Note: Marshall Fritz passed away Nov. 4, 2008
See: In Memoriam: Marshall Fritz, 1943-2008
by Tammy Drennan
As many of you may know by now, Marshall Fritz, founder of the Alliance for the Separation of School & State, has inoperable pancreatic cancer and has been offered the medical opinion that he has 6-20 months to live. We expect more of him than that, of course.
I’ve known Marshall for about ten or eleven years and have volunteered with and worked for the Alliance in a number of capacities over those years, thus my boldness in posting a tribute to this special man.
Founding the Alliance is just one of Marshall’s long list of accomplishments. His résumé also encompasses starting a private school, founding Advocates for Self-Government, planning and executing two national education conferences, and encouraging and inspiring hundreds (maybe thousands?) of individuals to contribute their special talents to the cause of liberty.
This last item is the one I want to focus on. Marshall has garnered the admiration and gratitude of people from almost every walk of life and from countries around the world. Reading over some of the responses to the e-vite to his gala in June, I’ve been amazed to see comments from friends in South Africa, the Philippines; Virginia, Alaska and many states in-between. There have been comments from other leaders in the field of liberty preservation, from priests and politicians, and from every day Joes and Janes.
It’s easy to think that Marshall has an ego to match his booming voice, but then you encounter one person after another he’s encouraged, one thing after another he’s done that you hadn’t known about. There’s a humble side to him, too. :-)
My own experience with Marshall is that he energizes you. He makes you feel as if you, too, can do big and daring things — and not only that you can, but that you must. He imbues you with the sense of getting into the fight for the long-haul — committing yourself to the cause of freedom.
Yet for all this bigness, there’s the regular guy Marshall, too. We all know some food he loves. We know he loves his children and grandchildren. We know his penchant for numbers and versions and quirky titles for new programs and ideas. We know he has two million close friends and advisors. We know his attachment to long, drawn-out analogies.
For all his travels and associations in high places, Marshall has always leant me an attentive ear, has always taken my ideas as seriously as the next guy’s or gal’s. He’s quick to agree when he sees the value in an idea and willing to go the distance in debating it if he fails to see its value.
Now, we all know Marshall isn’t perfect, but a tribute is no place to start picking on a person’s flaws. And here I might add that, in my experience, Marshall has been exceedingly gracious in refraining from mentioning the flaws of others. He readily acknowledges that we’re all walking the same path of imperfection.
So, I want to say, Thank you, Marshall. Thank you from me personally and on behalf of a world that is better for the life you’ve lived.
May God grant you many more years among us, but if he chooses to take you home, you will have left behind an enthusiastic and confident army to carry on your work.
God be with you.
Read comments in the guest book on the web site Marshall is building.