HUDSON — A city depends upon many volunteers, but one woman contributed to many of the things the community is known for, from its annual Memorial Day Parade to holiday lighting on the greens.
Mayor David Basil presented a proclamation to Martha Marsh Sept. 15 at the Heritage of Hudson where Marsh, 90, lives and proclaimed it Martha Marsh Day. The residents were treated to ice cream sundaes.
“Martha is recognized for her great volunteer spirit and epitomizing what makes Hudson great,” Basil said.
The proclamation recognizes Marsh for her work in the American Legion Auxiliary, Lee-Bishop Unit 464 Hudson, for approximately 65 years and leading the efforts for 30 years to hold Hudson’s annual Memorial Day Parade. Her daughter Cindy Suchan leads the parade efforts now.
Marsh said she began her service by helping her uncle, who was a member of the post. When he moved to Florida in the 1960s, he handed her an empty folder and the responsibility for the annual Memorial Day parade. Marsh continued organizing the parade even after a stroke 20 years ago.
“I enjoyed the challenge of doing it and have it go off and be a success,” Marsh said. “I wanted to do something for the community and remember the veterans.”
Marsh could not remember any year that the parade was canceled.
Any veteran can participate in the parade, she said. The parade ends at Markillie Cemetery, where a speaker honors the veterans.
The legion decorates all the veterans’ graves in all the Hudson cemeteries with 300 to 400 flags each year, Marsh said.
Suchan began helping with the parade when she was in school.
“I’d say ‘I need help. We’re putting on the parade,’ ” Marsh said. “I kept Susan involved. Now she’s in charge.”
Marsh also was a member of the First Families of Hudson and served as past president of both the Hudson Senior Citizens and the Hudson Community Service Association, where she helped start the Food Pantry and the Helping Hands Program.
“She was instrumental in organizing Hudson Senior Citizens, and we all remember her fondly,” said member Jim Aungst.
“She always knew the ins and outs of documentation and the history of the Hudson Senior Citizens and what we could do,” he said.
For many years Marsh coordinated the Holiday Lighting on the Green, complete with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Community Caroling on the Green, Luminaries and other special efforts by the Downtown Merchants.
Her son-in-law Jim Rothgery is on the lighting committee and Liz Murphy is the chair. The committee was started after World War II, and the number of lights has grown as the evergreens grow on the greens.
Last year a pine tree was placed on the Gazebo Green formally recognizing and thanking Marsh for her outstanding community service, and it will be decorated with lights each holiday season.
Born May 24, 1929, in Streetsboro, Martha Litzell lived most of her life in Hudson, graduating from Hudson High School in 1947, where she was head majorette in the band.
Her ancestors include in-laws of the Case family and John Brown’s family, and she lived in James Ellsworth’s Evamere estate before it was torn down. She was a graduate of Hudson High School’s class of 1947. She worked as a telephone operator before working at Prentice Drew Accounting.
She married Glenn Marsh in 1952. He had served during World War II in a Navy construction battalion and became involved in the American Legion. Marsh joined the American Legion Auxiliary. She has filled several offices in local and state auxiliary and served as district president. Glenn died in 2018. Besides daughter Cynthia, they had a son, Glenn.
Speaking of her mother and father, Suchan said, “They were quite the characters. She was not shy to tell her her opinion.”
Marsh also belonged to the Garden Club, Woman’s Club, DAR David Hudson Chapter, and can trace her lineage to Revolutionary War and the First Families of Hudson.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org