After a lifetime of service, Rev. Dr. Samuel Booker “S.B.” Marshall passed away Saturday at age 92.
Those who knew him say his influence and dedication to the region will last for generations to come.
Just last fall, the S.C. General Assembly recognized Marshall for his achievements and allegiance in Christian ministry, public education and long-time business.
As a result of action taken by the General Assembly and the Department of Transportation, a stretch of highway in Orangeburg County bears his name: “Reverend Dr. Samuel Marshall Highway,” near Lake Marion High School.
Marshall was a school board trustee with the Holly Hill School District and later the Orangeburg Consolidated School District Three, serving for many years as school board chairman until his retirement in 2006.
State Sen. Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg) said he was the kind of individual who “when he spoke, people listened.”
“He was very much an influential leader in Holly Hill and in that school district during segregation and after the merger between Elloree and Holly Hill,” Hutto said.
State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) noted Marshall was “an institution” in the Holly Hill community and beyond.
“His contributions in the field of education and community were well known,” Cobb-Hunter said. “He will be missed.”
Marshall attended the public schools in St. George. He was a 1937 graduate of Voorhees High School in Denmark and continued his education at South Carolina State College (now University) where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and a Master of Education degree. He took pride in being the musical voice of “State College” while a student at the college. He began his career in education as principal of Ruffin High School in 1944 while still a student at South Carolina State College.
After graduating from State College, Marshall pursued his interest in agriculture, becoming the agricultural county agent for Clemson University in Newberry County. Not long after working in that capacity, Marshall became associated with Pratt’s Funeral Home and determined that funeral service would be among several calls he’d answer in life.
In 1949, he, with his father-in-law, Mr. Abraham M. Shuler, founded the Shuler-Marshall Funeral Home. He became the sole proprietor in 1955.
For a time Marshall relocated to New York City where he continued his aspiration of becoming a trained classical soloist. He was most proud of his solo concert performances in various venues, but especially singing as a minstrel artist during the Christmas holidays at the famed Macy’s Department Store.
In 1955, Marshall returned to South Carolina and became principal of Central High School, now Cross High School. He retired in 1972.
A call to Christian ministry was also not unfamiliar but Marshall resisted the call until 1954. By 1957, Marshall was preaching and serving in his pastoral role at Second Providence Baptist Church in Bowman.
Just one year later, Marshall accepted the additional role of shepherding the flock of Good Hope Baptist Church in St. George, where he also served as pastor. He served there for 53 years and was also named Pastor Emeritus, retiring at the age of 90. He also served as Moderator of Lovely Hill Baptist Association.
In addition, Marshall was a founding member of the Upper Dorchester Branch of the NAACP, where he served as an officer for many years.
He also served as a trustee of Morris College in Sumter for 18 years. In 1984, the college awarded him an honorary doctorate of divinity degree for his years of service.
Daughter and Orangeburg County Coroner, Samuetta Marshall, reflects on her father’s life by saying, “A life of service is the one that counts and my dad took pride in his life of service. He was an inspiration and encouraged his students, families, and parishioners. He embraced everyone.”
Shuler-Marshall Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements, which will be announced at a later date.
Samuetta Marshall also contributed to the story.