Jack Marsh

[ Age 78 ] He served as a news photographer and director for Maryland and Washington TV stations.

November 11, 2006|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,sun reporter

Jack Marsh, a retired award-winning news photographer who chased fires and accidents for Baltimore and Washington television stations, died Sunday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center after suffering a fall at his Hampden home. He was 78.

"He was a great Baltimore character," said WJZ-TV's Ron Matz. "Everybody really enjoyed being around him. The news was in his blood, and he loved to chase fires."

Born Roland Walter Marsh in Baltimore and known as Jack, he was raised on Hickory Avenue in Hampden. After quitting junior high school, he lied about his age to join the Navy during World War II. He served aboard a submarine.

After the war, he moved to New York and tried acting as well as television work. He appeared in Mister Roberts at the Alvin Theater and worked on the staff of The Tonight Show with Steve Allen.

Mr. Marsh returned to Baltimore and became a WJZ-TV cameraman in the 1950s. The Baltimore Press Photographers awarded him its 1960 top prizes in its newsreel and spot news competitions. In addition to his television camera, Mr. Marsh carried a still camera and took the award-winning shot of the aftermath of a Bowie holdup. His still work occasionally appeared in local newspapers.

He left the Baltimore television station in 1963 to join the news department of WTOP, Channel 9, in Washington and later worked in the Washington bureau of NBC News. In an era when rules of conflict of interest were less stringent, he covered Capitol Hill for the network and occasionally did free-lance assignments as a still photographer for the White House.

In the mid-1960s he left television work briefly to become the public relations spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Welfare Department.

In 1968, he was a member of an NBC-sponsored advisory team that assisted with the opening of a TV station in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Marsh trained Saudi personnel in the techniques of news filming, camera work, lighting and program production.

In the 1970s, he was a spokesman for the Maryland State Police. He later returned to television as a free-lance cameraman. A 1980 Evening Sun article reported that Mr. Marsh, then working for WBAL-TV, helped city Fire Department members locate a 6-year-old boy who had slipped into the Jones Falls while attempting to retrieve a shoe. Mr. Marsh aimed a bright light on the waters to assist in the rescue effort. The child later died.

In the 1980s, he was news director for WMDT-TV in Salisbury.

After retiring about five years ago, he formed a production company and was preparing a pilot of a television reality show to be called Fireline.

Services were held yesterday in Hampden.

Survivors include his wife of 24 years, the former Joyce Davidson; two sons, Jon Marsh of Farmington, N.M., and Gregory Marsh of Baltimore; three daughters, Kelley Hatch of Kingsport, Tenn., Alyssa Netter of Summerville, S.C., and Jacklyn Marsh of Baltimore; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. His marriage to the former Ava Jackson ended in divorce.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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