Letter - Thank you, David Marshall

The Regional

Nov. 25, 2009

This is not the column that I wanted to write this week. I had hoped to tell you about a thrilling high school football victory, or maybe a Junior C upset where the Corvairs came back from Simcoe with two points under their belt, or perhaps a Blues Brothers victory over a pesky Hagersville team. But as so often happens, we don't always get what we want.

Onc can easily accept these little disappointments when you realize how utterly insignificant they truly are. Sunday afternoon I was picking up the boss to take her to the airport when she dropped a bomb on me. We had lost one of the truly great Canadians of our, or any other generation. At the tender age of 70, Dr. and Judge, David Marshall passed away at his home in Cayuga.

In my life, I have had some wonderful opportunities to meet some amazing folks. I enjoyed a long chat with Cal Murphy about running backs and recruiting. I shared dinner with Doug Flutie and learned a lot about the passing game. I enjoyed Don Cherry's company where he quoted Dick Duff to me. The Flower and I have a football, autographed to us by Martin Short as a wedding gift and the Memorial Cup sat in our dining room for two months. Last week I had a Federal Cabinet Minister and a Canadian Senator in the car and yet of all of the experiences I have fallen into, perhaps the one that touched me the most was meeting David Marshall.

Sometimes I catch myself feeling busy. I think to myself, maybe I should cut back on some of these things I am trying to do and believing that maybe I am helping a little bit. Well, take a brief glimpse into the life of David Marshall. You parents know how proud you will feel when your child gets into university or college. How wonderful it will be when they get that letter inviting them to medical school or law school. Imagine the work load of a young David Marshall; after finishing medical school and setting up practice, he attended Osgoode Hall to earn a law degree while he and his beautiful wife Jill were trying to build a family. The good doctor was called to the bar in 1972, ten years after receiving his medical degree. Another decade and two attempts at serving the folks of Haldimand-Norfolk in Ottawa, Dr. Marshall was appointed to the bench.

Marshall served as Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories and Yukon. Ten years after that appointment Marshall became an Ontario Court Judge. A fairly decent bit of work, wouldn't you say?

While his career was skyrocketing, Marshall  also found time, along with Jill, to raise five children. They split the family business evenly, two are doctors, two are lawyers and the other spent time writing for the Hamilton Spectator. David Marshall wrote as well, authoring books on the law, he painted, lectured at two universities and learned how to fly an airplane.

In his spare time, he served as a missionary doctor in South America and became an honorary chief of the Six Nations.

This was truly an incredible man, a glowing beacon to all of us of what can be accomplished in life. Don't ever let me hear you say "What can I do, I'm just one person."

While we celebrate our heroes in all walks of life it is important that we realize that the true heroes are not on an ice rink or football field somewhere, or on a movie screen or radio station, but that the people who effect real change in our world are right here, with us now and we need to take a moment to say thank you. His was an extraordinary life.

My Darling Daughter had a chance to meet Dr. Judge Marshall a few short weeks ago. He chatted with her and told her that she could achieve anything she wanted to, that there was no limit to what she could do, become or accomplish. He asked about her grades, what her favourite subjects were and if she likes school. I believe he inspired her and perhaps opened her eyes a little bit to the world of possibilities that at her feet.

For the brief encounter I shall be forever grateful.

Don Edwards