Profile: Winthrop F. Marshall, Chairman-elect, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging

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Winthrop F. Marshall
Winthrop F. Marshall
In November, Winthrop “Win” Marshall's three children will install him as the next chair of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

Tapping his kids was an obvious decision for Marshall, a self-described “single parent dad.”

“When I reflected on who's contributed the most to my life and to my career, as I raised my children, my children also raised me,” the soft-spoken and good-humored Marshall says. 

It is fitting that Marshall, 51, will have a unique swearing-in ceremony. After all, he will be making AAHSA history as the organization's first black chairman.  

“I feel honored to be the first African-American and also the first person of color to be chair of AAHSA,” says Marshall, who is vice president of finance and CFO of Christian Church Homes of Northern California.

He believes his culture and background will help him accomplish his goals. His three-pronged approach, as he calls it, is inclusion, technology and advocacy. He wants to expand AAHSA's reach through technology to those who are not engaged in advocacy. This group includes frontline workers, many of whom are people of color and who often are not even aware of what AAHSA is, he says. 

Still, while he hopes to serve as a role model, he does not believe his race will define him in his new position. Others agree.

“What Win has going for him is Win Marshall, not the color of his skin,” says Mel Matsumoto, executive vice president of Masonic Homes of California.

Marshall's gifts range from his competency as an accountant to his thoughtfulness to his ability to get along with people, friends and colleagues say.

It's evident after talking to Marshall that life's struggles have been valuable teaching tools. One of the most pivotal moments occurred when he had a son, John, at age 17. While others his age have walked away from such responsibilities, he said he did not “because I wanted to be there for him.”

He credits his sense of morality to his parents who took their six children to church every Sunday and nurtured him during his childhood in inner city Oakland. One lingering sorrow is that he could not give back more to his parents, who died when he was establishing his career. He feels indebted to them for taking care of his children while he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees. 

Still, while it was never easy, he cherished his role as a single father—even when that meant being the only father at cheerleading practicing or on a school field trip. Besides John, now 35, he has two daughters, Larajia, 28, and Jaevon, 26. Both John and Larajia are accountants. Jaevon is in college majoring in fashion design and merchandising. Win also has three grandchildren.

“Nothing compares to being a single parent dad and giving my children the opportunity to have a success at life,” offers Marshall, who is not married but has a significant other.

And the deacon-in-training who loves to golf also enjoys giving back through Christian Church Homes, which primarily serves the elderly in low-income housing. 

“It certainly gives you a sense of personal satisfaction and at the end of the day you can go home feeling you have contributed to the greater good,” he says.