September 2, 1922 - February 24, 2018
George Marshall Gearhart, 95, of Wichita Falls, passed away on Saturday, February 24, 2018 surrounded by his family.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 11:30 with visitation beginning at 10:00 at Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home, 2812 Midwestern Pkwy.
Born to Hugh Richard and Willie Florence (Hancock) Gearhart on September 2, 1922 in Gunter, Texas, where he and his late brother, Hugh, spent their youth on the family wheat farm.
As a natural born coach, and precursor of his future, Marshall played high school football and took over coaching responsibilities for his team when his beloved coach accepted a college position, leaving the team ‘coachless’ mid-season his Senior year. Marshall earned a football scholarship to Austin College, which was interrupted by WWII. He served in the Navy from July 21, 1943 -April 20, 1946 as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate Second Class, Plane Captain, and top turret gunner on a B-24 Patrol Bombing Squadron 200 and 102 in the Pacific Theater earning the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal 2 stars, Good Conduct Medal, and Air Medal 2 stars.
Upon his return to Austin College, Marshall continued his studies and to play football as guard and tackle. He also served as President of the “A” Association and made lifelong friends with fellow teammates and coaches. Ever the gregarious one, Marshall was elected Junior Class Favorite.
During these college days, Marshall met Melba Hall and they celebrated 70 years of marriage in 2017. They began their lives together in Sherman until Marshall accepted his first coaching position in Seymour, Texas in 1949, where their family grew to four children. As head coach, Marshall fostered the success of outstanding athletes, winning District championships from 1952-1958. Relationships with coaching colleagues were a hallmark of his career and he maintained close friendships with them all his life.
Excited to be a part of the newly built S.H. Rider High School and join the talented coaching team led by Joe Bob Tyler, Marshall partnered with his close friends, Ray Lunn and Jack Robertson, to develop the new football program in 1961. Later, Marshall accepted a leadership position as Vice Principal at Rider, where he remained until his retirement. He coached countless athletes and formed lasting friendships with students, parents, faculty, and staff during his years at Rider.
Blessed with many joyous years of retirement, Marshall planned countless quail hunting excursions with friends far and wide. When he wasn’t hunting, he was enjoying grandchildren, friends, family, and his beloved bird dogs. The challenge of Melba’s illness revealed Marshall’s most stellar trait, his dedication to Melba’s care until her passing in 2017.
He is survived by four children, eleven grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren including his son Don Gearhart, and his wife Vicki of Canyon Lake, daughter Marsha Dudley, and her husband Don of Fort Worth, son Rick Gearhart of Dallas, and Patti Gearhart Turner and her husband Randy of Fort Worth. Grandchildren are Kim Taylor (Tab) of Houston, Kevin Brasier (Teresa) of Conroe, Jenne Cooper of Austin, Allison Slocum (Gary) of Dallas, Jef Gearhart of San Antonio, Brooke Townsend of Azle, Adrien Gearhart of Wichita Falls, Justin Gearhart (Brandy) of Wichita Falls, Ryan Gearhart of Lewisville, Ross Bennett (Amy) of Austin, and Randall Turner of Fort Worth. Great-grandchildren are Matthew, Jacob, and Rylee Taylor, Hayden and Cody Cooper, Jack, Case, and Josie Gearhart, April and Sam Townsend, Peyton Gearhart and Hunter Slocum, Ariel West, Noa, Zoe, Vance and Gillian Gearhart. He is also survived by his nephew Dennis Gearhart and wife Paula.
The family has immense gratitude for Marshall’s wonderful caregivers, friends, and supporters, who bestowed countless blessings on him and his family during his illness, especially Pat and Danny Owens—and the loving and attentive team at The Gables at Rolling Meadows, Dr. Tom Talbert, and the compassionate team at Hospice of Wichita Falls.
For those desiring, memorial contributions may be sent to Hospice of Wichita Falls, 4909 Johnson Road, Wichita Falls, Texas 76310, The Breakfast Club at Rolling Meadows, or the Alzheimer’s Association.