Robert James Marshall passed quietly at Lakeview Care Center in Bigfork on Aug. 17, due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease and Louie Body Dementia.A graveside inurnment will take place at the Bethel Lutheran Church Cemetery in the spring.
Bob was born Oct. 20, 1934 in Missoula to Robert S. Marshall and Lillie (Mackie) Marshall.He started operating construction equipment for Bud King at the age of 15 around Ravalli, where he lived with his parents.He attended school at St. Ignatius then went on to earn a Drafting degree from Northern Montana College. He continued to drive heavy trucks for Baltrish Trucking, hauling loads to Minneapolis on weekends while going to school.
From 1955-1957, Bob served as a combat engineer in Europe driving trucks hauling heavy equipment throughout France, Spain and other European countries during the reconstruction after WWII.He rose to the rank of Specialist 3rd class.Bob later served in the local Company D 2-163rd Cavalry National Guard unit in Shelby for 14 years as the E-6 (Staff Sergeant) motor sergeant.
When he returned, he attended Montana State University and met his future wife Charlotte Keil.During this time at college, Bob operated heavy scrapers during the construction of the Noxon Dam, and he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Arts.
In 1958, Bob and Charlotte married and Bob pursued a career in the Montana Highway Patrol graduating in the Class of 1961.For the following year, Bob worked on a highway survey crew for the Gardner, Polebridge and other highway projects.Then Bob was assigned with the Highway Patrol in Missoula and later transferred to Culbertson and Havre.
In 1967, Bob and Charlotte bought a farm east of Oilmont.In addition to farming Bob would serve as a reserve Deputy at the Marias Fair for many years at the jockey gate.He also worked construction for several years running scrapers when the Minute Man sites were being built and ran graders for highway projects.Bob loved his heavy equipment, especially his caterpillars.He was also very proud of his pit bull dogs.
Bob was active with the Montana Highway Patrol HOPE Project annual Essex reunion providing tricycles and hand-built pull wagons for recipients.Bob and Charlotte also provided horse drawn wagon rides for the event annually until he was unable to participate.
Bob stayed busy and battled through his Parkinson’s by building and restoring the 1800s spring wagons with Charlotte.They also co-authored a book about bringing these beautiful pieces of history back to life.Bob was especially proud of his sheep herder’s wagon.
Bob is survived by his wife Charlotte; brother Don; children Clay of South Carolina, Ward of Bigfork, and Gwen of Sunburst; and a grandson, Thomas of Savannah, Ga.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert S. and Lillie.
Whitted Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.whittedfuneralchapel.com .