Dennis Marshall had entrepreneurial spirit

Idaho StatesmanDecember 17, 2006 

The theme of Dennis Vernon Marshall's funeral was based on a spiritual ballad "When I Get Where I'm Going" by country singer Brad Paisley.

Similar to the lyrics of the song, Marshall didn't fear death, family members said. Despite a prolonged illness that resulted in amputation of both legs in the past year, he never lost hope or had unrealistic dreams.

"He was looking forward to the day that he would get out of that stinkin' wheelchair," said Greg Marshall, his oldest son.

On Nov. 28, Marshall died of complications due to pneumonia.

His family believes he is standing in front of his maker, "forever in the light."

In that case, they said, Marshall, 71, is probably doing some fast-talking for a stunt he pulled when he was 17 years old at a Kankakee, Ill., Baptist church.

The young Marshall had thick black hair that was always perfectly in place, said Sharon Brevik, his former wife. Knowing he took pride in his appearance, the pastor would often greet Marshall by ruffling his mane.

"The fourth Sunday, he said, ‘You know, Pastor, if you do that again I'm going to bust you in the mouth,'" Brevik said. "Well, the pastor never ruffled his hair again."

He had an ornery side, family members said. But more than anything else he loved his family, which included his four sons, Greg, Bruce, Kurt and Jonathon.

Marshall worked many jobs in his life, many of which were entrepreneurial. He owned a successful chain of "body-wrap" salons, was an independent consultant and trainer for Sarah Coventry jewelry, and ran restaurants including local favorites like Vick's Restaurant and Pie Shop and Marshall's Family Restaurant in Nampa. Neither restaurant is in business anymore, but Greg Marshall said he is still approached by people who remember his family and their business.

"He always wanted to pull us in," he said. "He wanted to build a dynasty."

The family agrees that ultimately, Dennis Marshall's legacy was less about the family business and more about the purpose behind his every move.

"He loved his boys," said Brevik. "He absolutely breathed every breath for them."

In the Paisley song it says, "In this world we stumble through, all these questions I can't answer, so much work to do. But when I get where I'm going ... Yeah, when I get where I'm going."

Marshall spent the last few years of his life doting on grandchildren, rekindling a friendship with his former wife, Brevik, and strengthening his legacy, which will last forever in the hearts and minds of those who loved him.

In Remembrance is a weekly profile of a local resident who has recently died. Contact reporter Monique Bosolet at mbosolet@idahostatesman.com or 672-6716.

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