Kathleen Mae Marshall (nee Watson), aged 91, passed away on July 23, 2018, at Fellowship Senior Living, where she had been resident for the last four years of her life. She is survived by two sons, Bruce and Ian Marshall, and her son-in-law Ed Nevins; her daughter Lorraine Nevins and her husband Thomas Marshall predeceased her. Kathleen is also survived by six grandchildren—Brian Marshall and Sandra Marshall Betts (children of Bruce and Patty Marshall), Ian Nevins and Lindsay Nevins Gaines (children of Lorraine and Ed Nevins), and Jacy and Kira Marshall-McKelvey (children of Ian Marshall and Judith McKelvey). She is also survived by three great-grandchildren, Liam and Ben Nevins (sons of Ian and Kim Nevins), and Riley Kay Gaines (daughter of Lindsay and Nate Gaines).
Kay, as she was known to her friends, grew up in West Kildonan, Manitoba, Canada. The youngest of seven siblings growing up during the Depression, Kay was the daughter of a stonemason, William Penny Watson, who had come to Canada from Scotland; her mother Christina MacLeod had worked in the fishing industry on the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Hebrides. Kay excelled in school as a girl and earned a two-year scholarship to the University of Manitoba. There she met her husband Thomas Marshall. As newlyweds, the couple moved to Montreal, Quebec, when Thomas took a job in the pharmaceutical industry. In raising their children, both Kay and Tom instilled in their children a love of language, reading, writing, and learning.
When Merck and Co. bought out the Canadian pharmaceutical company, Tom and Kay accepted a transfer to Merck headquarters in New Jersey in 1966. Kay worked as a newspaper columnist for the local paper and as a lab technician for American Cyanamid in Wayne, New Jersey, and she finished her college degree in home economics at Montclair State University in 1974. As their children left home for college and various professions, Tom accepted international postings at Merck plants around the world, and Kay and Tom lived for extended periods in Ecuador, South Africa, and Japan. Kay eagerly soaked up the different cultures and enjoyed learning about the customs of the various countries where they lived. They retired in the 1980s to Leisure Village West in Manchester, New Jersey, where Kay remained active on the Village welcoming committee. She was a member of the Village garden club and an expert flower arranger, often using donated flowers to create arrangements for people who were sick or in need of brightening up. She was also an active bridge player and member of the Leisure Village West book club. She took great pride when her son Ian, a university English professor, led a discussion of William Faulkner's challenging book Go Down, Moses for the book club. As a cancer survivor, she also volunteered with the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery program.
Her friends and family will remember Kay's quiet kindness and willingness to reach out to others—and her great skill in baking the most luscious desserts! At the Christmas season, her "buche de Noel" (or chocolate log), salmon log, and bacon-wrapped water chestnuts were family favorites—as were her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the year round. Kay always put others first, and her greatest joy came in doing things for others.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society would be appreciated.