Age 89, of Duluth was called home by his all-merciful Savior the afternoon of February 13, from Helena, Montana where he was visiting his youngest daughter Miriam and her family after time spent with his older daughter, Kristen, and family in Duluth. Though very ill for the last few weeks of his life, he always maintained a bright outlook, never complained, and lived the blessing of his life and the reality of death through the lens of his unwavering Catholic faith and love for Jesus Christ. As one who lived his entire life preparing for the moment of his death, he died peacefully with Miriam and his son-in-law Matthew by his side, secure in the mercy of our Lord.
Marshall was born to the late James Fightlin and Mollie Fightlin (Casalengo) of New Britain, CT on May 13, 1933. He was an Air Force veteran, former Benedictine monk, theologian, licensed psychologist, author, script writer, speaker and teacher. He held Masters Degrees in Theology, Counseling and Psychology and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. He taught at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Holy Apostles College in Cromwell, Connecticut and St. Scholastica in Duluth. In addition, he published numerous articles in national and international journals related to marriage and family life. He even had his own YouTube channel and shared the story of his religious conversion on EWTN’s “The Journey Home” (also on YouTube). As a licensed therapist and psychologist, he helped countless clients over a career that spanned 50 years. Friends and colleagues often described Marshall as faithful, wise, and kind. His family lovingly joked that he was like the Catholic Yoda.
As professionally accomplished as he was, Marshall’s family was his true pride and joy. When introducing himself at speaking events, he would always start by saying he was a husband and a father before he listed his many professional credentials and accomplishments. He believed in being grateful for the little things and always made sure to show gratitude by saying please and thank you to all those who took care of him, especially in his last weeks in Helena, where he spent much of his time in and out of urgent care facilities and hospitals.
Caring for his beloved wife, Marianne, over the last year of her life as she suffered with dementia, he often recounted that time as being the happiest and most blessed year of his life. He was truly devoted to her, often saying she was the greatest thing that had ever happened to him, and longed to be with her again. That same love was expressed in his relationship with his children and grandchildren. He loved his daughters deeply and worked tirelessly to foster in them, through word and example, a love for Christ and the Church from their earliest ages. He often said that in his sons-in-law God had truly gifted him with sons. His grandchildren were always a source of deep pride and joy. He took great pleasure in just being in their presence and serving as the wise grandfather who could lovingly provide advice, guidance or just a sweet “hello little lady.”
He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 52 years, Marianne, and three Brower grandchildren. He leaves behind two daughters, Kristen T. Miller (Keith Miller) and Miriam L. Brower (Matthew Brower) and a beloved sister Nancy Fightlin (Jerry Jacques). Marshall will be greatly missed, not only by his sister, daughters and sons-in-law, but also by his grandchildren Noah Miller (Addie Miller), Nathan Miller, Gianna Miller, Isabella Brower, Lucia Brower, and many friends.
It is impossible to adequately express the loss that is felt by his family at this time, however the immense grief that is felt is not without joy and deep gratitude. Marshall was a giant of a man, a deeply devoted brother, husband, father and grandfather and a beautiful example of a life well lived.
The wake will be at Dougherty Funeral Home in Duluth, 600 E. 2nd St., on Tuesday, February 28th, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The funeral will be on Wednesday, March 1st, at 11:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth, 2801 E. 4th St. (218-727-3555)
Let us bless the Lord,
Thanks be to God.