On Sept. 13, New Albany City Councilman Dr. Glyde Marsh will hit triple digits.

And although Marsh has spent nearly three decades of those 100 years as a council member -- he took office 25 years ago in 1993 -- his dedication to service stretches back even further.

When he moved to the New Albany community in 1946, it was a village of 290 people, Marsh said.

Since then, the local police department has grown and the road system has improved, he said.

New Albany became a city in 2011, after the 2010 census certified it had exceeded the minimum population of 5,000 for the new status.

All of the changes that have occurred as the village grew to a city have been beneficial for residents, Marsh said, and the city has received little complaints.

"It's a wonderful place to live," he said.


Born in 1918, Marsh grew up on a small chicken farm in Lake County, east of Cleveland. He graduated from Cleveland's Collinwood High School in 1936.

He attended Ohio State University, where he majored in marketing, and he took a job in 1941 with Carnegie Illinois Steel Co. after graduating that year.

Marsh said he was one of eight graduates the steel company chose from a pool of 4,000, and the seven others had graduated from Ivy League schools.

"So I was the oddball," Marsh said.

But things changed soon thereafter.

Shortly after his hiring, the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor occurred and the United States joined World War II.

Marsh was in ROTC as an undergrad and was called to active duty after Pearl Harbor, he said.

The steel company offered him an exemption from service, but he refused, he said.

Marsh joined the U.S. Army as a military police officer and served from December 1941 to January 1946, said New Albany city spokesman Scott McAfee.

He entered the service as a second lieutenant and retired as a lieutenant colonel, McAfee said.

During his service, Marsh said, he helped liberate two concentration camps in Germany after the country's surrender.

"It was a pitiful sight," he said. "The people were just skin and bones."

After the war, Marsh came to New Albany and has served in every local election as a poll worker, with the exception of one in the 1950s, McAfee said. Marsh had broken his leg the night before the election as he was delivering tables and chairs for the event, McAfee said.

Marsh returned to Ohio State to study medicine but decided instead to become a veterinarian specializing in poultry. He also served as an Ohio State faculty member for 24 years until 1985.

As a poultry practitioner, Marsh said, he still works three days a week, driving all over the state for clients.

"I really enjoy working with poultry and poultry people," Marsh said. "They are the cream of the crop, in my opinion, and I can spend hours with chickens."

Until he was 95 years old, Marsh drove 35,000 miles annually for his vet service, McAfee said.

Marsh's upbringing on a chicken farm "just always stuck with him," McAfee said.

So did his penchant for service.

Public servant

From 1954 to 1964, Marsh spent a decade serving on the school board for what was then known as the Plain Local School District, where his children Mary Margaret McClure and Glyde Marsh Jr. attended.

Marsh described his wife, Margaret, as his "guiding light." The two were married for 53 years before she died in 1995.

Like her husband, she was involved in community government, volunteering for the Franklin County Republican Party.

Nancy Ferguson, a former New Albany mayor and council member who met Marsh in 1998 when she was appointed to the council, describes him as the "quintessential public servant."

During his many years on the school board and the council, Marsh rarely missed a meeting, except when council meetings were on the same night as the elections, Ferguson said.

Sometimes, Marsh, who also has served as an election judge in several Plain Township voting precincts, would close the polls, report information to the Franklin County Board of Elections by delivering the ballot information to downtown Columbus and then drive back to New Albany and attend the end of a council meeting, she said.

Marsh's dedication was recognized by the Ohio House of Representatives in 2014, when he was 95.

"I wanted to recognize Dr. Marsh for his commitment to the community and his dedication to public service after all these years," state Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) said at the time.

Gonzales' staff checked with the Ohio Legislative Service Commission to determine if Marsh was the oldest elected official in the state. Gonzales' aide, Christopher Corder, said the commission did not know of anyone older than Marsh currently in office in Ohio at the time.

Mayor Sloan Spalding, who met Marsh in 2009 during his council bid, said Marsh's community engagement is "something that I admire about him the most."

Marsh helped lead plans to build a new Village Hall in 1999, Ferguson said, and he was a supporter of the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

When he looks to the future of New Albany, Marsh said, the city has about another two years before commercial growth will become difficult.

At that point, he said, the city's expenses will catch up with its revenue, and the local government will need to be more conservative with its spending.

Throughout his life, Marsh has chosen to support important ideas and initiatives, said Plain Township trustee Dave Olmstead, a former council member who has known Marsh since the late '90s.

One of the initiatives Marsh supported, along with other council members, Olmstead said, was the conversion of the Abercrombie and Fitch headquarters site from residential to commercial land.

The rezoning was a transformative event for the community, Olmstead said, because the development was the cornerstone of the New Albany International Business Park.

When Olmstead served alongside Marsh on council from 2004 to 2007, he had Marsh swear him in, an act he would later repeat when Olmstead became a township trustee in 2009, Olmstead said.

Marsh is an example of someone who is always willing to share his experience with others, Olmstead said.

"His breadth of knowledge is amazing," he said.

The city will celebrate Marsh's birthday with a public celebration at 2 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, 150 W. Main St.