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In Memory of Suzanne M. Marsh (1960-2016)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Rev. Suzanne M. Marsh died on June 24, 2016 at the age of 55.


Suzanne was born on October 25, 1960 to Betty and Neil Marsh. She grew up in Laurel, Maryland, graduating from Laurel High School in 1978. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Baltimore in December, 1985, became a Certified Public Accountant, and launched into a long and successful career spanning over 20 years with the firms Deloitte & Touche, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young.


In the early 2000’s, Suzanne felt a calling towards ministry. She began seminary while still holding her Senior Manager position at Ernst & Young and while helping to establish the Santa Theresa Music and Arts Association, where she held the positions of Treasurer and later of President. Suzanne graduated with a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in 2007.


Rev. Marsh was ordained to the ministry on December 6, 2009 by the First Unitarian Church of San Jose. She first served as the associate minister to the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, PA from 2009 to 2011. After leaving Harrisburg she travelled to Idaho, where for a year she served as the minister to both the Magic Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Twin Falls, ID and to the Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Pocatello, ID. Finally Rev. Marsh was called to serve as the minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage, CA from 2012 until her death.


Rev. Marsh was a pastor and an activist, holding numerous volunteer positions before and after becoming a minister. After finding her “spiritual home” at the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church of Portland, ME she chaired the congregation’s Social Action Committee. While serving in Pennsylvania, she actively supported cancer survivors and the movement to end gun violence. And after returning to California, she performed abundant service on behalf of living wage advocacy, positive race relations, and interfaith fellowship.


Suzanne's hobbies included a strong interest in genealogy, and she completed extensive research into the Braley and Marsh lines. Suzanne's other interests included travel, having visited all 50 states, most of the national parks, and many European countries. Suzanne was also an avid reader and a lover of music.


To quote David W. Orr, as Suzanne once did: "The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind.”


She is survived by her partner and spouse of nearly 40 years, Nancy Pless, and by their son, Stephen Marsh; Nancy’s children, Robert, Nancy, and David Pless; her mother, Betty Gersh; her sister, Debbie Michaud, and her brothers, Milton Law, Michael Law, and Geoffrey Marsh; her brother-in-law, Bill Michaud, and her sisters-in-law Sandra Law and Julie Law; her nieces Brandel, Hayley, and Emily, and her nephew Michael; Nancy’s grandchildren, Paul, Brian, Mary, Erin, Emily, Brennan, and Carter; her grandnieces Neve, Paige, and Wynter; and her family-by-choice Sandy Wright, John Fairbanks, Sam and Liza Wright-Fairbanks, along with many extended family members, dear friends, colleagues and congregants. Suzanne was predeceased by her father, Neil Marsh, and by her step-father, Bob Gersh.


On July 31, 2016, family gathered at sister Debbie’s in Friendship, ME to remember Suzanne. A Celebration of Life was held on August 27, 2016 at the UU Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage, CA led by Rev. Lindi Ramsden, Suzanne’s former minister. 


In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to one of the organizations Rev. Suzanne supported: the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of CA at, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


Notes of condolence may be sent to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.


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