John Marshall Smith, Jr.

January 1, 2009


John M. Smith, Jr.

Norfolk – John “Marshall” Smith, Jr., 56, of Kingston Ave. passed away Jan. 1, 2009. Born in Virginia, Marshall was the son of John and Vera Smith. Marshall was a 1992 graduate of Old Dominion University and a longtime employee of National Brochure Distributors.

Marshall, a free spirit, loved to travel but waited until his thirties before obtaining a driver’s license. In his twenties, bicycling took him to both work and the west coast. A love for the outdoors kept him returning to the mountains, canyons, rivers, bays, and estuaries where he felt most at home. These adventures were the inspiration for the wonderful paintings and photographs for which he was known.

He is survived by his sisters, Robin Pagley and Patricia Fuller; and brothers, Walter, Jeffrey, and Karl Smith; and many nieces and nephews.

The family will have a remembrance gathering in the spring for friends and family, followed by a private memorial in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Condolences may be shared with family at

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Bronwyn Robertson
8 years ago

I was truly saddened to find out today that Marshall is no longer with us. After seeing that the Pat Metheny group is coming to town, it reminded me of Marshall. So I did a google search, and found this page.

It’s been more than a couple decades since I last saw Marshall but I’ll always regard him as a truly amazing person. He was an artist and an adventurer, and introduced me to backpacking and mountaineering. His great soul is eternal.

âÄúGoing to the mountains is going home.âÄù~ John Muir

Jeryl Barnett
8 years ago

Although I have not seen Marshall for some years we shared many fun adventures together. I will always imagine him out roaming the world in his inimitable way. Happy trails, M! Love, Jeryl

Robert Burton
8 years ago

Dang Marshall! You went and took your last big trip without coming out to see me first. Over the years I kept thinking you and Pete Johnson were going to show up at any time and bag a couple of the summits around this part of SW VA and NE TN. I found out about your passing 5 years ago only recently. Man was I shocked. I was able to contact Anita Cook recently after I Goggled your name and got an obituary. I started searching for mutal friends and ran across her name on Amazon of all places. Marshall and I worked together @ Blue Ridge Mtn. Sports back in the late ’70s and early ’80s while I was in school @ ODU in Norfolk. We had our ins & outs over the years, but pretty much mended the fence prior to our moving out here on Thanksgiving Day 1992. We were always in agreement on our love of the outdoors & usually on music. Last time I was in Norfolk was 1997 & we just couldn’t get together. What a shame! To the Smith family & all your friends..I am sorry for your loss. I think about him just about everytime I hit the trail, or listen to a LP he dropped off one day @ our place in Wards Corner after his visit to Tracks, or while tearing into a bag of Fritos. If any mutual friends care, please contact me. I,m in the phone book. Love to hear from ya! Hey Marshall! Next time you’re out this way, float on by. Look for me on the summit. Happy Trails!

Dona Hall
8 years ago

Dear Smith Family,

I had the pleasure of working with Marshall for several years at National. He spent lots of time teaching us about nature and music. I thought about him the other day when I heard Phish was coming to town. He went to many of their concerts and had great stories to tell when he came back. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family! May he rest in peace!


Dona Hall and Family

Lisa Terry
8 years ago

Dear Smith Family,

I recently learned of your sudden loss of Marshall and wanted to express my sympathy to you all. I have known Marshall for the 14 years he was with National Brochure and always enjoyed talking with him. He was a kind and very intelligent man and will be missed by myself and staff who were also fond of him.

With our deepest sympathy, Lisa Terry, Mary Buckland, Hank Gaskins and Rick Craft

8 years ago

Happy Birthday Marshall, Nov. 8.

Mark Rhodes
8 years ago

Hey Marshall, give me a call on my cell when you have a chance. We have some catchin’ up to do.

Cheryl Baron
8 years ago

I had only a short time with Marshall. We worked together for alittle more than four years. But in those years, I learned Marshall was an intelligent, caring,thoughtful, and giving man. He always made me laugh, and he always wondered why, because he didnt think he was all that funny.

