COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The wife of Cobb County Deputy Marshall Samual Ervin, Jr. remembered him Thursday as "every good thing in this world" in a letter read during his services.
Ervin was killed in the line of duty last week, one of two Cobb sheriff's deputies shot as they were serving a warrant outside a home in Marietta, authorities said.
Ervin's wife, Jodi, provided a letter that was read aloud during the funeral that painted a picture of a devoted father and adoring husband, who was a pillar not just to his family but to his neighborhood and community.
He was, the letter said, "the best dad, the best husband, the best friend and the best employee."
"Marshall was the greatest man I've ever known," the letter stated. "I do not say that as a figure of speech, I mean that in a very literal way. There is not a human I've ever met who was as good as him - would do anything for anyone, patient, kind, generous. He was every good thing in this world."
Ervin had two daughters and loved going to their softball games. He was a towering figure to community kids, as well, hosting a running popsicle Sunday in his driveway for the neighbors.
He was also an avid fisher, and in remarks during the services his staff commander relayed how Ervin, on the day of the shooting, had finally caught a giant bass he'd been after for something like three years.
His neighbors got in touch with Google and got the pond where he'd do his fishing named after him, the staff commander said.
Jodi, in her letter, said, "the world is a better place for having Marshall in it."
Below, read the full letter:
"Marshall was the greatest man I've ever known. I do not say that as a figure of speech, I mean that in a very literal way. There is not a human I've ever met who was as good as him, would do anything for anyone - patient, kind, generous, he was every good thing in this world.
Marshall was the best dad, the best husband, the best friend and the best employee.
He adored me and his kids. No matter how tired, worn out, sore from working - he made time for us. He took care of us. When the girls were babies, May would get her blocks out every day when he was on his way home from work and she would stand at the door and wait for him, and when he got home he sat straight in the floor every day to build with her.
Around that same age, he would come in and they would go straight to the fridge to do the cheese dance, and they would eat a slice of cheese together. He was exhausted from work, but never too tired for his babies.
Whether it was staying up after an overnight shift because Santa came, or getting up early after a late shift for a cheer competition or a softball game, he wasn't going to miss it. Our kids were everything to him.
In the yard with his kids was his favorite place to be, and if he was out with the kids he was ready for all the kids - neighbors, friends, cousins, whoever showed up - playing with the leaf blower, teaching kids to ride bikes, pitching softballs, he was there for just our kids or if 50 kids showed up, it didn't matter to him. We have about 500 popsicles in my garage right now. He had popsicle days for neighborhood kids - that started off as popsicle Friday, but when his shift changed it became popsicle Sunday. The little kids come over to play outside and eat a popsicle at least once a week, and it made for a good excuse to stand in the driveway and drink a beer with their dads too.
Photos: Funeral, procession for Cobb County Deputy Marshall Ervin Jr.
He loved to be outside. Each morning he would make his coffee and go sit outside and lean against the bed of his truck while he drank it, just to be outside. He had a TV in the garage just so that he could be outside. He always loved fishing, but on his current shift he went a lot more. Whether it was 15 minutes or an hour, he would run down to the pond before work at least a couple times a week. He'd rather be outside working in the heat than inside on the couch.
His loyalty was unmatched - to me to his friends and to his job. If he was doing something, it was going to be done correctly. Whether that was being a friend, a dad, a husband, completing a task at work or just working on a project.
He wanted to learn things. He wanted to know how to do things himself, he wanted to be good at whatever he did.
He was patient - definitely the more mellow half of this relationship, and I ask him all the time - 'Marshall Ervin, why are you so good to me?' He loved me well, we grew together. We started dating at 17, and at 20 years together our relationship just kept getting better and better.
We were standing in the ocean this summer on vacation - I said to him, 'Lots of people in my life love me, but you choose me. Your family loves you, your kids love you, but that's a built-in love. You pick me on purpose, you wake up and choose to love me every day.'
And he just said something like this and I quote: 'Of course I do, you're my sweet ... gal.'
His family was everything to him. His extended family as well, but we always talked about the four Ervs - that was it. Me, him and the kids, we would do anything as long as we were together.
The world is a better place for having Marshall in it. He was a light, he was an old soul, he was beautiful, perfect, he was a wonderful man. To know him was to love him, the girls and I were blessed for the time that we had with him.
I want to thank everyone here today, thank you for loving my precious husband, thank you for loving me and my children. The outpouring of love and support from my family has been unbelievable. There have been so many moving parts and everyone has been so patient and so kind - you have all filled my cup during the worst time in my life and I will be forever grateful."