In Memorium, Jessica Christine Marsh, February 12, 1986 to January 26, 1993, (c) 1993 Stephen R. Marsh


When my daughter Jessica was little she used to need to be told stories to help her go to sleep. Later, even when she did not need the stories, she liked to listen to her two favorite stories. I will share them with you now.

Once upon a time there was a house with four windows and four doors. The first window looked out on the mountains. The second window looked out on the forest and the trees. The third window looked out on the sea and on the beach and the fourth window looked out on the highway that went South into the city. This is the story of the house with four windows and four doors.

There was a man who went on a mission. When he was twenty, he met two people who had a beautiful three year old girl. He decided that he had to get married and have a girl of his very own. After years and years he finally was married. A year and a month after the wedding he had a daughter and named her Jessica. After three years she was the most beautiful three year old in the world. This is the story of your Daddy and the daughter he always wanted.

Those were Jessica's two favorite stories. Her favorite color was pink, with ribbons and bows, her favorite candy bar was Snickers. Her favorite story book was Disney's Sleeping Beauty, which I used to tell her was the story of three fairies named Red, Blue and Green, a beautiful princess named Jessica and her Mommy and Daddy. I changed the story a bit, but always told it the same way, using the illustrations in the book to tell her how much we loved her.

Jessica loved those things that she had known and that she had owned the most or that had personal meaning to her. Her three favorite toys were Russie Bear -- which she received from Camp Fire; Lorica -- a little doll her grandmother Marsh made and who Jessica named by combining her own name and the name of a friend; and Ginger Bear -- a ginger colored teddy bear grandma Joyce gave her. She always slept with them and will sleep with them still, wrapped in her favorite blanket, wearing her favorite plum color dress, and with the slouch hat she loved.

She loved two videos. Les Miserables she loved so much that she even wrote her name on it so that everyone would know that the story of a man and his blond haired daughter was her story. She also loved The Little Mermaid. When she found out that we were originally going to name her Ariel she couldn't make up her mind whether to change her name or not.

Jessica was named for Jessica Smoot, a little English girl who was a good friend with Win as a child. Her middle name, Christine, was taken from Win's best friend as a teenager. She got her last name from her father (who did not have any girl friends he felt like naming his first born daughter after).

She loved to swim and when the family went windsurfing she loved to ride on the front of the board.

My best memories of her involve her sisters. Recently, Jessica would wake up to find baby Courtney playing on her bed. That would delight Jessica who would play and smile in the mornings, even after staying up too late -- if she had her baby sister to play with. Letting the baby wake Jessica up was by far the easiest way I have ever found to wake up a tired child and I hope they meet again with such delight on resurrection morning. Jessica was brave. I often called her my brave little toaster. Once, she had gotten carried away and made a terrible mess playing with things she had been told not to touch. Her sister Heather had wandered in just before I discovered the problem. I came in the room and there was Heather playing in the midst of a great mess.

I was about to discipline Heather when Jessica ran in the room and burst into tears, telling me to punish her instead since she had broken the rules and it was all her fault. She really, really did not want to be punished, but she knew what was right and what was wrong and she loved her sister Heather too much to stand by quietly.

Jessica was bright. Her biggest problem was that she learned things so quickly and naturally that she at times forgot that she had to learn to do things. When she had to learn she would express surprise and dismay at the fact that she couldn't just do, or just remember, how to do something new. I still remember her telling me that she was sure that she had always been able to read, something she loved to do. Often at night she would sit and read on her bed for an hour or more.

Most precious of anything she read was the scriptures. She surprised me one day by asking for her own set which she began to read before first grade began. Her favorite verse was the one she read first where the book fell open on her very own set. While Alma 31:2 is not the verse most people would memorize, Jessica would always read it first and then go on to read the part she was reading for the day. Those scriptures are with her still.

