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Reflecting on the life of Mac Marchman

POSTED: April 4, 2013 7:17 p.m.
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J. Malcolm “Mac” Marchman enjoyed cards and the Atlanta Braves.

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J. Malcolm Marchman, who was known as “Mac,” came to Springfield at age 21. A big tall man, he had great presence and loved people. With a business course and a few years banking under his belt in his hometown of White Plains, he fit right in this “Small Town USA.”


Arriving to liquidate the Exchange Bank of Springfield by issuing stock certificates in the years of the Great Depression, he boarded on the main street at the Hodge House. Ironically, the site of the former boarding house at the south side of Laurel and Second streets became the home of the bank he worked for in years to come.


He was asked to stay on by Mr. Jim Tebeau as the bank reopened, and he became cashier and later president, almost running the bank single-handed until 1932 when Emory Shearouse joined as cashier. The Exchange Bank was the only bank of five or six in the county history to remain solvent and was the sole bank in the county for many years. Mr. Mac’s friendly, one-on-one, casual, personal style with the customer was unique. He had a pretty good read on most people as far as their honesty and ability to repay loans and gained their trust.


At lunch when he would go home, the windows remained wide open in the bank with the curtains blowing in the breeze. He would return to a line of customers on the sidewalk waiting to do business, whether the door was locked or not.


Mrs. Ria Hodge and her daughters ran the boarding house where he lived.  He soon met her niece, Mildred Jaudon. She was a schoolteacher at the Clyo School and was boarding with Euclid and Bill Mingledorff in Clyo.


A native of Springfield, Mildred spent the weekends with her family on the red clay hill on Stillwell Road beside the creek on the edge of town (Some call this place now Uncle Earl’s Mountain as he was Mildred’s brother Earl Jaudon, the bachelor who lived on the old home place ). Mac began to court her, and they married July 14, 1926.


Mildred persuaded Mac, a staunch Baptist, to join her church, Holy Trinity Lutheran.  He said it did not matter which church as all worshiped the same God. Mr. Mac made a fine Lutheran and they were at the church whenever the doors were open, active in every way. In his younger days before fence laws, when cattle wandered about Springfield, he went early to remove the cow patties off the lawn before services.


He taught Sunday school, was church treasurer for many years and served on church council over many terms.  They built their home a block from the church on Oak Street.


The Marchmans had a son, the late J. Malcolm Marchman, known as “Little Mac,” and a daughter, Mary Will M. Long.  Both children were educators. Malcolm married and wound up living in Macon, and Mary Will married Coach Jim Long and lived in Springfield. Mac and Mildred enjoyed their grandchildren: (the late) M. John Marchman, Susan Marchman, Brad Long and Bruce Long.


Mr. Mac loved baseball and the Atlanta Braves were his favorite team. He was always supportive of church and home teams, donating mostly to the local teams to help them with equipment, shirts and caps. The local teams competed against teams such as Union Bag and the Sugar Refinery.


Things that he enjoyed included playing “Set Back,” a card game. If there would have been such a thing as a “Set Back” champion, he would have ranked near the top. He played tennis in town and helped maintain the courts on what is now Ulmer Park.


A community civic minded man, he was a charter member of the Springfield Lions Club and took an avid interest in Boy Scouts, earning the coveted “Silver Beaver Award” for his support. He became an associate member of the Georgia Salzburger Society. Mr. Mac helped with the American Cancer Society and was a “multi-gallon donor” of blood to the American Red Cross.


After serving more than 50 years in community banking, he retired in April 1969.  His retirement was spent doing his favorite things, which included watching the Braves play, playing “Set Back” and fishing in Ebenezer Creek. His family was dear to him, and he shared nearly 50 years with his wife Mildred.


Mr. Mac lived alone for 10 years after the death of his beloved wife. On Mother’s Day just after his 80th birthday, he suffered a severe stroke. He struggled with therapy and the issues of aging and declining ailments to try and recuperate. Despite good therapy and care, he could not talk much and had complications.


Even under the stress of the illness he showed great dignity and a strong will to live and reached out to his family with love in his limited state. He succumbed after being an invalid for about four months enduring the Stroke Unit and efforts at rehabilitation. Mr. Mac passed away Sept. 16, 1982 and is buried in Springfield Cemetery beside Mildred, just a block from his home and his church.


It can be said of “Mac” Marchman that God broke the mold when he made him. He was “one of a kind.”  Like Will Rogers, “he never met a man he did not like.” Mr. Mac was a benefactor and contributor to the community in so many ways in a quiet and unassuming manner.


His daughter Mary Will says he taught her to see the good in everyone and that there is some good in every person. He influenced her life in so many ways and she says this quote sums it up: “When the great tree of life is gone, I shall always be proud to be its fruit.”


This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: susanexley@historiceffinghamsociety.org.

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