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Arthur Marshall De Bruhl
November 3, 1935 ~ October 27, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old
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Arthur Marshall De Bruhl, known as Marshall, died on October 27, one week shy of his 88th birthday, at the Charles George VA Hospital. An editor turned author, he was both a gentleman of the world and a loyal son of the North Carolina mountains and leaves behind a world of relatives and friends who span the many locations and eras in which he lived.
The second-youngest of nine children born to Arthur M. and Janie (Wright) De Bruhl, of Woodfin, De Bruhl attended public schools there and in Asheville where he was a voracious reader and was encouraged to write by his Lee Edwards High English teacher, author Thomas Wolfe's first cousin, Mary Louise Wolfe. He went on to graduate, in 1958, from Duke University with a degree in psychology.
Marshall enlisted in the Naval Officers Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and was commissioned an ensign in 1959, serving the next four years mainly in Morocco. After being honorably discharged in 1962, De Bruhl moved to Manhattan and began a career in book publishing, initially as a copy editor. During his publishing career, he worked for such publishing giants as Crowell-Collier-Macmillan; Charles Scribner's Sons (publisher of Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel), where he ran the reference division and was senior vice-president of the company; and Doubleday where he served as executive editor and editorial director of Anchor Books. Over his career, Marshall developed a reputation for shepherding books into print that reflected his exceptional knowledge of music and opera. In “The City” and beyond, Marshall enjoyed shows, dinners, arts, and culture while becoming a dear friend and trusted confidante of a star-studded list of artists, musicians, authors, and creatives.
After an accomplished career in New York City, Marshall encouraged Asheville-born, sixth-generation North Carolinian John Ehle to write Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation, a book that the author dedicated to Marshall—a testament to the professional and personal impact he had on many.
Following his career as an editor, he authored three historic non-fiction books: Sword of San Jacinto, Firestorm, and The River Sea. Each book marked an era in his life.
His deep and abiding interest in American history led him to write Sword of San Jacinto, a biography of Sam Houston, whose victory at the Battle of San Jacinto not only freed Texas from Mexico but added all or part of 14 new states to the U.S., and whose abhorrence of slavery was fascinating to his biographer. While researching the book, Marshall lived at Liz Carpenter’s “Grass Roots” guest house and quickly was befriended by "everyone in Texas worth knowing"—a huge cast that included Lady Bird Johnson, Governor Ann Richards, Representative Barbara Jordan, writer Molly Ivins, and journalist Bill Moyers.
He followed that book with Firestorm, an account of the bombing of Dresden in an Allied raid in February 1945, an event so destructive that it stunned the world. In all, 1,200 planes participated in the most devastating air raid to date—a tragedy that Firestorm explored and about which the book set the long-obscured historical record straight.
Over the years, De Bruhl spent time in New York City, East Hampton, Austin, and Charleston. He traveled extensively in Europe, especially to the Salzburg Music Festival. For the last decades, De Bruhl lived in the family home in Woodfin, built in 1905 by his grandfather, on property in his grandmother’s family since the 1840s.
He was predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Janie De Bruhl, aunts and uncles, his siblings Deane, Everett, Josephine, George, Rita, Polly, as well as his three beloved Vizlas, Zinka, Zinka Too, and Zinka Lee. He had recently adopted Beau, a beautiful hound. Survivors include his siblings Anna De Rossett and Norman De Bruhl along with three generations of adoring nieces and nephews.
Marshall delighted in dogs, Dewar's, gardening, writing Letters to the Editor, holding court at Avenue M and Carmel’s, and sending near-daily emails about politics and political correctness to a long mailing list of recipients. He never met a good line from a movie or play that he couldn't instantly remember, or quote again at the right time. He had a lifelong ability to make and keep friends, and to keep them laughing too. Marshall came of age in a time before gay rights, and yet throughout his life he always lived and loved how he pleased.
Family and friends are invited to celebrate Marshall's life on Saturday, November 18th. A memorial service will be held from 11 am–12 noon at The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, located in Woodfin at 1201 Riverside Drive. From 2 pm–4 pm, an open house will be held at his home at 148 Elk Mountain Road (parking available next door in the Connection Point Church lot, 142 Elk Mountain Road).