He will be missed by me, and everyone else that new him.

Natalie & Stephen Aloi
8 years ago

It is with great sadness that we learned of Marshall’s death. We will miss seeing him in our ventures to Norfolk. Our condolences are sent to his family and many friends.

Natalie & Steve

Bill Cave
8 years ago

It was my pleasure to know Marshall as I did. He has an amazingly keen eye as shown through his photography and I know he is missed.

As a Great man once said; “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. For us believing physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

~Albert Einstein~

John Sherwood
8 years ago

It’s my good fortune to have met Marshall. He is one, very unique human, and I am the better for having shared time on Earth with him.

Jeff and Cindy White
8 years ago

Jeff and I can hardly believe that Marshall is gone. He was like family. We enjoyed nature, photography, art, music, movies, and discussions on science, ploitics, and life in general.In conversations, he could swing from String Theory to Beethoven, from warbler identification to Zappa. He was quite a guy. It will be a long time before we stop expecting to just show up, as he had so often. We miss him deeply, and extend our condolences to his family, and to his other close friends, who understood his quirky ways. He was a good buddy to the end!

John Kressel
8 years ago

JMS Remembered

Marshall was a roommate from Colonial Place and a groomsman at my wedding. We had shared interests of hiking, climbing, music, and photography. Marshall introduced me to the canyon country of the American Southwest in 1989, for which I am grateful. He gave me a copy of Edward AbbeyâÄôs âÄúDesert SolitaireâÄù to get me in the spirit before going there and I have returned multiple times. Our trips were many and our friendship as rich as those testified by many of you here. Marshall is an amazing guy – taking often the trail less traveled. I see now a painting he did for me as a remembrance of one of our explorations of the 4 Corners area. A crescent moon floats in a yellow twilight sky.

Marshall, you Promontory Rider,

Go in Peace and I will see you,

Up the Trail

Mark & Peggy Rhodes
8 years ago

Marshall enriched our lives in many ways. Listening to new music, viewing his extraordinary photos at our slideshow parties and his spontaneous visits. He was an old soul with the demeanor of a college professor. He spoke with authority and demanded your attention. He had great passion for nature, the arts and camaraderie with friends.

We know he is flying high with a smile on his face.

Mark & Peggy Rhodes

Anita L. Cook
8 years ago

Marshall introduced me to the joys of hiking and camping–Greg and I now live in the beautiful mountainous area of Virginia in part because of the deep appreciation for the mountains which Marshall instilled in both of us. Greg and Marshall took several memorable hiking trips out west in the 1980s, photos from which are still so precious to us. We had not seen him for many years, but we often thought of him. We extend our sincere expressions of sadness to his family, and we hope to join all of you for the spring memorial service here in the Blue Ridge. love, Anita & Greg Cook

Michael Iwashchenko
8 years ago

Marshall was a great guy. Quick with a smile & quicker with the camera. We spent a great couple of weeks crossing the US to reach Zion, Utah. Good, no great memories were made there. I’m gonna miss him.

Walt Smith
8 years ago

Marshall will be missed by all. I know many of you would like to express your condlences and share memories with the family. In the spring, we will be having a gathering of friends and family to remember Marshall. Please leave you contact information if you would like to attend and we will be sure to contact you when have decided on a date. Marshall’s brother, Walt

Pete Johnson
8 years ago

Marshall will be sorely missed by so many. We shared so many adventures together, wether it was music, art, or the mountains. Not many days will ever go by without something reminding me of the great times we had together.

8 years ago

My old friend

Jerry says hello

May you play guitar

and walk the

Mountains of the Moon together

and if you see Miles

just smile and wave

he’s kind of cantankerous

peace be with you

Robin Pagley
8 years ago

Our family would like to thank all of you for your condolences. Marshall’s gentle spirit has gone on to a better place now.

