Former Idaho Power CEO, board chairman dies at 78

Idaho Power CEO Joe Marshall in March 2000, during an interview about his retirement.
Idaho Power CEO Joe Marshall in March 2000, during an interview about his retirement.

Joseph Walden Marshall III died Wednesday, Oct. 19, in Meridian, leaving a legacy of decades as a prominent Boise businessman and philanthropist.

Despite Marshall’s major influence in the Treasure Valley, some — like friend and business associate Ray Stark — remember him for the little things. Stark recalls seeing Marshall on Monday mornings picking up litter around his downtown condo left there by the weekend bar crowd.

“Being an engineer, he just did what was necessary without complaint,” said Stark, senior vice president of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The eldest of five children, Marshall was born on Sept. 21, 1938 in Twin Falls, according to an online memorial. After fulfilling his dream of attending the United States Naval Academy, he married his high school sweetheart, Patty Marshall.

He graduated from the academy in 1961 with a degree in electrical engineering and served 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he earned a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.

Marshall spent 30 years with Idaho Power, where served as the CEO and chairman of the company’s board of directors from 1989 to 1999, when he retired.

“Joe was always a mentor, always a person you could talk to,” said current Idaho Power CEO Darrel Anderson. “Even after he retired from Idaho Power, his network was always there.”

There, he’s remembered for his relationships with all 1,600 of the company’s employees, each of whom he knew by name.

“He’d know about their job, a little about their family,” said Anderson. “After Joe’s passing, I had a lot of employees share with me the fact that they still had handwritten notes from Joe.”

Marshall also served on the board of directors for U.S. Bank of Idaho for four years, and on the board for the J.R. Simplot Co. for 16 years. He and Patty established the Joe and Patty Marshall charitable foundation through the Idaho Community Foundation. Through that entity, Marshall will continue to support nonprofits that serve Idaho.

In addition, he served as a board member for several nonprofits and educational institutions, including the Idaho Community Foundation, Saint Alphonsus, College of Idaho, Boise State University, University of Idaho, the Ore Ida Boy Scout Council and many more.

“He was the quintessential Boy Scout,” said Jan Packwood, who succeeded Marshall as CEO at Idaho Power. “We always referred to Joe as our Eagle Scout because he lived by the Scout code.”

Anderson said he also got involved at Saint Alphonsus at Marshall’s urging.

“I won’t say I followed in his footsteps, but he set the standard for getting involved in the community and giving back,” Anderson said. “Joe absolutely hated the limelight and preferred to do stuff in the background without being recognized for it. He did it because that’s how he was raised.”

Remembered as a man with a strong commitment to family, Marshall leaves behind his wife, Patty; two sons, Joseph Marshall IV and Andrew Marshall; five grandchildren and four siblings.

You can leave memories of Marshall and condolences for his family at this online memorial.

Nicole Blanchard: 208-377-6410, @NMBlanchard