Deborah L. Marsh, 1958-2005 

"The true beauty of Deborah was her unique, generous and passionate person," says M. Christina Hewett, a Meals on Wheels board member and close friend. "Her inspiration and legacy will certainly live on through so many of us who have been touched by her friendship, her hard work and her contributions to the community." Hewett says Marsh humbly conveyed her strengths, making it easy to learn from her what it means to realize potential, in oneself and in something greater than oneself.

Under Marsh's direction, the potential of Meals on Wheels expanded dramatically and continues to do so today. In the 10 years she spent with the nonprofit, Marsh helped grow its annual budget from $500,000 to $2.3 million and double its volunteer base to 2,200. More important, during her tenure, the agency extended its services in the city of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover to include Charles City, Goochland, New Kent and Powhatan counties. Next month, Petersburg, Hopewell and Colonial Heights will join the list. And Marsh's pride in the work and her legacy to it will be reflected in the opening of a $10 million kitchen facility next spring.

Those who attended her memorial service May 10 at Huguenot Road Baptist Church were in good company. It was a full house.

An avid softball player and part-time prankster, Marsh was known for her inimitable laughter. "If we would get a big grant or something, you hear this shriek coming from her office," says Rich Schultz, a Meals on Wheels colleague. "She just had this contagious personality that energized people." — Brandon Walters

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