,In the picture seen here, Greta Marsh is shown smiling in front of a windmill. A perfect Don Quixote representation of her life. She chased windmills, caught many (to everyone’s surprise) and agonized over those she could not reach.
When asked what she is most proud of, Greta Marsh replied: her children, the ban on dog racing in Massachusetts and her involvement in the civil rights movement, including hosting many Freedom Riders at her home. Greta devoted most of her time to fighting for those whose voices could not or would not be heard. When age and infirmity meant she could no longer do this, it broke her heart.
When asked what they think of Greta, her grandchildren agreed, “She was one of a kind, fiercely loving and the most compassionate person you’d ever meet. She taught us about inequality and helping those with less power or opportunity not just with words, but through her actions and deeds.”
A fighter for social justice, as a young woman, she desired to be a civil rights attorney and fight the evils of racism and other types of discrimination. Among other things, she marched with Martin Luther King in Washington and helped the NAACP stop housing discrimination. While the evil in the world perpetrated by humans often overwhelmed her, she still saw the beauty in people and surrounded herself with, as she often called them, “precious” individuals.
A long-time vegan, she loved animals and wanted to end all varieties of animal cruelty. She purchased a sanctuary to allow her to rescue and care for abused and/or homeless animals. A woman of conviction, she worked tirelessly to ban dog racing in Massachusetts and succeeded when Question 3 passed in November 2008. Countless animals, from horses to pigs to cows to greyhounds, were able to live full and happy lives thanks to her ceaseless rescue efforts.
Her loss is profound, not only for us, but also for the world. She inspired many to be better people and many consider themselves, and the world, to be profoundly lucky to have had her in their lives for so many years. Greta asked friends and family to celebrate when she passed away no matter how sad it made us. While we all mourn her loss deeply, let’s remember her spirit that was able to rejoice even in death where she is now together again with her beloved parents, Margaret and Frank, the love of her life, Mike, and all the precious animals that she loved.
According to one friend who now cares for her horse, Greta beamed with kindness, gentleness, and good humor. Never one to complain, she resorted to laughter when things went amiss.
Before her departure she told her son that her path was inspired by Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, NAACP CEO Walter White, John Adams (who did not own any slaves) and Mike, her former fiancée, who like Greta would stop and help anyone who needed a hand. The only regret she expressed was not finishing her law degree at NYU School of Law and practicing civil rights law. But as is clear from the life she lived, she was no less strong an advocate for civil rights than she could have been had she advocated for these and other rights as an attorney.
Her life will be celebrated always. Greta leaves behind her children, Terri Marsh, Vicki Arnould, Michele Marsh, Jonathan Marsh and David Marsh, her son-in-law John Terry, her daughter-in-law Beth Marsh, her grandchildren, and great grandchildren as well as her horse Gabrielle.
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