Marshal Whitehurst 1920 - 2006

Stained Glass pictures Marsh's role in RCA's Selectavision (CED) Project
Article in Indy Star (archived)

How Dad worked on stained glass

Marshal Whitehurst died on Thursday, January 19, due to melanoma. He was born in Ossian, Indiana on April 21, 1920 to Emerson Ellsworth Whitehurst and Kathryn Altekruse Whitehurst. He grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, graduating from North Side High School and Indiana Technical College with a degree in Pharmacy. He married Dorothy C. Miller on June 29, 1942. They have lived in Indianapolis since 1943. Marshal, known to all simply as ‘Marsh,’ served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He completed training in Plastics Construction at Purdue University. Earning a degree in Chemical Engineering at Indiana Technical College, he began working in 1943 at RCA, holding four patents on electroplating techniques for video discs. He taught electroplating courses at Ivy Tech Community College. He was a member of the American Electroplater’s Society and the DeMolay Masonic Lodge. After retiring from RCA in 1981, he worked for a research division of NASA, the Aeronautics Research Advisory Committee (ARAC). He was active in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and Lutheran Child and Family Services, serving as a volunteer, council member, Sunday school teacher, and board member. He served as Republican Party Election Board Inspector in the 18th Ward, 9th Precinct, working every election day for over 20 years.

Marsh always looked for ways to help others and followed Christ’s example of humble service in all he did.  Marsh’s life of service extended through Indianapolis communities in various ways. He was the “fix-it” man at the Area Youth Ministry drop-in center for inner-city youth, mowing the grass and applying his engineering skills by repairing anything that could be, and his networking skills to finding a free replacement for things that could not be mended. He also worked tirelessly at a thrift store, The Sharing Place, to benefit Lutheran Child and Family Services; collecting donated food items in cooperation with The Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana for its food pantry. He also faithfully delivered Meals on Wheels to the infirm and elderly for over 20 years. Among the awards he was given in recognition of his service are President H.W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light, the Sertoma Service to Humanity Award, the AARP and the Lutheran Child and Family Services’ Living Saint Award. In later years, he took up the creation of stained glass works as a hobby. He donated many beautiful pieces of stained glass to local churches such as Christ Lutheran Church, and to friends and family. Marsh’s passion for the outdoors was demonstrated through his love of fishing, sailing, and camping, which carries on in his children’s and grandchildren’s appreciation of these pursuits. He also loved to read, keeping up with current events and staying informed about advances in science. Marsh taught his children the value of an education and ensured that each child was able to attend college. He communicated his deep faith in God and in humankind through his dedication to his family and friends, and will be lovingly remembered by the many people whose lives he has touched.

Survived by wife Dorothy Whitehurst, children Pamela (Paul) Layman, Ronald (Jan Deitrick) Whitehurst, Louise (Michael) Kinney, Jill (John) Robbins, and Andy (Karen) Whitehurst. Brothers: James (Lois) Whitehurst and Robert (Jean) Whitehurst. Grandchildren: Sunshine (Doug) Whitehurst McCarthy, Megan Kinney, Peter (Shera Shepherd-Layman) Layman, Andrew Robbins, Betheny Kinney, Katharine Robbins, Piper Layman, Benjamin Kinney, Jeffrey Whitehurst, Bradley Whitehurst, and Lily Whitehurst. Great-Grandchildren: Corren Whitehurst McCarthy, Tanner Shepherd-Layman, and Kaylee Shepherd-Layman. Marsh and his wife Dottie also helped to care for the six children of a Laotian refugee family that they and fellow church members sponsored : Mai, Hua, Tou, Xeng, Xay, and Joy Vang.

Friends and family are invited to a Celebration of Marsh’s life which will be held at 2:00 Sunday afternoon at Bethany Lutheran Church; 4702 S. East St, (Hwy. 31 just south of I-465) Indianapolis, IN 46227-1652. Phone: (317) 783-3068.

Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers should be made to one or more of these organizations:  Meals on Wheels, 1099 North Meridian Suite 650, Indianapolis, IN 46204 (be sure to designate as a memorial to Marshal Whitehurst and for the Indianapolis, Indiana chapter), Area Youth Ministry, the Children’s Tumor Foundation for Ending Neurofibromatosis (NF) Through Research,, or the Benton House;

Jill's memories at the Celebration Service:

How Dad worked on stained glass

I had the honor of working with Dad on several stained glass projects, and would like to share with you how I see this hobby he had. He started with a purpose – what will the piece be used for? Say a lampshade, or to cover a window. Then he planned the design carefully. He worked out how the glass would be cut and thought about what colors would look best. Then he’d check to see if he had enough glass, if he didn’t he’d go up to Merry-Go-Round and buy what he needed. When he cut out the glass, he’d grind the edges carefully. Then he’d fit them together and solder together the pieces. The work on stained glass is a time for quiet meditation – Dad would work for an hour or so and when his feet were tired, he’d stop. He was patient with the process, knowing that he had the time to do it right. Later, he’d come back and work on it some more until it was finished. Then, he’d wash off the excess solder and the final and most important step – he’d give it away. To me, this sums up what my Dad was all about – begin with the basics, make a careful plan, apply your skills and knowledge to create something that will give other people pleasure, therefore deriving your own pleasure from an object of beauty and the smiles on others’ faces.

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