John McClellan Marshall was born October 9, 1943, at the Florence Nightingale Hospital in Dallas, Texas, the second son of LTC Samuel Wilson Marshall, Jr. (USAF, Ret.) and Frances Louisa McClellan Marshall. On his father's side, he was the third generation in the Park Cities, and on his mother's, the fifth generation in Texas. His older brother, Samuel Wilson Marshall III was born in Dallas, September 8, 1934, and was a 1955 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, later attaining his Ph. D. degree in physics from Tulane University.
Judge Marshall's father, a 1925 engineering graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, was born February 21, 1905, in Dallas, Texas, the son of Samuel Wilson Marshall, an 1893 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a lawyer, and his wife Agnes Harwood Nelson Marshall, who, in 1908 built the first house in the Town of Highland Park at 3601 Lexington Avenue. His mother was born August 4, 1908, in Coleman, Texas, the daughter of Claud McClellan, the captain of the first football team fielded by Texas Christian University and Maud Elizabeth Lewis. Colonel Marshall attended graduate school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served during World War II first in the Ordnance Corps where, as head of the Small Arms Division, he designed the M1 Carbine, caliber .30. He later transferred to the Army Air Corps and as a major commanded a B-17 Bomber Group in England during which assignment he commanded a mission that flew non-stop from England to Cairo to Gibraltar and back to test radar navigation systems. During the Korean War, he was recalled to service at the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, flying B-29 missions from Japan. While serving in a civilian capacity for the Operations Research Office, he was shot down in February 1951, becoming one of the few, if not the only, civilian recipient of the Purple Heart. Mrs. Marshall, a 1929 honors graduate of the University of Texas, attended Columbia University and North Texas State University [now the University of North Texas] in music and was one of the founders of Pro Musica an organization of professional musicians in Dallas. She served as a teacher in the Highland Park School District for nearly twenty-five years, commencing in 1952, retiring when her eyesight began to fail.
Judge Marshall grew up in University Park, spending the first five years of his life at the family home at 3104 Lovers Lane, built by his parents in 1938, the first house on the north side of Lovers Lane in that block. He entered school at the age of five in Mrs. Gaither's first grade and attended University Park Elementary School for the second through the fourth grades, after which he transferred to Armstrong School through the sixth grade. While at Highland Park High School, he participated in ROTC and attended Camp Dallas for three years, rising to the rank of cadet second lieutenant in the band. Academically, he was described by his mother as "an indifferent student," but he had a good time.
Upon graduation from Highland Park in 1961, Judge Marshall entered Virginia Military Institute during which time he participated in the G.E.College Bowl team fielded by VMI in 1964 that set a record for the highest number of points ever scored on the program. He was the third highest ranking graduate in History in 1965, but he was most honored by being elected by his Brother Rats to be the Valedictorian. He was further recognized for his contributions as a cadet by being selected as a member of the Beta Commission of Kappa Alpha Order, which he later served as President of the North Texas Alumni. He entered graduate school at Vanderbilt University in the autumn of 1965, having received an NDEA Title IV Fellowship, and he completed the master's degree in history in August 1966. His thesis, The Sparks of TORCH: The Anglo-American Invasion of French North Africa November 1942, was recognized as one of the most authoritative on the subject, since it included his first-hand interview with General Dwight D. Eisenhower conducted in the summer of 1966. The following year he taught summer school at Memphis State University [now University of Memphis], followed by the publication of an article on international law, The Black Wake of the Torrey Canyon in the US Naval Institute Proceedings in 1967. In 1968 he was invited to return to VMI as a member of the Department of History.
In 1970, Judge Marshall accepted a position as an associate historian at Florida Institute of Technology as part of the Apollo Program at Kennedy Space Center where he participated in writing the history of launch operations of the Apollo/Saturn V space vehicle. During this time, he delivered a paper on the technical aspects of the launch operations at the International Astronautical Congress in Brussels in 1971. His work in this field was later recognized in 1994 by election as a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. Shortly after this, he was hired by McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company to be a technical instructor on the Skylab Program at KSC where he taught engineers and technicians about the spacecraft and how to prepare it for flight.
