The Jackson State University family mourns the loss of alumna Esther Ellis Sampson Marshall, 99, who recently passed away in Austin, Tex. The 1933 Jackson College graduate was the wife of the late H. T. Sampson Sr., the former executive dean of Jackson State University after whom the university’s library is named. She later married Luther J. Marshall, also now deceased.
Visitation will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, at Peoples Funeral Home in Jackson, Miss. Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 12, at Pearl Street A.M.E. Church in Jackson. A graveside service will follow at the Garden Memorial Park Cemetery.
The Vicksburg native earned a master’s degree in social work from Atlanta University and was recognized as the first, and for many years the only, African-American professional social worker in the state of Mississippi. She also served as the executive director of Project Head Start in Hinds County and associate professor of Social Work at Jackson State University. Her papers will be donated to the university.
“Mrs. Marshall was a kind woman with a wonderful spirit, who really was a pioneer in social work and with Head Start in Mississippi,” said Evangeline W. Robinson, executive director of the JSU Development Foundation. “We are so proud of all that she was able to accomplish.”
Marshall was the mother of two sons, Dr. Henry T. Sampson Jr., of California and John B. Sampson of Texas. Henry T. Sampson Jr. recently donated an expansive collection of historical materials to the university. The collection relates to the historic contributions of African Americans to motion pictures, the performing arts, music, and radio and television broadcasting from 1865 and 1970.
Marshall was preceded in death by her brothers, Otis Ellis, Robert Ellis and Tellis Burthorne Ellis Jr., after whom Jackson State’s T.B. Ellis Health and Physical Education Complex is named.
Marshall will be sorely missed by the Jackson State University family and friends.