I loved her very much. When she was a young baby and could not sleep from the colic, I would just rock her, and when I could do nothing else I would talk to her to let her know that I loved her but was powerless to do anything but love her and rock her. Later at night, when she could not sleep I used to tell her stories, rock her and tell her I loved her. I would try to drive her to school at least once a week and since self-employed I often checked in late at the office from staying home a little too long in the morning playing with the girls.

At the end she was very, very sick. In spite of the good medical care, managed by a caring doctor, there came a time when the machines would no longer sustain her, not even for another hour. Then, as when she was a baby, all I could do was hold her, and rock her, and tell her I loved her.

She was the daughter I had always wanted and now she is in a house with as many doors and windows as she needs. I can only say that I love her.


Born February 12, 1986 10:16 A.M. Wichita General Hospital Died January 26, 1993 6:10 P.M. Dallas Children's Hospital.

No words capture her
No quote suffices
No image is complete
Yet she was
Yet she is
Yet she will be


Jessica Christine Marsh, 6-year-old daughter of Steve and Win Marsh of Wichita Falls, died Tuesday in a Dallas Hospital. Services will be at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints York Street Chapel with Bishop Lewis Humbert officiating. Burial will be in Rosemont Cemetery under the direction of Lunn's Colonial Funeral Home. She was born February 12, 1986 in Wichita Falls, where she was a lifetime resident. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

She attended Jefferson Elementary School where she was on the honor roll. She attended Crews Yamaha School of Music. She was a member of Camp Fire and CTR-A Children's Church class. She was a volunteer at Faith Mission. Jessica had a thirst for knowledge. She loved science, music, and reading. She enjoyed helping those in need. Jessica loved the Lord and tried to follow Him in all that she did. She was a leader by nature and believed strongly in being diligent and correct. We love and miss her so very very much.

Other survivors include two sisters, Heather Nicole and Courtney Kathleen, both of Wichita Falls; paternal grandparents LeRoy R. Marsh and Daphne I. Marsh of Lancaster, California; and maternal grandparents George L. and Joyce R. Wallace of Chewela, Washington. Visitation will be from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Kemp Public Library or Jefferson Elementary School Library.

THE FUNERAL January 29, 1993

More than eighty people visited the house the day after Jessica died. More than 700 people attended the funeral and the immediate family lost count of the kindnesses done them following the publishing of the obituary. The grandmothers kept records for the family to use in sending thank you notes. It was truly overwhelming.

Several people enabled the parents and siblings to survive the long course of hospital and intensive care unit stretches. The family owes the Prince, Burroughs, Green, Chaddick, Warnock, and Jefferson Elementary School Families all more than can be said.


Jessica was diagnosed with ARDS which is a symptom that can have over one hundred causes. ARDS (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome) is marked by lung failure -- generally markedly reduced levels of surfactant and inflammation of the intralung surfaces. Oxygen does not travel well through the lung surface (which becomes almost impermeable) and the lungs lose their compliance.

She had been treated for the flu the day before Christmas and was admitted to the hospital the Sunday following Christmas. She died on her parents eighth wedding anniversary after a month of treatment in Intensive Care Units (Wichita General Hospital, Fort Worth Children's [Cook's] and Children's Medical Center of Dallas [Parkland]).

She had good medical care, with the majority of her course followed by Dan Levin as her attending physician.

Several times it seemed that her condition was improving so dramatically that those around her experienced an excess of hope and relief. Several times the situation was so dire that it seemed all hope was lost. Her funeral was relieved by pictures from a happier time. The direct cause of her death was liver failure from antibiotic poisoning due to failure to monitor drug levels over a weekend.  She went from recovering to failure in that time period and after the liver failure started, it was too late.

At present there is still no established etiology, though there are suppositions as to what caused the ARDS.

Memorials in her name were established at the Kemp Public Library (1300 Lamar, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301), The Jefferson Elementary Library (4628 Mistletoe Drive, Wichita Falls, Texas 76310) and Bank One.


For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

2 Nephi 25:24

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge..

Ephesians 3:19

And he said unto me: knowest thou the condescension of God?

And I said unto him: I know that He loveth His children, nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

1 Nephi 11:16-17

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