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Tom Marston

Love, Laughter and Service


Tom, a retired minister, shared a career of joy filled experiences as he served various churches.  Ministers officiate at many weddings and memorial services always intent to meet the expectations and needs of those involved.


During his early ministry in a New York Appalachian area, he served a very socially complex community with families financially poor and uneducated to families with money resources and multiple higher educational degrees. It was the early 1970’s and the “hippie era” was blossoming. While presiding over a characteristic “Ma and Pa Kettle” wedding in the church as he pronounced the couple married, the large crowd of 60 or so folks all popped open their 60 Genesee Beer Cans! A celebration to remember.


The old song, “Flowers in her hair” described another similar era wedding being held outside by a beautiful glade. As music indicated it was time for the bride to come out of the house, she processed out with many gorgeous flowers in her hair and not a stitch of clothes on! Again, a celebration to remember. 


At another time he was asked by an undertaker to officiate at a funeral. The families in the area were mixed French Roman Catholic and Protestant Scotch Irish. At the funeral the undertaker informed Tom that the deceased would be kept vigil at home for three days. On the day of the funeral, as the undertaker and Tom were going to the cemetery for the committal, the undertaker gave him smelling salts with the instructions to use them when the daughter threw herself on the casket.. True enough, the granddaughter threw herself on the  casket requiring the use of the smelling salts. A story of true deep grieving accepted by all. 


While serving his second church which was in Maine, he married a young couple who had been orphans. The wedding couple were without many resources including witnesses on that special day. So, Tom’s wife and the organist stepped. The couple lacking financial resources were gifted by the church with enough money to have dinner and a night at a local inn.  As the celebration progressed in an old barn-like structure, outside the snow began to fall on this crisp winter scene. As delightful as the movie “White Christmas’!


He also presided over the wedding of a New Jersey couple who had met each other while working at summer jobs in the area.  Before the wedding, their fathers met with Tom and the manager of a local restaurant to plan the wedding and reception.  The fathers offered any amount of money necessary to the facility manager so that the wedding party could have the full restaurant, an open menu, and an open bar. On the day of the wedding, the parents left $25,000 in a paper sack for the manager! Following the wedding,  an envelope with $500 was placed in Tom’s pocket. More money than he had ever seen. Likely his only “mafia” wedding.


And finally, while serving in Portland, a young couple came to him requesting a wedding as soon as possible as the young man was very ill. The wedding was set for a week away but sadly the young man passed just a couple days before the date. Tom was asked to preside at the funeral and did so,  including granting the request to call the newly bereaved young woman the “wife” of the deceased. After all, in the eyes of God and all, this couple had been joined in love. 


Ministry, a gift to give love and receive true joy and laughter. 


Business Meeting:


Our meeting welcomed guests Doug Fowle, husband of our own Irene, and Byron Cortez, a soon-to-be-member, in his final days counted as a “guest.”


Plans to celebrate Chinese New Year instead of Valentine’s Day this year were discussed and announced. All will be encouraged to dress in the theme (Year of the Dragon or the color green). The Party Committee is checking schedules, and will announce the official night of the celebration soon.


The Sergeant at Arms accepted many sad dollars for the loss of beloved member Craig Tukey, as well as the recent loss of Mike’s dog, Snopes.


Reminders to sign up for People Power! Our club is lucky to have such a unique asset as our own club house, and these weekly tasks are how we serve each other. Please sign up next time on the People Power sheet (or the makeshift bank slip) that goes around, and encourage your table mates to join you.


Have a good week and join us for a surprise speaker next Thursday January 11th.