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Dunbar Funeral Home (Devine)

3926 Devine ST, Columbia, SC

OBITUARY

Leon Anthony "L.A." Marsha Jr.

July 31, 1930March 13, 2020

COLUMBIA - Leon Anthony (L.A.) Marsha, Junior passed away peacefully on March 13, 2020, at home after a brief illness. His wife, Natalie was at his side, holding his hand. Their marriage was one of unending trust, devotion, and love for over 68 years. Comforting him during his final days were a multitude of posters, photographs and mementos of all the people he loved most in the world, his family.

L.A. was born in Greenwood, South Carolina on July 31, 1930 to Leon A. Marsha, Senior and Ruth Creech Marsha. At the age of two, his family moved to Columbia where he attended local public and Catholic schools, graduating from Dreher High School in 1947.

After high school, L.A. attended The Citadel for two years before transferring to University of Georgia where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Upon graduating in 1951, he received a commission through the United States Army ROTC and was called to active duty. Upon completion of basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia he married Natalie Louise Hull of Atlanta, Georgia. L.A. was then stationed at Fort Jackson until his deployment to Korea as a member of the 17th Infantry Regiment (Heavy Mortar Company) 7th Infantry Division. In Korea, as a first lieutenant, he served his country with honor in combat, engaging in major battles, the last of which was Pork Chop Hill. He received the Purple Heart, Combat Infantrymen’s Award and other meritorious medals from the governments of the United States, Korea and the United Nations.

In 1953, after returning from Korea, he joined the family textile business. He worked in every area of the business before taking over the reins in the late 1960s. From there, he was able to grow the business into one of the largest international distributors of textile and furniture products from major manufacturers and textile mills in the eastern United States. L.A. was incredibly respected within the industry, known for his honesty, integrity and knowledge of the business. L.A. continued to be an advisor to others in the business up until his last days.

In 1957 a group of Lebanese American men were organized by Danny Thomas to raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. This organization became known as American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC). As state director for ALSAC, L.A. headed up several teenage marches and a concert at the Carolina Coliseum to raise the funds to begin building the hospital and realizing Danny Thomas’s dream. As one of the original donors, L.A. Marsha’s name is on a donor wall at the hospital and the Marsha family continues to donate money to an endowment in the family name each year.

A longtime member of Columbia Country Club, L.A. and Natalie loved playing golf and cherished the friendships they made there through the years. In later years, he went from playing golf to watching his great grandsons excel in the game. He was a former member of Spring Valley Country Club and a founding member of Musgrove Mill Golf Club. L.A. was also a member of The Palmetto Club and was a former president of Columbia Civitan Club. He was one of the alumni founders of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity – Beta Chapter at the University of South Carolina. He was a longtime supporter of University of South Carolina, and a 67 year member of The Gamecock Club. L.A. was a former president of the Columbia Touchdown Club.

In recent years, L.A. loved nothing more than just being “Papa.” He and “Nanna” cherished being present at the births of every great grandchild, attending their golf and tennis matches, baseball games, dance recitals, and birthday celebrations. Every event he attended was sure to be the best he’d ever seen! Family trips to Blowing Rock and Fripp Island created some of Papa’s fondest memories that he treasured and spoke about often. Every family moment was special and unique to Papa and he loved just being a part of it all. “Wow!”

L.A. is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 68 years, Natalie Hull Marsha, their four children and spouses, Stephanie Marsha McCabe (Michael McCabe), Lee Marsha (Anne), Michael Marsha (Ginger), Cecelia Marsha Zimmerman (Steve Zimmerman); his ten grandchildren and their spouses, Allie Rosvold Carpenter (John), Katie Zimmerman Atkinson (Zack), Ainsley McCabe Hope (Chat), Natalie Zimmerman Salley (Tate), Sara Marsha Ellison (David), Julia Zimmerman Bowers (Claude), Taylor McCabe Allen (Josh), Daniel Lee Marsha, Mary Kathryn McWilliams (Robert), Stephanie Marsha Theodore (Nick) and his eighteen great grandchildren.

In Lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to: St. Joseph Catholic Church Organ Fund – 3512 Devine St. Columbia, SC 29205 St. Jude Children’s Research – Marsha Family Endowment – 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105-9959

Although our hearts may be heavy, our faith is abundant. We are comforted knowing that we will see our loved one again. During this difficult time, it is important to remember one of our Papa’s favorite pieces of advice, “All that really matters in this world is your God, your family, and a few close friends.” We love you, Papa!

Due to the current health pandemic, all services will be private or postponed out of concern for the health of the loving friends who were planning to attend. There will be a Memorial Mass at a later date. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.

Memories may be shared at www.dunbarfunerals.com.

Services

No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Leon Anthony "L.A." Marsha Jr.

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John Breeden

March 18, 2020

Dear sweet Natalie, Sylvia and I send our heartfelt condolences to you and your wonderful family. LA’s was the epitome of a life well lived. You and LA opened your home to Dan and me and showed us what a loving family should be. Lee, Stephanie, Michael and CeCe were like children out of a TV show, so beautiful and well mannered. I’ll never for get the late night bridge games Dan and I played with you and LA in your home. He was a special man who always gave our group the most valuable gift one can give...his time. I will be forever grateful for his and your friendship. My he Rest In Peace.

Laura Hance

March 17, 2020

Me and my father mike Hance are so sorry to hear this la and mike are together again making memories in heaven

Ladson Beach

March 17, 2020

Lee and Anne: Jean and I wish we could be there with you, but we understand the unusual situation we all find ourselves in. L.A.'s obituary summarizes a life full of remarkable experiences and an admirable dedication to serving others. A life well lived. Hope to see you soon. Ladson and Jean Beach, Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Len Roberson

March 16, 2020

Michael, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Billie McMahon

March 16, 2020

I am so very sorry for your loss. He was admired by all who knew him.

Ann Martin

March 16, 2020

Dear Sweet Natalie, my heart is broken for you and your precious family. Even though I did not know your LA, I know he was a wonderful man and a Godly, loving, wise person to have attracted and kept you for 68 years. I love the look in your eyes and the smile on your face when you speak of him. What a great Christian example of marriage and family the two of you are. Thinking of you and praying for your comfort. Miss you bunches! Much love, Ann

Dawn Marshá

March 15, 2020

To Aunt Natalie, and all of my dear Marshá cousins, Lee, Stephanie, Michael and CeCe, my heart breaks as you grieve for your daddy. Having just lost our Daddy, Boo, and seeing you all there with us meant the world. My daddy adored Uncle L.A. Tears filled my eyes when I learned of his passing but my heart was comforted knowing he is with all of our family in God’s kingdom. Bless you all during this transition as we pray for comfort during this time.
Much love,
Dawn F. Marshá

Dan Reeves

March 15, 2020

L.A.,was a great mentor for myself and other teammates of mine while I was at South Carolina.Finding out that Natalie was a distant relative of mine LA and the Marsha family took me in and gave me a 2'nd home.I was able to see first hand what it took to be a great husband, father and man as L.A. showed it everyday.He had served his country and was a great business man and he treated people the way that you wanted to see people treated.He was a great example for me to try an emulate going forward in my life.A great husband to Natalie and father to his good looking and behaved children.The world will miss a great man and we should all try to follow in his foot steps so we can join him in heaven one day!

John Huntley

March 15, 2020

I first met LA and his wife, Natalie, when I was a pledge for the Phi Delt chapter at USC. They were the foundation that maintained and sustained the chapter. I will never forget this wonderful couple who provided counsel and advice. They chaperoned our parties in a manner that we respected. At the end of the evening they were there to “take care of us”. He will be missed. RIP LA.
JD Huntley, SC Beta, USC

Betty Gabriel

March 15, 2020

The Gabriel family has known the Marsha family since the early 60's when Bob was pastor of Belmont Baptist Church, and having just built the building, the church bought a large amount of fabric for drapes. Mr. Marsha was a charming man and a delight to work with. I like Dr. Chuck Swindoll's paraphrase of Psalm 30:4-5: "Sorrow and her grim family of sighs and tears may drop by for a visit, but they won't stay long when they realize that faith arrived first...and doesn't plan to leave." "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Mr. Marsha was indeed, a man of faith.
Michael, we pray that you and your family will feel the Love, Comfort and Peace that only comes from our Lord.
Betty Gabriel and Family