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February 6, 2018

Nigel And Marsha Leach

I left England at 22.

By the time I met Marsha at 26, I had traveled in 30 countries. I was an expedition leader and led overland adventures from London to Kathmandu in Nepal. The trip lasted 10 weeks one way, and I had 25 passengers.

I also led treks into the Himalayas to the base camp at Mount Everest. A friend I met in Bermuda asked me to come and work at a bar in his family's restaurant in Arnold. He said, “I also want you to meet a girl that just started working for us. I think you will like her.” I flew in from London and he insisted on taking me from the airport to have a drink.

I sat at the bar and looked around the room. There punching an order into the cash register was this girl. The bar was dark but the cash register had small lights so you could see the keys. She was wearing a bright yellow top, and her skin was the darkest brown, and she had beautiful, long, dark hair. She had a lovely figure. She had beautiful tiny hands I loved holding. That was Marsha.

Our first date was a foursome. We went to Fran O’Brien’s in Annapolis. We spent a lovely summer together, and we went to Round Bay every day to sit on the beach and swim. Eventually, in the fall, I had to leave because my visa ran out. I made no promises to her because I didn't know when I could get back, and she thought she would never see me again.

When I got back to London, I realized how much I missed her. We used to write every day. Eventually, my credentials got me a job driving six-week overland trips around the United States for a London company. As much as I could easily navigate the world, my Marsha had no sense of direction. I led her and gave her physical direction.

In case you are thinking I was her knight in shining armor and the hero in this story, you would be wrong. She is the one who gave me direction; her gentle soul gave me my direction in life. She showed me the love of Jesus Christ. She never tried to convert me; she just led me by example. Eventually, after seven years of marriage, things were getting boring, so I was told I would become a father. The greatest name anybody has ever called me is Dad. I love being a father. Marsha gave me that direction.

When we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our life together, she said, “You don't need me for anything. You can cook and clean and take care of yourself. You don't need a wife.”

I said, “Honey, I don't need a cook, I don't need a maid, I don't need a mom, I just need you to love me.” And she did.

She loved me so hard for 40 years. I am not sure I deserved such a wonderful person.

When she was at home and I was caring for her, we would lie in bed because she was too weak to get up and move around. I had my arms around her and she said, “I just want to lie in your arms forever.” I started crying and I promised her she would.

Marsha taught English at Severna Park High School for 37 years.

She died October 25, 2015, after a long battle with breast cancer.

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