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Tributes are paid to ‘caring’ wife who drowned in canal
FAMILY and friends of a pensioner found dead in the Oxford Canal have paid tribute to a “thoughtful and caring” grandmother-of-five.
The body of Barbara Marsh, of Hardwick Avenue, Kidlington, was discovered in the canal, off Yarnton Lane, near Kidlington Football Club, at about 8am on Wednesday last week.
The 83-year-old’s death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.
Her husband of 45 years, Leslie Marsh, told the Oxford Mail: “She was humorous and she was very caring.
“She was so thoughtful to people, so understanding and so caring.”
Mr Marsh, 83, added that her death was a “colossal shock” and said: “She loved her daughters and she loved her grandchildren.”
Mrs Marsh worked on West End shows in London during the 1960s creating costumes.
The couple married in 1968 in Rhos-on-Sea in Wales and Mrs Marsh became a housewife. She also worked as a volunteer for British-Arab Exchanges, helping to build relationships in the Middle East.
Mr Marsh retired as a Methodist minister 10 years ago, and the couple moved to Kidlington from Stoke-on-Trent.
They have two daughters, Joanna Griffiths, 43, who now lives in Dubai, and Louise Reid, 41, who lives in Peterborough.
Mr Marsh, a volunteer historian who works with Oxford University postgraduates, said: “She has struggled most of her life with bi-polar disorder. She was very frail.
“She has had episodes before but fortunately they happened when any serious outcome could be saved.”
He added: “Barbara was a very gifted artist, with prints that had raised thousands of pounds for charity in the 1960s.”
Mr Marsh said the last time he saw he wife was on Tuesday evening when he went out to work in Oxford.
When he came back after 10pm he said he did not realise she was not in bed.
He said: “I didn’t know, I always go to bed in the dark. I didn’t look at her bed.”
When he woke up the next morning Mrs Marsh was not there and he alerted the police.
Mrs Marsh was a member of Kidlington Art Group for several years.
Group secretary Daphne Leach, 75, said: “Barbara was a talented artist. She was lovely – she used to invite us round to paint the flowers in her garden and we have had cups of tea round there.”
Mrs Leach added: “We shall miss her. It was a shock.”
A thanksgiving service for Mrs Marsh’s life is being held at 2.30pm on Friday, September 27, at the Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford, before a private family service the following day.
The family is asking for donations to the British-Arab Exchanges.
Police officers are trying to trace Mrs Marsh’s movements before she died and are particularly interested in knowing if she left her home on the evening of Tuesday, September 10, or the morning of Wednesday, September 11.
Investigating officer Dc Joe Stevenson, from Banbury Force CID, said: “We are still unable to identify what time she left her house and so any information could prove vital.
“She was white, with grey hair and would have been wearing black shoes, blue trousers and a blue jumper.
“She would either have been wearing or carrying a blue-grey overcoat, was wearing glasses and was using a walking stick.”
Call police on 101 if you have any information.
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