Marsha Ann Cosby

Published 3:00 am Thursday, August 2, 2018

Born in Troy, Alabama, Marsha Ann Cosby — the eldest child of Robert Arthur Yancey Cosby and Mildred McCalman Cosby — was well-known for her gentle love and kindness, extraordinary generosity, dogged devotion to both teaching and the arts, strong commitment to family, and unshakable Christian faith.  Following her father’s untimely death in 1955, 13-year-old Marsha, her mother, and her younger sister Regina relocated from their  hometown to Pensacola, Florida.  There, Marsha attended Pensacola High School, where she joined Bill Holston’s Fighting Tigers marching band and discovered one of her greatest joys:  music of many styles and by a wide variety of artists.

Shortly after graduation, Marsha married classmate Charles L. Cetti, a Pensacola native, and they began their family with the arrival of their first daughter, Melanie, in 1961.  Anne and Elizabeth were born shortly thereafter — in 1962 and 1963 respectively.  After a brief tenure in Tampa, Florida, to launch her husband’s career, Marsha and Charles returned to Pensacola with their three, young daughters.  It was there that she discovered her passions for teaching and helping other people.

In pursuit of her dream to succeed her mother as a professional educator, Marsha and her mother, along with Marsha’s three teenage girls, returned to Troy in 1979.  After her relocation, Marsha welcomed Juliana — a fourth, adopted daughter — into her home in 1980.  Her family grew larger still when Marsha’s mother Mildred married her dear friend, Shelby L. Stewart, that same year.  Thereafter enthusiastically immersing herself in her collegiate studies, Marsha quickly earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in preparation for her new teaching career.  Following her Summa Cum Laude graduation from Troy State University, Marsha, together with her mother, stepfather, and youngest daughter, relocated to Carrollton, where she began a rich and fulfilling career as a talented, well-liked English teacher at Central High School.  Marsha added Maggie, a fifth, adopted daughter, to her family in 2000.  As she reared the last of her beloved girls, Marsha’s 25-plus years-long teaching career drew to a close.

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Following her 2008 retirement from teaching, Marsha continued helping all who needed her — often serving as a substitute teacher, mentor, counselor, and loyal friend.  She also devoted herself to spending more time with her family and treasured the chance to connect with distant relatives and lifelong friends through social media.  In addition, she rekindled her interest in personal pastimes that had long taken a back seat to her decades of parental and teaching duties.  She found new joy in reading, listening to music, sewing, gardening, watching movies, trying new foods, trouncing family and friends in Jeopardy and late-night card games, crafting, researching family history, and traveling — especially to her late mother’s western North Carolina cabin, a perennial family favorite vacation destination.

During retirement, as she had done throughout her life, Marsha also continued her tradition of generously serving others through her church, various Christian service organizations, and other charities.  Although her keen commitment to service reached around the world, for Marsha, true charity began at home.  Her very greatest love and care was always lavished on her family that, by this time, included not only her sister and daughters, but also grandchildren and eventually, great-grandchildren as well.  A devoted daughter, sister, mother, aunt, cousin, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Marsha will forever be remembered for consistently putting others’ needs ahead of her own, so that everyone would know they were valued and would experience the love of Jesus first-hand.  There was no sacrifice too costly to make, no wrong too egregious to try and make right, no misdeed too hurtful to refuse forgiveness, nor soul too lost to find and offer hope for the future.  She was a true inspiration and encouragement to nearly everyone she met.

In addition to being survived by her cherished sister, Marsha leaves behind her five daughters and three sons-in-law (Wyatt, Kevin, and Jimmy), and twelve grandchildren (and their spouses): Anna (Andrew), Reilly, Braxton, Camille (Aaron), Alan, Cullen, Kathleen (Steve), Grace, Bailey, Aria, Gianna, and Tessa.  Her four great-grandchildren include:  Paris, Brigette, James, and Sophia.   Marsha will also be missed by her niece and nephews, their spouses (Kevin and Nancy, Kelda and Richard, and Kerry and Shawna), and great nieces and nephews (Justin and Spencer; Rebekah, Joel, Isaac, and Nathanael; Robert, Ryan, Olivia, and Dylan), as well as numerous beloved cousins. They — and, doubtless, many of you — loved her very, very much and will miss her as dearly as we, her family, will.