Subject: Spotlight Bill Marshall Vice President WRO
A Workers United RRJB Upstate New York, Union Member Contributions to Social Justice.
By Ed Laughlin, President, WRO Workers United
Bill Marshall is married to his beautiful wife Patty and they have three daughters Savine, Letitia and Katrice.
Bill was born in Trenton, New Jersey. His parents decided moved to Thomasville, Georgia. His Grandparents purchased a farm where they grew vegetables, tobacco, and cotton and had a variety of animals: hogs, cows, turkeys and chickens. Mr. Marshall came back to Rochester in 1965 and met his wife Patty in 1966. He was invited to her mother’s home for dinner with their family. Soon after the couple married.
He worked 1 year at Duffy-Motts Company. Mr. Marshall provided apples to a production line to over 300 women at Duffy Motts. He was successful in obtaining a job at Xerox corporation in 1967. Mr. Marshall walked from Rochester N.Y. to Goodman Street then Clifford Avenue to 104 where he proceeded to walk all the way to Xerox Corporation every morning for next month. After that, Bill made a new friend that was willing to drive him to work.
Mr. Marshall was asked to be the lead organizer for Habitat for Humanity in 1984. Xerox corporation had requested that Mr. Marshall lead the project. He told his supervisor that he was asked to lead this project. His supervisor said that’s for “managers” and needed to get confirmation. The supervisor came back to Mr. Marshall and said I stand corrected; you are the lead organizer for Habitat for Humanity. He was given one year to organize Habitat for Humanity. The program would provide housing for low-income families here in Rochester NY. Families would have to dedicate 500 hours of work and could ask for help from any other family members to work on the home. The term “Sweat Equity” was born. Mr. Marshall went to work immediately asking his wife Patty to be secretary, she volunteered. Mrs. Marshall had the responsibility of entering all the contacts’ names, addresses and telephone numbers. All these entries were done manually.
In 1984 Roger Cross and wife Barbara Cross founded Flower City Habitat for Humanity in Rochester NY. Roger, Barbara, and Bill all worked together to make presentations and get support from churches and other community organizations. They continued to reach out to carpenters, electricians & plumbers. They needed the support from lawyers and congregations to help financially build this project.
“The duty of an organizer is to provide people with the opportunity to work for what they believe in.” says Marshall.
In the mid 80s, Mr. Marshall and Roger Cross asked Isaac Heating to supply all the heating systems and labor to all the homes at no cost. Isaac Heating was proud to support this project.
Mr. Marshall was successful in building two duplexes within four months. He was eight months ahead of schedule. The new homeowners only needed to bring their furniture and clothing.
As of April 2020, flower city habitat has built or renovated over 240 homes!
Mr. Marshall was an activist traveling to Seattle Washington and Atlanta Georgia for conventions for Habitat for Humanity. A group went to Vermont to meet Bernie Sanders. When they arrived, they were told they could meet with Mr. Sanders for 10 or 15 minutes. They said, “No, we came all this way we’re going to stay overnight and we’re going to meet with Mr. Sanders tomorrow to discuss how he won the election.” His group wanted to learn how he had defeated the Democrats and Republicans. Mr. Sandler’s ran for Mayor on the Independent Party line and won. Mr. Sanders’s campaign benefitted from the grass-roots methods of volunteers knocking on doors, phone banking, and organizing.
Mr. Marshall and his wife Patty now live in the historical neighborhood of Susan B. Anthony. They meet a variety of people from all around the world. Many of the visitors visit the home of Susan B Anthony. The focal point is a bronze sculpture created by artist Pepsy Kettavong of Susan B Anthony and Frederick Douglass in the park named “Let’s Have Tea” erected in 2001. Bill and Patty recommend everyone to visit and learn about the history of Susan B Anthony.
There are live tours of the home:
Susan B. Anthony House
17 Madison St. Rochester NY 14608
phone (585) 235-6124
Bill Marshall has been a WRO Board member for the past three years. He is currently the Vice President of the WRO. He’s a retired union member with Workers United and RRJB with 30 years of service. Mr. Marshall is also a member of the AFL CIO Retirees Organization.
*An interesting fact:
Mr. Marshall also was a model for Barbizon school!
He has dedicated his life to helping Union families and the Rochester community families. He has devoted thousands of hours in the political arena in presidential elections, federal, state and local elections. Mr. Marshall has attended numerous meetings, knocked on doors, made phone calls, and put up lawn signs. That’s “GOVT” getting out the vote! He also monitored voting booths in the 1960s.
Mr. Marshall and his family are so well respected, Mr. Mario Cuomo Senior and Louise Slaughter ask for their support. Mr. Como went to their home; he was running for Governor in New York State. Mr. Cuomo personally asked for support and needed help with his campaign here in Rochester, New York. Bill & Patty Accepted. TV cameras were present filming the event.
Bill and Patty attend the church, God’s Holy Temple. They participate and volunteer for the church.
Bill, you have Honored Martin Luther King’s legacy and Black Lives Matter! You are a Leader, Organizer and Activist! Thank you for your dedication. Ed Laughlin President WRO Workers United