at the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway Newport, RI. Burial with Military Honors was at Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter, RI.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made in his memory to a special scholarship fund established to help children of military families pay for college or higher education expenses: The Joseph and Viola Marshall Fund. Contributions may be may sent to PO Box 162, Newport, RI 02840.