Robert Thomas Marsh
Robert Thomas Marsh
  • January 3, 1925 - December 28, 2017
  • Potomac Falls, Virginia

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General Robert Thomas Marsh, USAF Retired

Passed away on December 28, 2017 surrounded by his loving and devoted family at the age of 92, just 6 days short of his 93rd birthday.

Born January 3, 1925 in Logansport, Indiana, Tom was the sixth child of Margaret and Arthur Marsh. Growing up in a large family during the 1920's and 30's, Tom developed an ethic of hard work, responsibility and selflessness that prevailed throughout his life. Following graduation from Logansport High School and while attending Wabash College, Tom was inducted into the Army Air Corps in 1943. In 1945 he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. On graduation day in 1949, Tom married the love of his life, Helen Joan "Jo" Spears and received a commission in the United States Air Force.

During the next 35 years Tom served his country and the Air Force with complete dedication. His career and ever- increasing responsibilities kept Tom, Jo and their three daughters on the move. At the University of Michigan, Tom earned master's degrees in both Instrumentation and Aeronautical Engineering. He then continued his career path in Research and Development of Missiles, Space and Electronic Warfare. Tom, an early advocate for Air Force space programs, was instrumental in establishing the Space Directorate within the Air Staff. He served as Deputy for Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare/Strike Aeronautical Systems Division where he led the effort to improve the survivability of B-52's during the Vietnam War. He later served as Commander, Electronic Systems Division, and Deputy Commander of Air Force Systems Command. Tom's final assignment as Commander, Air Force Systems Command marked him as the first non-rated 4 Star General in the United States Air Force.

Following his retirement from the Air Force, Tom remained committed to the defense of his country. In 1996-97, he was honored to serve as Chairman of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection. He was Chairman of Thiokol Corporation 1989-91 and served many years as Executive Director of the Air Force Aid Society. Tom also held positions on Defense Science Board studies and many defense- focused public companies. He was a long-standing Board member of Mitre Corporation, serving as Trustee Emeritus until his death.

In addition to a lifetime devoted to national defense and the public good, Tom also had many personal interests. Music was at the forefront of his life. As a teenager he directed his own Swing Band and was such an accomplished drummer that Jimmy Dorsey tried to recruit him for his orchestra. He enjoyed a passion for classical music and the Opera. Tom's second home on the waters of the Eastern Shore of Maryland was his oasis for over 30 years.

Tom is predeceased by his wife Jo, his parents and siblings. He is survived by his loving and devoted daughters and their husbands: Kathryn Joan Monday and William Dale Monday, Jr., Theresa Marsh Holly and John William Holly and Debra Marsh Davidson and Lyal Barclay Davidson. Nine grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren, all of whom adored their "Gamper," miss him so very much.

Funeral services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery. Arrangements will be finalized at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Tom's memory to: Air Force Aid Society at 241 18th Street Suite #202, Arlington, VA 22202 ( or to the Sterling Park Rescue Squad P.O. Box 650065 Sterling, VA 20165-0065 (