The passing of our Chancellor, Rich Marsh

November 02, 2023

It is with deep sadness we share the news that our beloved chancellor and friend Rich Marsh has passed away after a brief illness.

Rich tirelessly served the Mountain Sky Conference with his dedication to justice, inclusiveness, friendship, and he and all of his wisdom and expertise will be sorely missed by all of us.

During his more than 17 years of service to the conference, Rich was fully engaged in some of the most pivotal moments of our evolution. Rich provided essential strategic and tactical legal assistance as we became a new conference in 2018. He was also lead counsel when Bishop Oliveto’s election, consecration, and assignment were challenged and brought before the Judicial Council in a question of law. Most recently, he helped us move through the legal requirements of disaffiliation with much grace and fortitude.

Rich’s leadership and expertise extended to the Western Jurisdiction and general church as he served on various project and litigation teams. One of his most significant contributions was his work on the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy proceedings.

Outside of the gifts he provided the Mountain Sky, Rich’s resume is a manifesto of service to the practice of law. Rich was an experienced litigator in complex real estate and business matters. He tried well over 100 bench and jury trials in Colorado and Illinois state, federal, bankruptcy, courts, and argued many of these cases in Colorado and federal appellate courts. He represented individuals and families, business owners, religious organizations, special districts, and municipal corporations.

Rich started his practice in 1979 as an associate with a firm in downtown Chicago. He and his wife, the Rev. Dr. Kay Palmer Marsh, moved to Colorado in 1984 where he was a partner in a firm in downtown Denver. He established his own practice on the eastern plains of Colorado while maintaining his practice in Denver.

Rich received his Juris Doctor degree in 1979 from ITT-Chicago Kent College of Law, graduating cum laude. He was a staff member of the Chicago-Kent Law Review and a team member on the International Law Moot Court. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University.

Upon hearing the news, the Bishop commented “Rich was one of a kind. Everything he did was done with great passion and marked by his commitment to faith, fairness, and family. I knew I could count on Rich to give me honest and wise counsel. I loved the way his mind went into overdrive as he helped us work through difficult situations, holding in tension legal requirements and the creation of the greatest good. Rich, along with his wife Kay, served this conference in ways that have made us who we are as United Methodists of the Mountain Sky. Together, we live into a future he helped create.” She ended with the loving notion of “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Perhaps one of his closest colleagues amongst us, Angela Thomas, the Mountain Sky chief financial officer, contributed, “Rich will be deeply missed by colleagues and our conference as a superb chancellor and exceptional leader. I will miss his unfailing encouragement and generosity of time, his quick wit, keen intelligence, sense of humor, and most of all his kindness and gentleness of spirit.”

We all echo those sentiments and offer our prayers for his family and loved ones.

Rich is survived by his wife, Rev. Dr. Kay Palmer Marsh, his daughter Madelyn Marsh and her husband, Patrick Baber, his daughter Alexa Marsh Larson, her husband Mark, and their son, Gavin.

A celebration of Rich’s life will be held on Saturday, November 11th, at 11:00 AM Mountain Time at:

Heart of Longmont United Methodist Church

350 11th Ave

Longmont, CO 80501

A reception in his honor will take place from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM MT at The Fox Hill Club in Longmont.

View the celebration of life on YouTube.

Letters of condolences to Kay and family may be sent to the Marsh Family at:

636 Coffman Street

Suite 200

Longmont, CO 80501


Rich’s family requests that memorial gifts be sent to the Reconciling Ministries Network or to the YMCA of Northern Colorado.



While Bishop Oliveto and the Mountain Sky Conference Board of Trustees begin the process of designating a chancellor, please direct urgent legal matters and questions to so that the conference can continue to support your ministries during this time of loss and transition.