Marsha Ahl, loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother, passed away peacefully at the age of 90 on Saturday, February 4, 2012 while surrounded by her loved ones in Fresno. Marsha's greatest tribute to the world is her "fam-damly." "Nana" to everyone, she was known for her Russian heritage, singing, dancing and spitfire personality. Marsha was truly a unique, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind woman. She never failed to put a smile on the faces of those around her. Born Mary Marsha Tanya Ross on July 25, 1921 in San Francisco, CA as the middle of five children, Marsha spent the majority of her childhood in Santa Rosa, CA. Growing up, Marsha worked diligently alongside her family at her father's general store where he instilled in her the value and importance of hard work.Marsha briefly met her future husband of 69 years, William (Bill) Ahl, during grammar school in Santa Rosa. And as fate would have it, the pair later reunited during WWII while working as welders at the naval shipyard on Mare Island. As one of the only female welders (and consistently hailed as the best!) Marsha turned many heads--not only for her dazzling blue eyes and remarkable personality--but for her excellent caliber of work! Bill would find excuses to stand near Marsha's work station in hopes of catching her eye, but always "Rosie the Riveter", Marsha continued to forge ahead with her welding. After several weeks of passing by her station, Bill eventually did get Marsha's attention, and the two were married in 1942.In 1960, Bill and Marsha moved with their three youngest children to Fresno. While Bill taught local farmers the process of fruit and vegetable dehydration, Marsha stayed at home to raise their children. Marsha loved her family more than anything and demonstrated this love every single day by placing her children and husband before herself. And as her family grew, so did her love. Her selfless acts of love never ceased-- Marsha consistently made sure her family (kids, grand kids and all!) were happy and taken care of before doing anything for herself. Not only was Marsha's endless love a cornerstone in her family's lives, so were her words of wisdom, worldly advice, humor, and vivacious, full- of-life demeanor. She often quipped with meaningful one-liners such as, "Do it right or don't do it at all!" Marsha consistently taught her family the valuable lessons she garnered throughout her own life. And what a life it was! Marsha was no stranger to braving the "Barrel of Death" at local county fairs. She later had her own Harley 74. Marsha worked alongside Bill on their ranch as the main ranch-hand and handled everything from cooking to corralling animals to driving big trucks; she was head of the PTA at Roosevelt Elementary School for several years; and she even appeared in the Hitchcock film, "Shadow of Doubt." Our lives are forever enriched because of our mother and our thoughts will forever be filled with memories of her love and humor. We will honor her every single day by keeping her lessons in our minds, her love in our hearts, and her crazy dance moves alive on the dance floor! Marsha is survived by her loving husband of 69 years, William Ahl; their children Sonya Bradford and her husband, Charles; John Ahl and his wife, Kim; Jackie Eckhaus and her husband, Mark; and Cindy Houck and her husband, Tom; as well as her 18 grandchildren (Brian, Debbie, Cheri, Lisa, Steven, Rene`e, Denise, Jessica, John-John, Jennifer, Jordan, Brianna, Caytlin, Nathan, Taylor, Paige, Ryan & Alexandra), 15 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild and many loving nieces and nephews.A special "Thank you" to Dolores Rodriguez, Nana's "best asset" and Tammy Rodriguez, for the loving care given to Marsha. And so, in the words of Nana (and with a shot of vodka and caviar!) we say, "Carry on Mc Duff!" In lieu of flowers, please send all donations to the American Heart Association. A graveside service will be held at Fresno Memorial Gardens, Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
Arrangements under the direction of Lisle Funeral Home, Fresno, CA.