James R. Marshall

A true legend has departed this earth to join his beloved wife Shirl. James Robert Marshall died March 18, 2021 at Solvay Hospice in Duluth, living independently in his home on Pokegama Lake until the last 3 days of his life.Jim was born in Minneapolis April 30th 1926 to Chester and Dorathea Marshall. After graduating from Edison High School in Minneapolis in 1944, he immediately enlisted in the Navy serving on the Battleship U.S.S. Texas sailing tens of thousands of miles on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Upon being discharged, Jim followed in his father’s footsteps earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He initially worked in Dearborn, Michigan with Edison Electric, afterward joining Minnesota Power for a brilliant 38-year career. He began as a Results Engineer, climbing to the position of Fuels Administrator and became known by his colleagues as the “Midwest Coal Expert”. After college Jim met the love of his life Shirley Witt on a blind date that turned into a 60 year marriage and 4 boys. Not only a true renaissance man who could fix anything and solve any problem, but also the classic image of the traditional father; hunting and fishing with his boys and wrestling with them on the living room floor, and always a daredevil. Forever young at heart, Jim was the nucleus of fun all his life at the family place on Pokegama Lake where hundreds of summer evenings were spent in the summer sun on their deck overlooking the lake, laughing gregariously with loved ones and enjoying the famous Marshall Gordon’s gin Martini. An accomplished sailor, his iconic sunfish sail could be spotted catching the wind even into his late 80s. Also a true woodsman, Jim cut and split hundreds of cords of wood by hand in his time to burn in his furnace at home. For decades, Jim and Shirley spent their winters in Florida, where he would contentedly pass the days flying his kite; a treasured past time he continued to dream of even in his final days. A vivacious soul ever the child inside, he loved playing with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, flying kites, making windmills and wind chimes, spending his long and happy retirement as he once said “playing work”. As a grandfather, he enjoyed challenging his grandkids with math problems and found ways to convince them various chores were games. A generous man by nature, various charities would often call at dinnertime where he’d playfully ask “Didn’t I give you guys money last time?” Our amazing father, brother, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle and father-in-law met the end of his life without fear and with courage grace and dignity. When faced with the end of his life he simply said, “It’s not fun anymore” He will be treasured in memory by his family and friends as the true legend he was. Unforgettable. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Shirley, son Steven and grandchild Angela. He is survived by his sons John, Peter (Laura), and Paul (Linda). Grandchildren Stephanie, Addie, Allison, Benjamin, Emilie, Anne, Aaron, Jenna, and great grandchildren Alex, Jack and Adrian and many loving nieces and nephews. A family memorial will be conducted at the family home on Lake Pokegama this summer to celebrate his amazing life.


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