Juanita Daniel Marsh
judge. Substance abuse advocate.
2020 Inductee, Georgia Women of Achievement
“As women in the community, we must exert power in the sphere in which we reach. Women have special powers of imagination, sensitivity, persuasion, communication, plus many others. Out greatest use of power can be our service to the community.”
City, Town, Region
Judge Juanita Daniel Marsh was born December 4, 1926, in Elberton, Georgia to E.R. “Bud” and Jessie Stratton Daniel, who were farmers. She graduated first in her class at Centerville High School and attended the University of Georgia on scholarship. She also studied at Teachers College, Columbia University. After graduation, she went to Statesboro, Georgia to work as a home demonstration agent. There she met and later married George Elliott Marsh Sr. in December 1947. They moved to Atlanta where George worked for HM Patterson and later Delta Airlines before his death in 1989. Juanita attended Woodrow Wilson Law School at night, and was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1951. She taught elementary school in Atlanta and Fulton County for many years and had four children, Brad, Blake, Sherry, and Elliott Marsh. (Obituary, 2013).
In 1971 she was selected judge of the City Court of College Park, GA. She was always very proud of being one of the first women judges in the State of Georgia. When appointed, Marsh was one of the first female judges in the state. As judge of College Park, she was very active in her profession. “When appointed Marsh was one of three female judges in the state” (Atlanta Journal Constitution South Fulton, 1997). Her responsibilities as a judge expanded statewide by helping to write the early handbook for Municipal Court judges and serving on the Judicial Council of Georgia (Judicial Planning Committee Report, 1979). She was recognized with many awards and commendations throughout her life, including the WSB Radio 750 Award (Letter from Bill Wainwright and WSB Radio, Cox Broadcasting Corporation Transcript, 1973), South Fulton’s Influential Top 10 (South Fulton Extra, 1986), and Native Citizen Award (Personal Notes, Elbert County Chamber, 2004).
While serving as judge she saw first-hand the problems of substance abuse. As a result, in the early 1970’s she began to look for treatment options for people with substance abuse and mental health issues. After facing many challenges with her youngest son, Blake (Author Helyn Trickey, “Love is the Key”, 1994 News Article), and convinced of the need for better care for those afflicted with substance addition, Juanita founded Anchor Hospital in 1986 (Obituary, 2013). The vast impact that Judge Marsh and Anchor Hospital has had on thousands of patients is difficult to measure (Anchor and Talbott-Marsh Treat Addicted Professionals, Atlanta Business Chronicle, 1996). However, the testament of Lyle Prouse, the first airline pilot in aviation history to be arrested and convicted of flying under the influence, speaks volumes. He first met Judge Marsh when he entered Anchor Hospital, and from his treatment has remained sober since his arrest in 1990. Due to his successful treatment at Anchor, he was reinstated as captain at Northwest Airlines, received a Presidential Pardon from Bill Clinton, and continues to work with airlines and pilots in recovery everywhere (Letter from Lyle Prouse, 2019).
The legacy of Juanita Daniel Marsh is an inspiring example for all women of Georgia. In addition to serving as a trailblazer by becoming one of the first women judges, she extended her sphere of influence to find treatments for substance abuse patients as she saw the need first-hand in the court room. Judge Juanita Marsh has had an everlasting influence in dual fields. One, she was among one of the first female judges in the State of Georgia. She served on the 24-member Judicial Planning Committee as the only female committee member, working to write the early handbook for Municipal Court judges while serving on the Judicial Council of Georgia. The second major area of contributions includes her work as founder of a substance abuse facility, Anchor of Atlanta, which is still operational today. Her steadfast contributions pioneered the way for alternative sentencing in the courts for rehabilitation of those convicted of substance or drug-related crimes. Judge Juanita Daniel Marsh greatly impacted the State of Georgia and her influence has permeated beyond the state to a national level regarding her work as a substance abuse advocate.
“My life will not be complete until I see everyone who has a drug problem given the opportunity to be treated. By doing this, the demand will be eliminated and there will be no dealer. Our streets will be safe again and young people can pursue their dreams.” (Atlanta Must Unite to Stop the Plague of Drug Abuse, Article by Judge Juanita Marsh, 1994).