Faith, family, love, respect, and service to others are words that symbolize the life and character of James P. Marsh (known to his family as De).

He used his life to deliver these values for ninety years, and it showed how these values were passed on to his family members as they surrounded him on August 8, 2014 as he took his final journey that he prepared to take his whole life.


James P. Marsh was born on August 6, 1924 in the Mill Creek Community of Ashe County, North Carolina to Crater and Emma Marsh. He was the 3rd of 5 children; John, Wreatha, Ruth and Roy. Roy is the only surviving sibling.

He was married to the love of his life, Alma Ruth Hagaman Marsh for 69 years. Their love story began shooting marbles and going on “ice cream dates”. Ironically, they traded homework when they both attended Appalachian High School. James had a way with words and Alma Ruth was the math whiz. Their love story survived the entirety of WWII, and they became husband and wife only a week after his return from the war. They went on to have 4 beloved boys; Jim, Randy, Lesley and Ronnie, who all grew up with the same enduring values that James and Alma Ruth instilled in them. His family was always his strongest support system through all life ventures, accomplishments and service.

James proudly served his country as a Tech Sargeant in the U.S. Army, 8th Airforce Division, 66th squadron called the Flying 8 Balls who completed 23 missions in a B-24 called the Glory Bee. He received 3 Bronze Stars for valor as the Top Turret Gunner (Gunny Engineer). Faith carried him through the war and his faith continued to be remarkably evident in the service as a Christian by serving as a deacon, and treasurer at First Baptist Church. James served on NC Baptist State Executive Committee and Southern Baptist Commission (SBC) Executive Committee, Annuity Board and a lay missionary to Brazil as well as serving as the moderator of the Three Forks Baptist Association.

Many members of the Community remember him as the President of Watauga Savings and Loan, but prior to that he worked as an assistant cashier at Northwestern Bank. He was also President of the NC Savings and Loan League and as Chairman of the North Carolina Savings and Loan Commission.

Outside of his church service and financial career he also fulfilled his civic duty and government service by membership in the following organizations: The Rotary Club, District Government, Watauga County School Board, Town of Boone-Boone Town Council, ASU Board of Trustees, Co-Chairman of Conrad Stadium Construction Campaign (Kidd Brewer Stadium), Co-Founder of World Medical Missions, Samaritan’s Purse Board of Directors, Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees, Southern Appalachian Historic Association Board of Directors/Treasurer. For all of his service he received the Boone Jaycees, District Service Award and Governor’s Long Leaf Pine Award which is the highest civilian award in NC.

His most distinguished award was serving as the Patriarch of a family of 60 people for the last 69 years. His family includes his beloved wife Alma Ruth Marsh, son James, Jr. and wife Margaret; granddaughters Christy Turner and husband Luke, Kim Stacey and husband Matt, and Grandson J.T. and wife Shannon. Son Randy and wife Lisa; grandsons Justus and wife Melinda, Caleb and wife Jessica, Joshua and wife Christy, and granddaughters Moriah Barfield and husband Joshua, Brittan Visser and husband Forrest, and Lauren Miller and husband R.J. Son Lesley and wife Vickie; granddaughters Casey Gragg and husband Michael, Jennifer Klutz and husband Jason, Jamie Baskett and husband Dusty. Son Ronnie and wife Denise; granddaughter Andrea Marsh, grandson Taylor and wife Celia. Of the family of 60, 30 are great-grandchildren, Betsey Rose Marsh, preceding him.

Please join the family to remember James on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at First Baptist Church. The receiving of family and friends will begin at 12:00 PM and services will begin at 2:00 PM.

The family will be receiving guests at the home of Alma Ruth Marsh at 201 Westbrook Drive in Boone, NC. As an alternative to flowers the family requests that donations be made to Rise Up Building Project at First Baptist Church of Boone or to a charity of their choice.

Online condolences may be shared with the Marsh family at

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Marsh family.


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