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Chester Hugh Marsh

1934 - 2014

Hugh died suddenly on December 23rd at Cottage Hospital Emergency from a heart malfunction. He was 80. Hugh was a much beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather and a steadfast friend to many. He was born in Embro, Ontario, Canada, to Chester John Valentine and Grace Marsh. His father was a miller, his mother a teacher. Hugh and his brother Barry enjoyed an idyllic childhood at the mill and farm. He was stricken with the polio virus at 14, became a paraplegic and used a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In 1950 the family moved to Ontario, California and Hugh graduated from high school and Claremont Men's College. He married his college sweetheart Karin in 1957 and their daughter Eden was born in 1958.
Hugh worked as a disability advocate and publications editor in the first Jerry Brown administration in Sacramento, he was instrumental in starting the first Independent Living Resource Center in Berkeley. He worked in the aerospace industry at Aerojet and at Hughes Aircraft in Santa Barbara. In 1983 he joined the faculty at UCSB, teaching writing in the Engineering Department and the Writing Department. He loved teaching and his students adored him, many of them still keeping in touch after his retirement. In 1991 he married Frances Shannon in Santa Barbara. They honeymooned in France and Switzerland and later enjoyed travels to Guam, Hawai’i, eastern Canada, New York and many road trips in California and the western U.S. Hugh was a lifelong scholar, an avid reader and writer, a member of the Shakespeare class at SBCC where he had many friends. He loved music and theater and was seen at concerts and theatrical events throughout the year, most particularly at his favorite Music Academy of the West summer classes and performances. He was a member of the American Humanist Association, the Society for Technical Communication, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Hugh was a loyal friend to many and will be remembered with love and affection for his courage, kindness, tireless optimism, his intelligence, sense of humor and sharp wit. He was a hopeless romantic and appreciator of all things beautiful.

Hugh is survived by his loving wife Frances Shannon Marsh, her children Constance, (Felice), and Jonathan, by his daughter Eden, (Jay), granddaughter Lauryl, (Dustin), great grandson Etienne. He is also survived by his brother Barry, (Cindy), and nephews Tom, Tim and Steve, and his honorary grandson Bruce Kim Jnr. The family will have a private celebration in Hugh’s honor.

In lieu of flowers, a contribution can be made to The Music Academy of the West in Hugh’s honor.

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