Marshall Jennings Carper

Marshall Jennings Carper

June 16, 1927 - December 19, 2022

Marshall Jennings Carper

June 16, 1927 - December 19, 2022


Marshall Jennings Carper, of Charleston, passed away on December 19, 2022. Born June 16, 1927, he was 95 years old.

Preceded in death by his parents, Lester Marshall Carper and Grace Jennings Carper, he is survived by his wife, Lois Fillmer Carper, to whom he was married only three days short of 71 years. He is also survived by his three children, David Wayne Carper and his wife, Carolyn Moore Carper, of Richmond, Va., Karen Grace Carper and her husband, Blair Kent Taylor, of Montrose, and Timothy Marshall Carper and his wife, Linda Miller Carper of Charleston; his grandchildren, Brian Christopher Talbott, M.D. (Siera) of Reno, Nev., Leah Elizabeth Talbott of Alameda, Calif., Kathleen Elizabeth Carper, Ph.D., of Roanoke, Va., and Andrew David Carper of Richmond, Va.; and his great-grandchildren, Jean Camille Talbott, Dashiell McDonald Talbott, and Zena Grace Talbott.

Born and raised in Bluefield, W. Va., Marshall grew up as the only child of Grace, a homemaker, and Lester, an accountant and assistant cashier at the Flattop National Bank. Active in scouting throughout his youth, Marshall achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 1942, and graduated from Beaver High School in 1943 at age 16. He enrolled at Davidson College in North Carolina a mere five days after graduation, knowing he would be drafted at age 18 to serve in World War II.

Eager to have a choice of his branch of the military, Marshall enlisted in the Navy just before his 18th birthday. While in boot training in Chicago, the war ended, so he was sent to Japan to provide relief for the sailors who had been fighting the war. He spent nine months on three destroyer ships where he traveled the Yellow Sea.

After his tenure in the Navy, Marshall returned to Davidson College to finish his undergraduate education on schedule with his original class. He then attended and graduated from Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., followed by an internship in Texas and a multi-specialty residency at what is now CAMC Memorial in Charleston. He decided to concentrate his medical career in general practice, opening his own private practice in Kanawha City in 1954. When the specialty of Family Medicine was established, he was elected a Charter Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), participating in its induction ceremony in New York City. In 1992, he was proclaimed a lifetime member by the Academy.

From a very young age, music was one of the joys of Marshall’s life. Raised in the Baptist church in Bluefield, he was a member of the church choir. He also sang in the Beaver High School a capella choir. In college, he joined the Davidson Male Chorus. Its music director also happened to be the choir director of a local Presbyterian church who recruited men from Davidson College and women from nearby Queen’s College to sing in the church choir. One particular Queen’s College soprano named Lois Fillmer caught his eye. This is how Marshall met his wife of nearly 71 years: through the love of music and church. It did not hurt that they were also both from West Virginia. Starting then, they sang together in choirs for well over 60 years.

Marshall was an avid barbershopper with the Kanawha Kordsmen barbershop chorus, where he sang bass for 39 years. He was also a member of one of the Kordsmen’s quartets, the Pitch Hitters. His large collection of tapes and CDs focused on his love for vocal music, Dixieland jazz, and big bands.

Church membership and commitment were always a large part of Marshall’s life. He was a member of Ruffner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charleston for well over 65 years. He served as an elder, a church trustee, and on numerous committees. He was part of the early development and served on the Board of Directors of the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center, where he got to practice spiritual care.

After operating his private practice for nearly 20 years, Marshall was given the opportunity to train others in family medicine. Dr. Carl Tully recruited him in 1973 to join the Kanawha Valley Family Practice Center, which was begun to help train medical graduates in the specialty of Family Medicine. After Dr. Tully retired, Marshall was named the director and remained there for 17 years before retiring in 1992. He then continued working with students there for another 15 years at a weekly clinic before finally stepping down at age 80.  The Marshall Carper Family Medicine Award was established in 2002 to recognize a West Virginia University medical student who exemplifies the best qualities of a Family Physician; this award was created in honor of Dr. Marshall J. Carper, the founding Chair of the Family Medicine Department at the WVU Charleston Division, and a doctor who exhibited excellence throughout his medical and teaching career.

