Obituary of David Weese Marston
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David W. Marston, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1976-1978) and a Philadelphia lawyer for 49 years, died peacefully on March 2, 2023, at his home in Newtown Square, PA. He was 80. Mr. Marston was born 17 July 1942 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and then moved at a young age to Wyncote, PA, where he met his high school sweetheart, Linda (nee Zacherle) at Cheltenham High School. He was a devoted and loving husband to Linda for 57 years.
Mr. Marston returned south where he earned his bachelor's degree at Maryville College in 1964 and received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1967. Following law school, Mr. Marston began his law career at Montgomery, McCracken Walker & Rhoads in Philadelphia before joining the Navy in September 1967. Mr. Marston served on active duty on the USS Norfolk.
Following his military service, Mr. Marston returned to the practice of law in Philadelphia before becoming a legislative counsel to Senator Richard S. Schweiker. Then in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford nominated Mr. Marston as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania where he proudly served. In January 1978, Attorney General Griffin Bell's decision to replace Mr. Marston as U.S. Attorney caused a then unprecedented protest from citizens, lawyers and even some politicians. During Mr. Marston's 18 months in office, he successfully prosecuted corrupt politicians, both democrats and republicans. Mr. Marston also aggressively investigated allegations of police brutality and won indictments of members of then Mayor Frank Rizzo's administration. But Mr. Bell's decision to replace Mr. Marston caused an appearance of impropriety when it was learned that Democratic Representative Joshua Eilberg, under active investigation by Mr. Marston, called President Carter to demand that Mr. Marston be replaced as the U.S. Attorney.
After serving as U.S. Attorney, Mr. Marston sought to continue his public service. He entered the 1978 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election and then the 1979 Philadelphia Mayoral election. Although Marston successfully won the Republican Mayoral primary, he was ultimately defeated. Mr. Marston returned to private practice as a corporate lawyer. After several years in sole practice, Mr. Marston was partner in charge of the Philadelphia office for Buchanan Ingersoll. Later, Mr. Marston was a partner at Reed Smith, where he headed the corporate section of the firm's Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York offices. Mr. Marston ended his law career as a Director of Gibbons, PC.
Mr. Marston authored two books, Inside Hoover's FBI and Malice Aforethought. Throughout his legal career and during retirement, Mr. Marston often wrote op-ed articles and book reviews. Mr. Marston was an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA. for years and continued even after moving to the suburbs.
Mr. Marston will be remembered as smart, wise, and kind, and as a man of the utmost integrity. Mr. Marston was loving father and grandfather, who took great pride in the careers of his three children: His daughter Karen was a federal prosecutor for 19 years, and in 2019 was sworn in as a United States District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. His son, David Jr., served 3 years in the United States Coast Guard and is the partner in charge of the Miami office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. His youngest son Mike served 31 years in the United States Navy, retiring this year as a Captain. Mr. Marston took great joy in following the active lives of his eight grandchildren, who range in age from 11 to 29. He loved hearing of their success in ice hockey, running, sailing, gymnastics, diving and baseball and never ceased to be amazed by all of their accomplishments. And, he especially enjoyed comparing Navy stories with his grandson attending the U.S. Naval Academy.
Mr. Marston was pre-deceased in life by his parents David Samuel Marston and Ruth Weese. He is survived by his sister Joan Marston and his brothers, John Marston, Tom Marston and Edward Marston.
A celebration of life service for Mr. Marston will be conducted on Friday, March 10 at 10:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 21st and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia, PA 19103. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia Choir, 201 S. 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.