MUBG PHILANTHROPY Tribute Tree makes a perfect birthday gift for MU Journalism alum’s wife Shawn Marsh dedicated a tricolor beech on the west lawn of the MU Chancellor’s residence to his wife Lori through MUBG’s Tribute Tree Program. This photo was taken at a Mizzou Jefferson Club event. Shawn and Lorie Marsh both have enjoyed long careers in media. Shawn serves as a breaking news supervisor for Associated Press (AP) for the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio since 1993. Lorie has been with Gannett, AP’s publisher, for 40 years, and currently works as an administrative assistant to Gannett’s executive editor. Shawn attended the MU School of Journalism from 1978 to 1982, leaving before he graduated “to pursue an offer he couldn’t refuse. Lorie graduated from Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School located in the Pan Am Building, now Met Life in New York, and has been with Gannett in different capacities since then. During the pandemic, the couple has been working from home, “a half a room away” from each other. “Lorie and I met at a radio station that was owned by the newspaper,” Shawn said. “She was in marketing and called me to schedule a [mandatory] tour for new employees.” Shawn somehow avoided the tour but met Lorie later that year at the office Christmas party. The couple married in 1989. Shawn makes regular visits back to MU. He annually attends at least one Tigers football game each year and has periodically been a guest lecturer at the J-School. As donors, he and Lorie also come to campus for alumni events. “Mizzou is such a great bargain,” Shawn said. “And Columbia is such a nice city. It has a lot to offer with a Midwest way of life.” Life was ticking along at a deadline pace for the Marshes until January 2020 when Lorie was diagnosed with esophageal cancer — just prior to the Covid pandemic’s freeze on daily life. “We’re fortunate to be close to Memorial Sloan Kettering and found an excellent esophageal cancer specialist,” Shawn said. Lorie underwent weekly chemotherapy sessions and five radiation treatments — by herself because of pandemic restrictions. Her compromised immune system made the in-hospital procedures doubly risky. “Being diagnosed with cancer and going through radiation and chemo treatments alone during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was tough, but I had a strong support network and the best doctors and staff taking care of me at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New Jersey and in New York,” Lorie said. “They truly care about their patients.” The Marshes are feeling newly fortunate for daily routines. “Thankfully, the treatment worked very well,” Shawn said. “The prognosis was very good at the end of treatment sessions and at her last appointment, she was in remission.” In April 2021, Shawn was on campus for an alumni committee meeting. “Being on the committee, I had heard about the Legacy Oaks [program to replace the declining pin oaks on the Francis Quadrangle with white oaks] and also about Tribute Trees,” Shawn said. “The program is a way people can donate to MU that will be visible and will last a long time without naming a building. At top, the tricolor beech — in its spring finery — that Shawn Marsh dedicated to his wife Lori for her birthday as part MUBG’s Tribute Tree program. Above is the dedication plaque with its clever “Life’s a Beech” message. Lorie enjoys gardening and our house is full of plants. Her birthday is in May and I decided to look into a Tribute Tree,” he added. “I met up with [MUBG Director] Pete Millier and he took me on a tour of the gardens, showing me what’s what.” One of the trees Millier showed Shawn was a tricolor beech “loaded with color” growing on the Francis Quadrangle side of the MU Chancellor’s residence. Shawn decided it was perfect. “A framed picture of the plaque showed up on her birthday, courtesy of Mizzou Botanic Garden express,” he said. The plaque reads: This Tricolor Beech is a living tribute To Lorie Marsh from her Husband, Shawn on May 31, 2021. “Life’s a beech!” Lorie was pleased with Shawn’s gift. “I am thrilled to be part of this legacy and helping to beautify the campus! The wording on the plaque is a wonderful way to recognize this gift with a sense of humor so that those who read it will chuckle.” Lorie visited MU and her tree last fall and also attended her first football game. She said the highlight of her visit was the Millier’s tour of the campus-in-a-garden. “The gardens are amazing and I love my tricolor beech Tribute Tree and its location — it’s in good company there in the Quad — and I can’t wait to see it again in all its blooming glory this spring or summer! “The campus is beautiful, the J-School is impressive and I had a lot of fun attending my first Mizzou — ‘Go Tigers!’— football game,” Lorie said of her visit. “Pete is a very personable, knowledgeable guide and everyone on campus seemed to know him as we traveled the grounds in his golf cart. “He had a lot of poignant and sometimes funny in-honor/in-memory stories to tell me along the way,” she added. “We’ve told our friends and family to visit the tree,” Shawn said. “I’m really happy with the way things worked out. You never know. We’ve been so lucky that Lorie got through this so well.