Published April 2019
Robert Marshall went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, March 31, 2019, with family and friends by his side. He was 96 years old.
Robert was born on April 13, 1922, in Chitina, Alaska, to parents Bob and Maude (Charley) Marshall. He spent his young years in Chitina. After the death of his father, Robert was raised by his uncle “Bear Jack” Marshall. He married Mae Goodlataw on April 13, 1946. Robert and Mae built their home in Tazlina, Alaska, in 1964, where they raised their four children: Lucille, Elmer, Judy and Norma. Robert was a proud grandfather of many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Robert provided for his family using the cultural and traditional values of his youth. He was a successful hunter and fisherman. He was an expert in designing and building many fish wheels. He passed on his love of the outdoors to his children and grandchildren.
Robert retired after 40 years of service to the Alaska Department of Transportation. A well-known and respected Ahtna Athabascan leader, Robert tirelessly served his people. His leadership was recognized throughout Alaska, earning him the prestigious AFN Citizen of the Year award and the honor of the Copper River Native Association naming their new headquarters “The Robert Marshall Building.”
Robert was preceded in death by his parents; siblings Herbert Marshall, Thomas Pete, Agnes Taylor, Etta Bell and Mary Bell; his beloved wife, Mae, just over a year ago; and in the past nine years, he and his wife endured the passing of their three youngest children: Norma, Elmer and Judy. He is survived by daughter Lucille Thomas (Jim Williams); his son-in-law, Roy Yates; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A Tribute from Ahtna
A well-known and respected Ahtna leader, Robert Marshall served his people in various capacities throughout his life and was instrumental in the formation of Ahtna and the Copper River Native Association (CRNA).
Even his traditional name ‘Kensal canan’, which means “Leader Man comes back with a boat,” highlights his leadership qualities. Robert’s contributions to the Ahtna people lives on through the cultural and traditional knowledge he readily shared; he spoke of his wish that traditional Ahtna practices and protocol be followed correctly and passed on to the next generation. He frequently ended his speeches by recognizing the potential of the younger generations and encouraging them to step up and be leaders for the good of the Ahtna people.
“Robert laid a solid foundation for Ahtna to thrive as a company, and we are forever grateful for the strong leadership, traditional knowledge and guidance he gave over his lifetime,” said Ahtna chair Ken Johns.
Words from Robert Marshall’s president speech: “Ahtna: a new corporation” Ahtna, Inc.’s first Annual Meeting, April 13, 1974
“With this first annual report, your Ahtna corporation prepares to take the final organizational steps that will lead our company and its stockholders, no matter where they live, to a permanent place in the future of Alaska.
I hope that you’ll regard this report as more than a souvenir of a successful, century-long struggle. Securing the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was the first long step taken together in a common purpose. But, it was only a small part of what we can now accomplish to realize the wealth offered by this land and the boundless energy of its people.”