Three Children Died In An Easter Morning 2001 Fire At Katie Mae Marshall’s Walnut Hill Home. Saturday, A New Park Was Dedicated In Her Honor.

July 11, 2021

Katie Mae Marshall loved the Lord, and she loved children.

She lived on North Cypress Street in Walnut Hill in a modest mobile home, always taking care of children that needed a place to stary on about $800 a month. She provided them love, and raised them by the Bible. Neighborhood children knew they were always welcome.

Always love, always laughter at Miss Katie Mae’s house on that dusty dirt road.

Until about 3 a.m. on Easter morning 2001.

A raging fire swept through that modest mobile home with 10 children inside. Nine-year old Laura Marshall, eight-year old Jason Richardson, and his three-year old brother Floyd Richardson did not survive.

Saturday, 20 years after that horrible fire, the ribbon was cut on a new Escambia County Park dedicated in her honor — the Katie Mae Marshall Memorial Park. Once again, Miss Katie Mae, who passed away a decade ago, is again bringing the laughter of children back to North Cypress Street.

For more photos, click here.

“Neighborhood children knew they were always welcomed to Miss Marshall’s home. She had a compassion for children that cannot be explained. Without hesitation the community thought it would be befitting to name the park in her honor,” said Chandra Fountain, who helped bring the park to reality.

“Being a good person does not depend on your religion or status in life, your race or skin color, political views or culture. It depends on how good you treat others, and she treated people with love and respect no matter who you were,” Marshall’s son Jerry Russell told in an email.

“She was well known in and outside of the community from a helping hand to simply a sweet inspiring conversation. It didn’t take much to make her happy — a phone call, a card, a visit, or a kiss before saying good night. She lived to make our lives better and was proud to do so,” Russell continued. “She raised a lot of kids and touched a lot of hearts … this memorial park will continue to carry on her love that she had for the community.”

The Katie Mae Marshall Memorial Park is located at 39 North Cypress Street in Walnut Hill, just north of Arthur Brown Road (click to map). Escambia County constructed the park on a small parcel of land owned by the county.

“It’s the first step. Over the next couple of years, we think we can continue adding,” Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry told a small crowd at Saturday morning’s ribbon cutting. “Your community was in need of one (a park), and we are glad to be able to put that on the ground.”

For more photos, click here. photos, click to enlarge.


5 Responses to “Three Children Died In An Easter Morning 2001 Fire At Katie Mae Marshall’s Walnut Hill Home. Saturday, A New Park Was Dedicated In Her Honor.”

  1. Darla Coburn on July 11th, 2021 12:14 pm

    Never met Miss Katie Mae but I did know 3 of the children who she cared for, Jason that sweet 8 year old that passed away in the fire was one of them. May we all follow in her example of selflessness. She not only talked of Jesus Christ but also displayed His love. Reminds me of my grandmother, Genie Peterson with over 35 foster children over many years. Maw-Maw always said there was room for more. Actions do speak louder than words.
    Great job in naming the park after an awesome lady. May God receive glory & Miss Katie Mae always be remembered.

  2. Samuel R Stewart on July 11th, 2021 12:04 pm

    That Easter Sunday was my first ever fire call while being a volunteer fire fighter where someone did not survive I will remember that morning the rest of my life

  3. Good To See on July 11th, 2021 11:08 am

    It’s nice to see the local communities coming together and good coming back to the world.

  4. Charlotte Rebecca Bates on July 11th, 2021 10:29 am

    Soooo so sorry for the loss of those children. What a wonderful contribution for such a loving, deserving lady.

  5. Willene Bryan on July 11th, 2021 7:20 am

    This is wonderful for all the little children.

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