In 1999, the West Virginia Chapter of the AAFP presented Marshall with the “Family Doc” award in recognition of “a lifetime of service as a dedicated family physician who has earned the continued respect of his patients and fellow physicians.”

The family will be forever grateful to his caregivers: Katy Greenlaw, Charlene Johnson, Sandy Pates, and Annie Sheely. Their love and care for Marshall allowed him to live in the comfort of his long-time home, enjoying his daily activities and time with Lois, his family and friends. The kind service and support of Kanawha HospiceCare of Charleston is also very much appreciated.

On Wednesday, Jan. 4, the family will receive family and friends at Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, 1118 Virginia St., E. Charleston, from 5-7 p.m. Funeral Service will be at 12 noon, Thursday, Jan. 5 at Ruffner Memorial Presbyterian Church, Quarrier and Greenbrier streets, Charleston.  Interment will follow at Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite charity in memory of Marshall.

Condolences may be shared with the family at .

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home in Charleston is in charge of arrangements.


  • Date & Time: January 4, 2023 (5:00 PM - 7:00 PM)
  • Venue: Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home
  • Location: 1118 Virginia St. E. Charleston, WV 25301 - (Get Directions)

Funeral Service

  • Date & Time: January 5, 2023 (12:00 PM)
  • Venue: Ruffner Memorial Presbyterian Church
  • Location: Quarrier And Greenbrier Streets Charleston, WV - (Get Directions)

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12 responses to Marshall Jennings Carper

  1. Elaine Moore says:

    To Dr Carper’s Family,
    Thank you for sharing Dr Carper with us, the Family Medicine Residents that he taught to be good doctors, citizens, neighbors, partners and friends. He gave us his complete attention anytime we needed him. He accepted our individuality and embraced us. Most importantly, to us, he made sure that we were ready to take care of our patients when we graduated.
    He was also that hungry guy who would take a stranger with no food for a sandwich and coffee.
    He made sure that we, his resident doctors, knew that he was our backup. He expected all of his residents to study, listen, be empathetic, use our talents, be kind have a full family and spiritual life. For me, Dr Marshall Carper, was my guide and mentor in my path to becoming a Family Physician. He taught us to focus on our patient.

  2. Dear Lois and Family,

    It was my joy to know Marshall as a committed community physician and mentor to a friend of mine, Dennis Cupit, who entered family practice in mid-life. More than that, I remember you, Lois, and Marshall as devoted members of Ruffner Church during my brief service there. It took me a while to read that inspiring obituary! Which is to say that he lived a huge life and left deep footprints everywhere. Nancy joins me in sharing with you our grief at his passing and wishing you peace and comfort in these days of sorrow.

  3. Dear Mrs. Carper and family, Ellen and I send our condolences . Dr. Carper was the epitome of a great family doctor, a mentor and an outstanding human being. He will be missed . I regret being unable to attend his wake or funeral due to illness’ We pray for you and your family.

    1. Tim Carper says:

      On behalf of the Carper family, I want to thank you for your condolences. My mother Lois is not computer savvy, and she has not been on this website to personally read/comment. However, I have read your comments to her, and she was very appreciative of your warm regards. I’m sorry you are ill and unable to make it to see us in person. I want you to know that my dad thought highly of you and was very supportive of me choosing you as my family doctor up until your retirement. Thank you, Tom.

  4. Dear Mrs. Carper and Family, Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of one of the finest human beings I have ever known. I had the honor and privilege of getting to know Marshall as a role model, a treating physician, and a team member in the bass section of the Kanawha Kordsmen. I’ll never forget his graciousness and generosity of spirit. Marshall shared with me his love of vocal music as well as the wonderful big band movement of the 1930s and 1940s. The evening we spent together listening to his historic collection of recorded jazz in the Era of the Big Bands stands out among my fondest memories. Those of us who got to know Marshall will forever cherish his vibrant, good nature and jovial personality.

  5. Kim Oliver says:

    Dave & Carolyn, We wanted to send our condolences for your loss. Marshal was an amazing father and physician. You shared many stories about his kindness and love. Sending prayers to your family. Love Kim & Monty

    1. Tim Carper says:

      Thank you, Kim and Monty, for your thoughts, prayers, and support. It is much appreciated by our family.

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