COBURN, Marshall Allen

Marshall Allen Coburn used his Golden ticket for his last train ride to Beulah Land on December 21, 2015 at Carillion Roanoke Memorial Hospital surrounded by his family. He was born to Alfred (Doc) Walker and Mabel Dunn Coburn on August 18, 1935. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife Colleen Martin Coburn, his grandson, Marshall Lee Thurber, his brother in law, Harry Tabor, and sister in law, Dawana Martin as well as a host of other family and friends. He will be sorely missed by those who heard his stories about his childhood in Monroe County and Bramwell, WV. He graduated from Greenbrier Military Academy in 1953 and joined the US Army shortly after. He was a Veteran of the Korean War earning the rank of Staff Sergeant while stationed in Germany and England and even marched in formation with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s soldiers while serving there. Upon returning to the States, he attended Virginia Tech, firing Third on the Rifle Team there. He was authority on World War I, World War II history and the Kennedy Assassination which he researched exhaustively. He never met a stranger in all his travels, but always loved the Blue Ridge Mountains as home. He loved to play tricks on his family and friends. He was a poet that took notice of the environment around him during important times in his life and made that the subject of his writings. His regular letters to the editor of the Virginian Leader and the Roanoke Times had many fans.  He worked hard all his life, first at four years old feeding the orphan lambs on the farm and at five taking the eggs in his wagon to his uncle’s store down the hill from the home place for his Grandmother Dunn. Working with the thrashing crew at the age of ten and finally getting to eat with the “men folk”. Mowing the hayfields and helping with the cattle kept him attentive to the world around him.  Most recent, he retired from Norfolk & Southern as a Signal Maintainer having worked territories in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio with over thirty years of loyal service. He still missed the Yard there in Roanoke that now sits empty – quiet. He mourned the loss of jobs and equipment that he worked so hard to maintain. He knew every nut , bolt and wire in that Yard and never hesitated when called out to fix down equipment day or night or any kind of weather to keep the trains going and commerce flowing. That dedication was not wasted. He gave the same heart and soul to his home church, Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead, VA. He helped with the building of the gym and putting in the floors and when the trailers were brought from Newcastle, he helped the other men in the mud to set them up. When asked to put the Dewey Decimal System in the church library, he promptly sold one of his very cherished possessions to be put the cost of that endeavor, purchasing all the supplies to accomplish that task.  A father, brother, friend and prayer warrior who loved God, his Family, and Country and will be missed until we see him again on that day. He is survived by his children Amy, Debbie, and Barry (Leslie), his grandchildren, Marcus, Katherine, Samantha, and Sara Beth, and his great-grandchildren, Keegan, Kaleb, Levi, Devin, and Evelyn. Also his sister, Nancy Tabor, brothers-in-law Wayne Martin (Carol), Marvin H. (Rabbit) Martin (Terry), Oakley Martin (Elizabeth), Roger Martin (Virginia) and Gary Martin; extended family, Richard and Pat Knauss; special mentions, Roger and Betty Jo Browning, Kevin, and his canine companions, Rummy and Pepper. Funeral services will be held Sunday, December 27th, 2015 at 2 PM in the Chapel of Riffe’s Funeral Service, Inc. with Pastor Shahn Wilburn officiating. Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery with graveside services conducted by VFW Post #6000 of Narrows, and American Legion Posts #68 of Narrows, #311 of Pembroke and #145 of Peterstown. The family will receive friends at Riffe’s Funeral Service Saturday from 6 to 8 PM. The family requests that those sending memorial contributions, please consider the Giles County SPCA; 240 Meadows Road; Pearisburg, Virginia 24134. The family is being served by Riffe’s Funeral Service in Narrows, (540) 726-2442 and online at