Marshall wedding

While a cadet at VMI, George Marshall met his future wife, Elizabeth ("Lily") Carter Coles. "She was a very lovely looking woman," said Marshall. "I guess you might call her a beauty." Lily lived with her mother in a house just off of the campus. She was "the finest amateur pianist" Marshall had ever heard, and her music and charm so captivated him that he routinely "ran the block" to see her. These visits were against school regulations and would be dismissal offenses if discovered. Because Marshall was the senior military officer of his class, he gambled that he was above suspicion. Moreover, he was in love. The young couple were married on February 11, 1902, in a simple Episcopal ceremony inside the bride's home. The somber-looking wedding party pictured here on the Coles's front porch was not entirely a harbinger of things to come. The marriage was an extraordinarily happy one for twenty-five years, until Lily's death in 1927. She died of a heart condition that had militated against a strenuous life or ever having children.

Marshall-Coles wedding party
Unidentified photographer
Left to right:
Marie (Marshall's sister), Lily, George,
Stuart, Mr. and Mrs. George C. Marshall Sr.,
and Mrs Walter Coles (the bride's mother)
Gelatin silver print, 18.4 x 23.8 cm.
(7 1/4 x 9 3/8 in.), 1902
The George C. Marshall Foundation

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