William Henry Marshall was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on August 30, 1946. He was the only son amongst three siblings from the union of William Ed- ward Marshall and Lillian Simpson Marshall. On February 1, 2014, after 67 years of a wondrous life, Bill succumbed to his battles with lung cancer and heart disease and quietly passed into the arms of the Lord surrounded by his wife and children.
Growing up on the east side of Detroit, Bill’s family set priorities that focused on personal responsibility, a commitment to education, family, and Catholicism. He attended Nativity of Our Lord Catholic School and church where he was active in academic clubs, civic engagement, and athletics. Bill was a representative for Na- tivity High School in the Detroit junior roundtable, an organization developed to promote racial harmony in Detroit through discussion amongst all high schools. He was also active in the chess club and president of the Human Relations club as a senior. Bill was an active athlete in both basketball and football. He graduated from Nativity High School in 1964 with honors. After briefly attending Wayne State University he enlisted in the United States Army.
While enlisted Bill was trained as an Airborne Ranger and also was trained in de- molitions. He was then deployed as a part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade to Vi- etnam, during the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, Bill routinely participated in “search and destroy” missions. While on a search and destroy mission, Bill’s platoon came under heavy enemy fire where they engaged the enemy for over 8 hours. He lost his arm to .50 caliber machine gunfire. After suffering from multiple gunshots, as well as wounds from explosives he then lost a leg to a mortar shell. Despite his in- juries he continued to fight with one hand until rescued. He was awarded a pur- ple heart, and Bronze Star with Valor for his efforts. He was later awarded a second bronze star by Senator Carl Levin.
Bill spent two years recovering in the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospi- tal. After Bill recovered, he had the opportunity to tell his story and share his feel- ings on the Vietnam War in the Academy Award winning documentary Hearts and Minds. After the documentary’s success Bill was asked by several universities to speak about the war.
Bill was also politically active after the war. He participated in a draft coun- seling group as well as the Vietnam Veteran’s Against the War. Bill also was active in the Black Panther party and become Sergeant for the Defense of Detroit after the riots. Bill later continued his studies at Wayne State Uni- versity and graduated in 1982. He then worked for the Veterans Administra- tion in Allen Park as a counselor doing group counseling for veterans suffer- ing from post-traumatic stress disorder. He also worked in geriatrics and substance abuse counseling at the VA. He retired in the early nineties which left time to return to his activist roots.
During retirement, Bill focused on the education of children and was relent- less in the pursuit of excellence. He believed in accountability and acted ac- cordingly. Bill was passionate on the issues and more than once was "politely" escorted from a board meeting when the topic got too hot for folks to handle. He was knowledgeable on the issues affecting the school system and met with the school, school board or governmental agencies to address the issues in the system . He also appeared on TV and radio where he was interviewed for his perspective. Bill definitely paid it forward to the future of our world.
In the latter years of his life, Bill enjoyed spending time with his family. He got to see his children graduate from high school, college and even advanced degrees. He was very proud of his children. Bill enjoyed traveling around our nation, especially visiting the monuments in Washington D.C. and visiting his daughter Amina in Florida.
Bill was preceded in death by his father William Edward, mother Lillian, sis- ter Barbara McGresham, and sister Bella Marshall Barden.
Bill left to mourn his passing his wife Joyce, daughters Cheshana, Shelley, Amina, (Arthur), Dara, and Ashira, son William II, grandchildren Koran, Mark, Taylor, and Autumn, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.
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