Columbus, OH --- Longtime USTA Director Kenneth E. Marshall, 78, died Nov. 5, 2016.
First elected to the USTA Board in 1988, Mr. Marshall was the chairman of USTA District 2.
He had in excess of 50 years experience as a harness racing official and track manager, serving primarily in Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Michigan. At the time of his death, Mr. Marshall was the director of racetrack operations at Hazel Park Racing, Inc.
Mr. Marshall grew up in Hazel Park, Mich., where after high school he earned degrees in French and English at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and a teaching certificate from the University of Detroit. In fact, while working on his teaching fellowship at Miami, he was expert enough to be asked to instruct in French for one year.
But he was also exposed to harness racing from an early age since his father, Kenneth G. Marshall, was track superintendent at Hazel Park. Starting in 1951, he spent his summers doing odd jobs around the track for spending money.
Once in the teaching world, he lived his ideal life: teaching during the winter months and spending summers at Northville Downs, interning in the racing office. Mr. Marshall caught the eye of his mentor, Bill Connors, and became Bill’s assistant once the siren call of the harness racing industry won over his teaching skills.
Working in tandem with Bill Connors, Mr. Marshall worked at Hazel Park, Northville Downs, Pompano Park, Wolverine Raceway, The Meadows, Louisville Downs, Tropical Park (Miami), Gator Downs (Bayard), and Jackson at Northville Downs.
After serving many years as the race secretary at Hazel Park, Mr. Marshall was named the track's director of racing in 1997 and took over his current title of director of racetrack operations in 2008.
A member of the American Harness Racing Secretaries, Inc. since 1966, Mr. Marshall served as its president in 1980-1981 and as a director from 1982 to the present. He was also on the board of directors of Hazel Park, Inc.
Mr. Marshall was inducted into the Michigan Harness Hall of Fame in 2011 and, most recently, into the Florida Harness Hall of Fame in 2015.
To fill air time on a flight home from Florida, he calculated the number of horses he had been instrumental in “putting on the racetrack.” Conservatively, more than a million, including non-betting events and qualifiers.
But Mr. Marshall was more than just a “Million Dollar Man” as a racing secretary, he was also intelligent, funny, a true gentleman and a dear friend to many. He will be sorely missed.
Mr. Marshall was the beloved husband of Patricia; loving father of Kellie (Christian) DePauli, Dan and John; and dear grandfather of Cameron, Olivia and Nicholas.
A memorial visitation will be held at the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home, 15451 Farmington Rd., Livonia, on Saturday (Nov. 19) at 2 p.m. until time of service at 5 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Arc of NW Wayne County in memory of Ken, father of Dan Marshall.
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