For those of you that might not know, Marshall died unexpectantly. He had just gotten back from a visit with my family. We were truly blessed, in that we were able to spend the Christmas Holidays with Marshall. We visited the Alamo, enjoyed the illuminations by boat on the Riverwalk, hiked with the kids, enjoyed dinners, movies, music, and conversation, and stayed up until two in the morning wrapping gifts from Santa.

Our final farewell came at the airport, when my girls where dangerously close to having security nab them for their persistence in saying goodbye to their Uncle Marshall. As he cleared the metal detector and waved and smiled one last time, we waved and smiled back, not knowing these would be the last moments we would share with him. I am so thankful we had this time with him and wanted to share this with all of you.

Chris & Rita Chandler
8 years ago

Promontory Rider

And in he would glideâÄ_

with a laugh and a handshake and a hug.

Smiling and looking around.

As we gathered his wrap

We would ask him to stay and eat

Because that was the way of things,

whenever he appeared.

And later, during the course of digestion

And the ingestion of air and music

The conversation would turn to life things.

Politics, spirit, sunshine, rain, mountains

And amber waves of grain.

We would pile document upon document and

Knock them all down again.

And laugh, boy, could we ever laugh!

And there it isâÄ_

His face in the firelight

Heaping on the last fire log

Stirring it all with his fire stickâÄ_

Saying his goodbyes.

Thanks to John Kressel for the title inspiration..and my beautiful wife for encouraging me to post this poem. Godspeed, Marshall.

8 years ago

That is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to Marshall. For those of us that don’t know each other, it is our only consolation that we can acknowledge and celebrate the impact Marshall had and will have on our lives. Always.

Al Trask
8 years ago

We are deeply saddened about Marshalls’ passing, but are surely glad to have been a friend of his for all these years. He is really going to be missed by all. We love you Marshall…….Condolences to Walt and family. Al, Sanya, Jacob, Eliza, Iris and Sam.

Leslie & Rich Jenkins
8 years ago

We are saddened by the news of Marshall’s untimely death. We are grateful for the times we did get to share. We send our deepest sympathy and prayers to his family and friends.

Cley & Jean McCauley
8 years ago

We will sorely miss Marshall, he was a wonderful friend…great for hikes, movies, music, boating and most of all for the lively debates!! We would love to be notified so we can attend the memorial at Merchants Mill Pond.

Chris Chandler
8 years ago

We will truly miss Marshall and his many visits to our home and backyard. We will miss his conversations and his insights on life and living in general. I, will personally miss our many hikes and camping trips and our common love of music. It is with heavy heart that we write these words. Marshall you are loved and missed.

Chris and Rita Chandler and the girls.

Jeff, Betsy, Thomas, Telia, Jeffrey, and Micheal
8 years ago

When I was a young boy, Marshall introduced me to comic books, science fiction, and art. When I was a teenager, he introduced me to Seashore, Merchant Mill, and Old Rag; Miles, Zappa, and Henry Cow; Salvador DaliâÄ_ In my thirties, we enjoyed two trips to Canyonlands, the first at Needles and Island in the Sky, and the second in the Maze. They rank among my favorite trips. Awakened and chased off a thin, high precipice by a savage, severe dust storm one night, yet surprised by a silent, still snowfall another morning.

Watching my two boys play songs on his keyboards, viewing his original classic movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth or Valley of Matunga, playing his Fender Stratocaster or Yamaha hollow body, listening to enough music for ten livesâÄ_ Although we miss his physical presence here, Marshall always in the moment, is with us now more than ever.

Marshall younger brother, Jeff

The Gregoire Family: Paul, Dee Dee, John & Catherine
8 years ago

Writing about Marshall should be easy as he was such a great friend. But it still seems unreal that he is gone. I had the pleasure of working with Marshall for fourteen years. I am thankful to have known him and for having learned so much from him about music, literature, history, politics, movies, religion and canoeing. He will be missed. My family would like to offer our condolences to his family and his many friends.