Following the launch of the Skylab, Judge Marshall returned to Dallas where he enrolled at the SMU School of Law [now Dedman School of Law of the Southern Methodist University], receiving his Juris Doctor degree in December 1975. He then entered private law practice with the firm of Norton and Morrison, becoming a named partner in July 1976 contemporaneous with his assumption of his first judicial office as Judge of the Municipal Court of Muenster, Texas, where he served until 1981. In 1980, at the urging of many of his law school classmates and the request of the Dallas County Republican Party, he stood for election to the Fourteenth Judicial District Court in Dallas. He was elected, becoming the first Republican in the history of Dallas County to defeat an incumbent Democrat. He was a Charter and Life Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation and a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, among other professional activities.
During his tenure on the Fourteenth, Judge Marshall disposed of over 23,000 cases, presided over more than 500 jury trials to verdict [no hung juries or mistrials], and was sustained on appeal in 67% of the cases appealed from his decisions [600 appeals]. Among his most noteworthy cases are the Parkland AIDS case in 1988 in which he ordered the county hospital to provide AZT to AIDS patients on the same basis as other drugs, the Dallas Gun Club case that enjoined live pigeon shoots as not being "sport", and the Tennison Park golf course case that enjoined the city from bulldozing ancient oak trees in order to make a more "friendly" golf course [the city ignored the order, but was never cited for contempt]. He is the only judge in Dallas County history to serve as Presiding Judge of the Civil District Courts, Presiding Judge of Dallas County, Local Administrative Judge, and Local Administrative District Judge. In 1986, he became the judge of the Dallas County Medical-Legal Emergency Assistance Project, in which capacity he served the emergency medical personnel of Dallas County by issuing appropriate lifesaving orders in emergency situations in which the patient could not give consent. In 1995, Judge Marshall was invited by the then-Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom, Lord Woolf, to be a contributor to the Access to Justice project of reform of the court administrative and civil procedure system in the UK. Judge Marshall was the only state trial court judge invited from the United States, and his contributions formed the basis for reform of the administrative system in the courts of Australia some years later. Starting in 1996 and continuing after his retirement in 2001, he co-authored West's Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Annotated. He was the author of more than a hundred articles and speeches that dealt with legal ethics and professionalism as well as military and Constitutional history, for which he was widely recognized and received the George Washington Honor Medal of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. He served the profession as a member of the board of directors of the College of the State Bar, becoming a Fellow of the College and a frequent CLE lecturer. In 1999, he received the first award for a legal article granted by the College. Following his retirement from office in 2001, he served as a visiting judge in Harris County and later was assigned as a judge of the Sabine Valley Child Protection Court until 2004. After that, he founded MC2 Legal, PLLC, a grouping of senior and retired judges engaging in special judging pursuant to Chapter 151, TCPRC, the first of its kind in the United States.
Since 1993, Judge Marshall has engaged in teaching a course in American Legal Studies at the Marie Curie Sklodowska University (UMCS) in Lublin, Poland. The course consists of lectures on American political and Constitutional history, completed by a demonstration jury trial in which the students serve as jurors, witnesses, and attorneys under the guidance of Judge Marshall and lawyers who volunteer to come from the United States to participate. He also established the first Inn of Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity in Europe in 2001, which was named by the students in his honor. PDP has since grown to three active inns, two of which are in Germany. In 2004, he became the first American and the first from the law faculty to be granted the title of Honorary Professor of the University at UMCS. In addition to lecturing at UMCS, he has lectured at other universities in Poland as well as Romania, Belarus and Germany.
While at Vanderbilt University, Judge Marshall met and on December 28, 1966 in Dallas married Mary Lynn Graves of Gallatin, Tennessee. They have two daughters: Alexandra Elizabeth Mary, born December 22, 1980, and Victoria Joanna Mary, born December 14, 1983, who captured his heart to his eternal delight and for whom his love never failed. Early on the morning of August 6, 1991, their home was invaded by a neighbor whom he had ordered released from a mental institution some ten years earlier. In the course of this event, the attacker shot and killed a paper delivery person in front of the residence before breaking into the judge's house [the attacker was later acquitted on grounds of insanity]. Mary Lynn and Victoria hid in a closet for three and a half hours while the judge talked to the attacker and convinced him to go outside without finding or harming them. Their older daughter, Alexandra, was attending Girl Scout camp in East Texas during this episode. The impact on the family was devastating in the long run, and it contributed to a separation in late 1996. The Marshalls were divorced in 1997. He married Linda Anne Krummenacher Beitsch, and they divorced in 1998.
