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Marshall Johnson Marble

Marshall J. Marble was born in 1912, the youngest of five children of Mary Virginia and Marshall Marble, Sr. Unfortunately, his father died a few months before his birth leaving a widow with five young children. Despite this challenging beginning to his life’s journey, Mr. Marble overcame adversity and poverty to become a successful entrepreneur and public servant. He was the first in his family and surrounding community to complete a college education which would ultimately culminate in the establishment of his own boat manufacturing company.

Earning a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Mississippi State College (University), he included woodworking and furniture making in his curriculum which would later serve him in his boat designs. During WWII, as a lieutenant in the US Navy, Marshall was directly involved in development, testing and installation of equipment on aircraft carriers and US Navy ships.

Upon returning to civilian status, he returned to the Gulf Coast and pursued maritime activities by establishing the Lucedale based “Marble Boat Manufacturing Company”, in 1946, and became involved in the community service activities. He was appointed as a charter member of the Jackson County Port Authority Board of Commissioners. On this board, he and six other members were responsible for creating and developing an Industrial Port at Bayou Casotte, MS, as well as a cargo port at Pascagoula, MS.

The Marble Boat Manufacturing Company was very modern for its time and produced extremely lightweight and tough boat hulls that promoted safety, beauty, and speed for fishing and recreational boating. The twelve and fourteen-foot crafts, made of molded veneer mahogany, were sold throughout the Gulf Coast area and through the Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogs. The facility offered affordable prices for the consumers and created jobs in the community, boosting a strained economy. With the company well-managed, Marshall accepted a civil engineering position with Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, Alabama, in 1956. However, in 1957, Ingall’s Shipbuilding secured a large contract to build 12 nuclear powered submarines. This increased need for a workforce pulled employees from Marble Boat to seek employment at the shipyard, so the decision was made to close the company in 1958.

It was this same year that Marshall married Hannah Elizabeth Greer and began their family of three children. In 1965, Marshall transferred his civil service career as an engineer back to Pascagoula, MS, in the role of Supervisor of Shipbuilding, U.S. Navy. Not losing his entrepreneurial spirit, he simultaneously established a farming business, Marble Nursery, which provided jobs for his children and other youths in the area. After almost 30 years of civil service, Marshall retired from the shipbuilding industry, but continued his farming work.

For his commitment to the maritime industry in both the recreational and national security capacity, as well as his contributions toward the growth of the Gulf Coast through his service on the Jackson County Port Authority, we recognize Marshall Johnson Marble in the Maritime & Seafood Industry’s Heritage Hall of Fame.


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