Remembering Bill Marshall | Presbyterian Historical Society

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Remembering Bill Marshall

March 21, 2022

--By Nancy J. Taylor

It is with great sadness that we share the news of former PHS Board member Bill Marshall’s death on March 13. He had been living with pancreatic cancer for several years.

When Bill joined the PHS Board in 2011, he brought his deep well of knowledge and passion for history. Having served as the Director of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Kentucky since 1976, he enthusiastically pushed PHS to expand its programming. Drawing on his own experience, he helped us reinvigorate our oral history program and even conducted interviews himself.

Bill was the epitome of graciousness and warmth, always willing to share stories from his life and his research—whether that was about attending the March on Washington in 1963 or his time serving in Vietnam, to tidbits from his work on the history of baseball or Kentucky horseracing.

Upon hearing the news of Bill’s passing, many PHS Board members, colleagues, and friends reached out to express what he meant to them. Here are just a few of their comments:

I am very grateful for the chance I had to serve on the PHS board with Bill Marshall for 8 years. His friendship enriched my life in many ways, as I know it did for each of you who knew and worked with Bill. He will be missed. -- Jane Carl

He was as a brother, and was a wonder at matters that mattered.  He brought such confidence in the value of working hard on matters of history and its collection, and at playing happily at matters of baseball. l do miss him already and look forward to an Eternal Reunion.  -- Paul Watermulder

Left: Bill Marshall at Materials Conservation LLC, 2016. Photo courtesy of Ginny Rainy. Right: Bill Marshall, Rev. Dr. J Herbert Nelson II, and Ben Chandler at PHS, 2019.

Bill was passionate about baseball and inclusion. He understood archives and understood process. He and Jan were devoted friends of PHS. I will miss him. --Ginny Rainey

He truly loved PHS and sitting on the Board with Bill was an in-depth learning experience about PHS, archives, baseball, history. He was truly a “gentleman and a scholar.” He was always a strong advocate for PHS and worked tirelessly with all of us on the Board and the staff. -- Sherry Jones

I too was privileged to work closely with BIll. His support for PHS was immeasurable, and I am deeply grateful for his years of leadership. Bill’s passion and spirit continue to be felt throughout PHS—his legacy will forever live on.

A memorial service for Bill Marshall will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Lexington, KY on Saturday, April 16. For more information, visit