While employed as a mediator/arbitrator with JAMS in 2001, he literally bumped into Jamie Lynn Hamner, and they were married on October 13, 2003, at the Memorial Garden of VMI in Lexington, Virginia, to the amazement of many and the delight of his daughters [his older daughter inquired simply, "Is she older than I am?"]. She was a second generation Californian, and it says something that she was willing to give up California to move to Texas and be with Judge Marshall. Why she did only she knows, but he always was glad that she did for the joy that she brought to his life.
Starting in 1976, he participated in the reunion committee for his high school class. Later, he helped organize a non-profit corporation composed of his classmates to provide scholarships to deserving students at Highland Park, and he served as President and Chairman from 1986 through the fiftieth reunion in 2011. Judge Marshall, as a descendant of Chief Justice John Marshall, was an Hereditary Member of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia and founded the Lone Star Association of the Society in Texas in 1974. He also was a member of the Sons of the Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution [serving as president of the Brevard FL and Dallas Chapters], Sons of Confederate Veterans, Sons of the Republic of Texas, Society of the War of 1812. He also held the Grand Cross of the Order Polonia Restituta [from the Second Republic of Poland in Exile], Commander of the Most Venerable Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in the British Realm, and Knight [de onore] de jure sanguinis of the Sacred and Military Constantinian Order of St. George [Madrid] (with the style "don" or "Sir"). His arms are registered with the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland and in Burke's International Registry of Arms [#127]. In 1996, his hereditary right to the Polish rank and style of "xiaze" was established. He was also a member of Mensa.
Judge Marshall served as an officer in the Texas State Guard, initially in the Judge Advocate General Corps. In 1994 he was appointed as Inspector General and promoted to the rank of colonel which he held until his retirement in 1997. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal, the second highest decoration granted by the State of Texas for military service. He was recalled to active service for a period of two weeks in 2005 to serve as a General Staff liaison officer during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort where his job was to provide lodging and various other facilities for guardsmen and evacuees.
Continuing a long family tradition, Judge Marshall in 1974 became a Master Mason, later joining the Scottish and York Rites. In 1993, his service to the Scottish Rite was recognized by his being granted the rank and decoration of a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor. He later served the Dallas Scottish Rite Bodies as the General Secretary in 2005 and as an officer of the Bodies starting in 2009. In 2011, he was elected to receive the Thirty-Third Degree, Inspector General Honorary, of the Scottish Rite, and he was coronetted in August 2011. A lifelong member of the Episcopal Church, Judge Marshall served as an acolyte, lay reader, chalice bearer, Sunday school superintendent, and vestryman. In 1996, he embarked upon a healing ministry in the Order of St. Luke the Physician, of which he became a life member. After leaving the bench, in response to a lifelong sense of a "call", he sought a formal ministry and was ordained as a priest in The Anglican Diocese of Texas where he served as Canon to the Ordinary, commencing in 2009. In March 2010, he was elected to serve as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese. He succeeded as II Bishop Ordinary on June 12, 2010 upon the death of his predecessor.
His hobbies included sailboat racing [at which he never finished better than third], sports cars, and learning to fly sailplanes [though Jamie never quite approved of that]. In 1983 he undertook the study of tae kwon do, achieving a second degree black belt five years later, and he always credited that with helping him to stop smoking.
When asked about Judge Marshall, an attorney from another state said, "He is probably one of the toughest judges in the state to appear before, because he loves the law and enjoys talking with lawyers about it, though he listens and is fair. He does not suffer fools at all. As for biases, if you come before him representing children or the First Amendment, you probably will win." It was generally known that the worst thing an attorney could do was to lie to or mislead Judge Marshall. He always said that it was his goal as a judge that the lawyers who appeared before him would go away feeling like they had been given the opportunity to perform at their professional best, the litigants would go away feeling like they had been heard, and that the visitors would go away believing that this was what the highest level of trial court should be. Whether or not he achieved that goal is for others to say. On his career as a judge, he quoted Beowulf, "I took what came, cared for and stood by things in my keeping, never fomented quarrels, never swore to a lie. All this consoles me. . . ."