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Thursday, July 27, 2023
6:00 - 8:00pm (Central time)
Saturday, July 29, 2023
1:00 - 2:00pm (Central time)
Peter H. Marsh, MD died peacefully on June 25, 2023 at his home in Kaufman, Texas, surrounded by family. Dr. Marsh will be remembered as a loving father and husband, a caring family doctor, a dedicated church member, and an active member of his community. During his time in home-hospice, Dr. Marsh was able to visit with all of his family as well as many friends, former patients, and colleagues in Medicine. One former patient in particular noted how Dr. Marsh helped him through a difficult adolescence - caring for him without judgment, taking his needs seriously, and, thereby, saving his life. This personal approach to the practice of medicine and care for people was emblematic of Dr. Marsh’s personal and professional life.
Dr. Marsh credited his father’s ministry of pastoral care, as a longtime clergy member in the United Methodist Church, with nurturing his interest in Family Medicine. Dr. Marsh’s skills and expertise could easily have led him to other medical specialties, but he recognized Family Medicine as his highest calling. Graduating from Baylor College of Medicine on November 20, 1981, Dr. Marsh went straight into a Family Practice residency at UTMB Galveston and continued his career in Family Medicine for the next 36 years.
Peter Hyatt Marsh was born on June 4, 1955 in Port Arthur, Texas, to Frederick Walter and Dorothy Niewenhous Marsh, about one and a half years after his sister, Marjory, was born. Marjory, Peter, and their little brother John spent most of their childhood years in Houston, where, inspired by his mother, Peter developed a talent for photography. Peter was head photographer for the Lamar High School yearbook, using a darkroom that he equipped with money he earned from mowing lawns. Peter continued his practice of photography during his college years, before graduating from SMU in 1977. During this time, Peter had the opportunity to work with Lois DeBakey - researcher and sister of famed heart surgeon Michael DeBakey - on a summer project involving medical photography. Peter credited this experience with helping him gain admission to Baylor.
Both of Peter’s parents encouraged participation in music - Peter was a member of the Houston All City Boys Choir in 5th and 6th grades, and, much later, sang bass in the choirs of the First United Methodist Church in Kaufman and Grace United Methodist Church in Dallas. The senior Marshes also “infected” their children with the travel bug. Having met in the Philippines at the end of WWII, Frederick and Dorothy led tours throughout the world. Peter led his own student tour when he graduated from high school. During a break in medical school, Peter rode his bicycle through England, Holland, and Germany - stopping to help with the grape harvest along the Moselle river.
After completing his residency, Peter launched his medical practice in Kaufman, Texas, meeting Laura at church shortly after arriving. Peter and Laura married at First United Methodist Church, Kaufman on December 19, 1987 and quickly started their family. Peter and Laura have always lived lives of service, with a seasoning of humor. As part of his Kiwanis activity, Peter helmed many a game of Donkey Baseball, wherein the players have to ride donkeys while playing. The objectives included raising money for charity and laughing while community leaders tried to ride large animals that were trained to disrupt the game.
Asked what was most important to him - what he wanted to highlight - from his life, Peter cited: his and Laura’s grown children, singing in church, photography, and helping create the Indigent Care Clinic in Kaufman County. “But mainly,” Peter said, “finding Laura in a tiny town in Texas. I never met anyone I considered marrying before I met Laura.”
Peter’s family will remember him for his great laugh, his love of family, and his dedication to his patients and community. “Dad used to take us to the hospital after church on Sundays. We would go on rounds with him and get to know his patients. Then we’d eat lunch in the cafeteria. We didn’t love the hospital food, but it was great to see Dad taking care of people,” said Catharine Marsh.
The family also enjoyed summer trips to the YMCA of the Rockies, and son Samuel even worked there for a summer during college. The Marshes also took camping excursions in Texas, ski trips to Colorado and Utah, and a few trips overseas, including to see daughter Caroline graduate from a Master’s program at the University of London. All three of Peter and Laura’s children show a shared influence of service and of care for the world and its people in their lives.
Peter has willed his body to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School as a way to thank the family who gave their loved one’s body so that he could learn from it when he was in medical school. It was also in UTSW where Peter, the patient, received the care that helped extend his life during his years in treatment for cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
Surviving Peter are: wife, Laura Marsh; children, Samuel Marsh and his partner Caitlin Ferrell, Catharine Marsh and her husband Colin Byrne, and Caroline Marsh and her partner Nikolai Rice. In addition, sister, Marjory Marsh Schwartz and her husband Martin Schwartz, and brother John Marsh and his wife Sue Marsh.
Visitation – Parker Ashworth Funeral home in Kaufman, TX on July 27th from 6 to 8 pm.
Memorial Service - Grace United Methodist Church, Dallas, TX on July 29th at 1 pm.