Once again Farwell voters have given long-term council member Elton Marshall the go-ahead for another term on the board.
This will be his twenty-sixth.
Marshall, 85, has served on the Farwell Village Council for all but two years since 1958, and for two of them was elected as the Village President.
Marshall said it all started when then Village President Bernard Schofield came to him and asked him to fill the remainder of a term on the board.
He was already interested in government. “It got in my blood when I was in the 90th Division of the U.S. Army during World War II,” he said. He was “After the war some of us were transferred into the military government in Germany. Where I was first stationed I didn’t have anything to do so I asked for a transfer to a smaller detachment just north of Munich. Three of us were sent and the Lieutenant there told me, ‘You’re my chief clerk.’”
He said, “I’d never done anything like that before. It was interesting. Luckily we had wonderful German employees. All we had to do was oversee them.”
That was in 1945.
By December 31, 1945, Marshall was on his way home. He was discharged in March and returned to the Farwell area.
“The war was quite an experience,” he said. “It changes your whole life style. You grow up in a hurry.” He added, “I wouldn’t want to do that again.” He said when he came home he was still too young to vote or buy a drink.
Marshall hasn’t lived all his life in Farwell. He moved there from the Loomis area in 1938. He was born near Stevenson Lake and said his folks had a farm located on land where the golf course is now.
After his discharge from the service, he worked on the gas pipeline being put through the area by Michigan Gas Storage Company. After that for a brief time he worked for Dow Chemical and when he was laid off, went to work for the owner of Farwell’s Sinclair Station, Don Smith. In 1954 he bought the station and operated it until 1986. After that he worked as the manager of Palmer Car Care Center for five years until his retirement in 1991.
Meantime, he has been on the Village Council. “I was always the youngest one,” he said. “That’s changed now.” He has been chair of the Department of Public Works committee for the past ten years.
Except for his first try, whenever he ran, he was always re-elected. The first time he ran as a member of the “People’s Party and was defeated. He ran again two years later and won. “You don’t do this for the money,” he said. “When I started you got $5 per meeting for 13 meetings a year. He said his term as Village President took too much time away from his business, so he didn’t do that again.
It runs in the family. His wife Doris, who died in 2001, was on the Council for two years when Elton was off. She also worked in the Village offices when Pat Renner was the Village Clerk.
The couple were married in 1948 and have two children, son Steve (and wife Cheryl) and daughter Deanna (and husband Dave Irish). Steve lives at Stephenson Lake and Deanna in Rochester, Minnesota. Marshall also has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Elton still lives in his same home near the school as when he and Doris were married. “I never wanted to live anywhere else,” he said. “I still enjoy being on the Village Council. I have time to do it.”
He plans to continue for as long as he can. “My father lived to be 102,” Marshall said.