Marshall Earle Dobrott, 88, passed away on Jan. 31, 2013, at home in Prescott, Ariz. He was born on Aug. 9, 1924, in Rochester, N.Y., the son of Marjorie Juanita (nee Benedict), a registered nurse and Earle Sylvester Dobrott, an auto-mechanic and a racecar driver.
During the height of the Depression, Marshall's family moved to Southern California to obtain work, and eventually settled in Pasadena, Calif.
Marshall attended John Marshall Junior High School (JMJH) and participated in track and ran the 100-yard dash in the low 9s. While excellent in math and science, he also was an accomplished draftsman and model airplane maker. Marshall sang first soprano in the JMJH's contribution to the Pasadena Boys Choir, directed by Dr. John Henry Lions until his voice changed. Although he clearly had an artistic bent, his heart was never far from his father's love of automobiles. He was clearly a Renaissance young man. Upon graduating from junior high, he attended the high school division of Pasadena Junior College, intending to pursue a career in mechanical engineering.
Then came Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 8, 1941, he and many others like him joined the U.S. Navy, and he was sent to San Diego where he joined a converted schooner for patrol off the coast of Mexico and Central America. This abrupt baptism illustrated the desperate state of American naval forces in early 1942. He married his life-long sweetheart, Miss Nancy Lee Bain of Pasadena after his first cruise.
The sailing ship experience taught Marshall not only general seamanship, but navigation, Morse code, semaphores and introduced him to his life-time love for the sea. He knew how to tie every knot in the Midshipman's Handbook.
He later participated in the island hopping aboard the troop ship El Cano with various Marine divisions, finally culminating in the invasion of Okinawa in the spring of 1945, when Marshall's ship delivered elements of the Sixth Marine Division to the west coast just above the ancient Okinawa Capitol of Naha and in short order cut the island in two strategically. The upper part of the island was quickly conquered by the Marines and U.S. Army units.
The major battles took place in the south around Naha, but the struggle ended in early summer. Marshall and a colleague commandeered a jeep and visited the ancient Capitol. He said later that most of the old Capitol was "only two feet high," alluding to the fierceness of the struggle.
It was during this time frame that his ship was hit while in port by either a Kamikaze or a small one- or two-man submarine. A cruiser was moored nearby and Marshall speculated that his ship was hit by mistake and that the attackers were aiming at a higher value target in the early dawn. Marshall recovered his wife's picture from his locker the next day.
After the war, Marshall came home to start a family and resume his education. He completed his high school diploma and moved on to his courses in mechanical engineering while working as a draftsman for the Ruckstall Corporation.
In later years, while living in Fallbrook, Calif., he worked as a yacht broker in Oceanside and a foreman for Driscol Marine in San Diego. He enjoyed yacht racing as a member and commodore of the Oceanside Yacht Club. Marshall and Nancy moved to Prescott in 1975. There he enjoyed hunting with his bird dogs, model boat building and sailing. He never lost his love for the sea.
Marshall is survived by his wife, Nancy; brother, Donald R. Dobrott and family of San Francisco; his son, Stephen J. Dobrott of Hillsboro, N.M.; and daughter, Kristine L. Schaffer of Prescott, Ariz.; granddaughters, Rochelle Adkins, Jamie Nevarez, Jessica Murray; grandsons, Matt, Nathan, Daniel Bowen, Timothy Schaffer; and 17 great grandchildren.
Memorial services will be noon Friday, April 19, 2013, at the Veterans Memorial Chapel, 500 N. Highway 89, Prescott, Ariz. under the direction of the Hampton Funeral Home of Prescott. Marshall's remains will be interred at the Prescott National Cemetery. For online condolences, please visit www.hamptonfuneralhome.com.
Information provided by survivors.