Renowned pastor Trevor Marshall passed away last week, aged 79.
Trevor was born in Smithton in 1936, the third of 10 children born to Norton and Vonda Marshall.
The family lived at Redpa when Trevor was born and he was taken home from hospital on the train from Smithton to Redpa. His bed was a hessian bag tied from the wall to the bed.
As the family grew they moved to Mella and lived on Dunn’s Farm. Trevor went to state school from here which was on the corner of Marrawah and Mella roads.
Trevor went on to high school and he was a very good scholar and was outstanding at math.
He was a great athlete who loved cricket and football.
He began working at the Montagu cheese factory then became a bank teller at the E S & A Bank, now ANZ.
He went on to Launceston to work in Patons & Baldwins, also to Sydney.
During this time he married the love of his life, Merlene and together they began their family.
They moved back to Circular Head and farmed at Irishtown.
He was a very hard worker and for many years he was an auctioneer for Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers’ Association then went to Smithton Motors and Smithton Nissan as a car salesman.
He was a local pastor, busy with marriages and funerals and helping many.
During this time he and Merlene farmed and reared a family of five: Robyn, Lesley, Christine, Timothy and Jonathan.
Trevor was instrumental in building Riverbend Youth Centre, alongside a few close friends, including the late Ernie Quilliam and Doug Poke, who all had a vision for a camp for youth in the area.
Trevor put his time and effort into the centre and lived on site for a few years. He spent more than 20 years deeply involved in the lives of many young people throughout the state and beyond.
This is an excerpt from Trevor’s brother Eric’s eulogy:
Now I would like to paint a small picture of what it was like for Trevor growing up in the ‘40s.
As a member of a large family things could be tough . . . Can you imagine first thing of a morning 10 kids all wanting to go to the toilet at once (which was down the back of the block), one in the loo, nine waiting legs crossed with Mum singing out, ‘Hurry up kids you will be late!’
As longtime friend Macky Popowski said in his eulogy:
He could teach God’s word like few others and was much sought after throughout the state. He would often take a few of us young guys down to the Moonah conference where he would be guest speaker.
He simply loved the church and the community.
He was a true shepherd who cared for the flock.
He was in their lives and he was involved in their families.
He married so many of us and took more funerals than I care to remember.
And so he soon became known as Pastor Trevor.
He became a community icon in times of tragedies and grief in Circular Head and the media would seek him out.
He wrote a column (The Real Deal) in the Circular Head Chronicle for a number of years and many people appreciated his wisdom and his input.
He would not want me to portray him as perfect, he was human and had his own struggles too.
He was always excited when someone got their life together.
This is an excerpt from Trevor’s daughter Lesley’s eulogy for her father:
For us kids, our strongest memories centre around time on the farm in Irishtown.
Dad loved being a farmer. He loved his animals and even had names for many of the cows.
When they decided to pull stumps with milking, Mum refused to go wave them off, but Dad cried as they were loaded onto the truck and driven away. Many of us recall the day our pup was run over and we saw Dad walking up the road carrying this little fella in his arms with tears streaming down his face.
Those farm days were filled with work. Morning milking was always done by Mum and Dad, and the Finney family down the bottom of the hill in Irishtown said they could set their clocks by the timing of the cowshed light going on, on the hill above them.
Dad contributed to Mum’s massive veggie patch by fencing off one of the paddocks, running the discs over it, help plant and water, whilst Mum painstakingly tended, reaped and stored.
At times the farm and garden were not enough to support our little family and Dad went off to town to work, while Mum kept things ticking along at home.
A large chunk of our childhood was spent within the context of Edith Creek Gospel Hall. Rising on Sunday mornings brought no choices for us – we were off to church, no excuses! Milking done, breakfast, Jim Reeves on the record player as we donned our best clothes and off we went. Morning meeting, lunch, Sunday School, afternoon tea at Grandpa’s, home to milk, homemade pizza and cream cake with our tea then back for gospel meeting.
Special to us were the sing-alongs after church at people’s houses and when it was our turn – it was Dad on the organ, Laurie Quilliam on the piano and a lounge room absolutely packed with people singing their hearts out.
We couldn’t possibly miss a spring clean at church or a working bee at camp and while we didn’t know it at the time, Dad’s heart was exhibited to us over and over and over again in his noiseless servanthood.
If you happened to go into Mum and Dad’s room late in the evening, you would find Dad kneeling beside the bed, praying day by day by day.
He would often be in the office for hours, studying for his next teaching session or sitting at the table just reading his Bible – if he could see the words around the cat sitting on the pages, and when that sermon was prepared, out to the stumps in the back paddock he would go to practice!
If you were lucky and happened to have left your guitar round, you might score a solo performance of the only song Dad could play – ‘Burdens are lifted at Calvary’. With a 10-second pause required for each chord change, it could be a lengthy process!
Despite all the work, our parents made time for fun too. Tempting Dad to milk just a little bit earlier wasn’t too hard so we could rush off to the beach afterwards, inviting others to come along to expeditions to Rocky Cape or Seven Mile to drag the net.
Downtime for Dad was spent lying in front of the fire for a bit after morning milking with the cat perched on his belly, or out under the clothes line with his hat over his face and the dog lying beside him.
He seemed to know a lot about the world and was always interested in hearing about what was going on around the globe.
But Dad loved being at home and having his kids and grandkids come to visit. Annual ‘Marshall’ holidays became a fixture, and Dad’s little talk – not a sermon – became a must-have in the weekend program, as he shared the deepest desire of his heart for his offspring to live their lives passionately for the God he served so faithfully.
We could have said that work and the church were Dad’s life, but looking deeper he was all about God and people – with family being supreme amongst the masses of people who streamed through his and our lives.