If you threw a dart at a picture of the world, wherever it stuck, Thomas Marsh could have been there.
Marsh of Ellie loved to travel. At the age of 25, he launched his own travel agency, North Coast His Travel.
“I was always really impressed with how he figured it all out on his own, but he was so immersed in what he loved that he did all the research and figured it out and realized it. did whatever it took for his daughter, Melissa Marsh.
Even after the North Coast closed in 2006, Thomas Marsh’s passion for travel continued until his death on July 30th at the age of 62.
obituaryNorth Coast Travel founder Thomas Marsh dies at 62
Building a Business: Marsh’s ‘Another Baby’
Melissa Marsh said her dad sees North Coast Travel as her ‘other baby’.
“He was doing this without a college degree,” she said. “He knew what he was into and he just wanted to do it. It was his pride and joy.”
In 1985, North Coast Travel opened its doors at 2216 W. Eighth St. with two full-time travel agencies, one part-time agency, and Thomas Marsh. Over the next 20 years, the agency hired nearly 20 of his agents and opened her second office in Dallas, Texas.
According to a 2006 report by the Erie Times News, North Coast Travel received international attention.
Through his agency, Thomas Marsh has had the opportunity to travel the world, including Italy, the Caribbean Islands, and various countries throughout Europe.
Melissa Marsh recalls as a child getting ready for travel fairs at what is now the Erie Insurance Arena or stamping brochures at her father’s agency.
“[The agency]was like my second home,” she said. Stamp it, know when to put the elastic band on it, line it up in a box and tape it down.It was fun for me.To hang out with them.”
She was there so often that former North Coast agent Terry Sage remembers Melissa Marsh running around the office as “a pretty girl with braces and long hair.”
Sage, owner of Sage Travel Experts LLC, has worked on the North Coast for 14 years and says he wouldn’t be the travel agency he is today without the guidance of Thomas Marsh.
“If someone had asked me to work the hours I worked and do what I did, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” Sage said. When we asked him to walk on water, we figured out how to do it for him.
Sage recalled that her previous boss was an advocate for travel education. He paid for all his employees to qualify as authorized travel agents and ensured that they were using the most advanced travel system of the time.
“He always made sure we were very professional agents,” Sage said. “He was looking for career talent, and that was all of us. He was very ambitious in the travel industry and wanted the North Coast to make his travels the best they could be.”
To this day, Sage and other former North Coast employees remain in touch and recall their time working with Thomas Marsh.
“Among those of us who have worked for him, I don’t think I can say that my career would have been better if I hadn’t worked on the North Coast,” Sage said.
Becoming an “Uncle”
As much as Thomas Marsh devoted himself to his business, he devoted himself to his family.
When Thomas Marsh’s niece, Abby Gomez, was in second grade, her father suffered a severe brain injury after a tree fell on his head. Shortly after, her parents divorced and her uncle Thomas Marsh intervened.
“I don’t know if my uncle saw it as an obligation to my mother, but he treated us like his own, which was great,” Gomez said.
Gomez remembers every vacation he spent with his uncle and how he attended nearly every event he or his siblings were growing up at. She said her uncle had become her father figure to them.
“It was so easy to be myself with him,” she said. “When I was little, he never criticized me for thinking like a kid.
Last Adventure with the Family to Niagara Falls
During her life, Melissa Marsh has spent many memorable vacations with her father. She didn’t drive with any specific destination in mind, whether it was the Dominican Republic, Hawaii or even a day trip.
But perhaps her most memorable trip with her dad took place on this 4th of July.
“A lot has happened in the last two years of his life,” Melissa Marsh said. “He had a stroke and was in a car accident last year. So he wants to travel again.” So I suggested Niagara Falls.”
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Many years ago Melissa Marsh and her parents visited Niagara Falls and she remembers her father having the time of his life at the Wind Cave attraction. Regardless, Thomas Marsh wanted to go to the waterfall one last time.
Melissa Marsh said her father didn’t let the steps stop her from going up to the top of the double-decker boat and immersing herself in the waterfall.
“He was a champion,” she said. “We sat in the middle and he thought it was so great that after so many years he would enjoy going there again.”
Thomas Marsh’s spirit of adventure never wavered. His daughter hopes those who knew her father remember it.
“He wanted to be part of things, to explore, to live life to the fullest,” she said. “He had a good soul.”
Baylee DeMuth can be reached at 814-450-3425 or email@example.com. follow her on her twitter@BayleeDeMuth.