Eric Shane Marsh, 43, loving husband and dedicated son, was a jack of all trades and a master of many.
Born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina, Eric graduated with honors from Ashe Central High, where he was a running back on the football team. After graduating from Appalachian State with a degree as a biologist/naturalist, Eric worked and excelled at several jobs, but the one that really grabbed his heart was wildland firefighting. Eric cut his wildland teeth with the Globe Hotshots and worked several years with that crew out of the Tonto National Forest. Eric had a great love for the outdoors as was evidenced by his diverse list of hobbies and pastimes.
Eric was a rock and ice climber who proposed to his wife on an ice climbing trip to Ouray, CO. He was an equestrian with a great love for his horse "Shorty," a skier and ski patroller at Sunrise Mountain, fisherman, motorcyclist, and avid cyclist and mountain biker.
He had lately been competing in endurance mountain bike races and most recently competed in a 24-hour mountain bike race as part of a four-person relay team. He and a friend had recently made a pact to compete in the next 24-hour race as solo competitors. Eric loved being in the woods and thrived on pushing his body to its limits.
Eric took pride in everything he did and excelled in his pursuits. He was a talented tile setter, stone mason, and gifted welder/fabricator. He joined the City of Prescott in 2003 as part of the Fuels Management Crew and then started to work toward building a city-sponsored wildland team. The development of the Granite Mountain Hotshots became a focus and goal of Eric's and he was an instrumental part of the organization and certification of the team. His passion for wildland firefighting and desire to share his almost 20 years of knowledge and experience put him in a position to help start the Arizona Wildfire Academy (initially operating out of his living room), where he taught basic firefighting, Squad Boss, and leadership classes. He took pride in his ability to share that knowledge and experience with the young firefighters and liked to say that working on the crew "turned boys into men." He was so well known for his quotes and sayings that his crew started to write down his "Eric-isms".
Eric's wife Amanda and his parents John and Jane would most want Eric be remembered as a compassionate, good-hearted, loyal, and generous man of integrity who loved his family and his life, and who loved being a Granite Mountain Hotshot.
Marsh was superintendent of the Hotshot crew and the oldest of the 19 who died.
"He was great - he was the best at what he did," said Leanna Racquer, the ex-wife of his cousin. "He is awesome and well-loved and they are hurting," she said of his family. Marsh was married but had no children, said his cousin, Scott Marsh, of Pisgah Forest, NC. His father, John Marsh, told the Jefferson Post newspaper in Jefferson, NC, that his only child "was a great son. He was compassionate and caring about his crew."
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