June 3: Happy Birthday! Marshall Kurfees

Marshall Kurfees

Marshall Clement Kurfees was born on this day in 1904, in Germanton, to John W. and Flora Petree Kurfees.

Marshall attended Germanton High School and Mount Pleasant College and Military Institute.

According to newspaper sources, Marshall became interested in politics as a young man in his mid-twenties.  He was mainly working in political campaigns in the beginning.  In the 1930s he ran for public office several times, but was always defeated.

He married Mabel Click in 1934.  During World War II they worked at the Pentagon in Washington, D. C.

After the war, they returned to Winston-Salem and Marshall managed the Blue Bird Cab Company, and he organized the North Carolina Taxicab Association and became its executive director.

He also continued to run for office, and was elected mayor in 1949, defeating the incumbent, George Lentz, in the primary.  Marshall held the office until 1961, when he decided not to run for re-election.

Marshall made the claim that he ran for office to represent all of the people in Winston-Salem.  And, he promised that he would get a winning baseball club and a new hospital for the city.  The Winston-Salem Cardinals won the pennant in 1950, but it took 10 years to get a new hospital (Forsyth Memorial).

Mrs. Kurfees was his secretary, and gained a reputation for keeping order and keeping others on their toes in the mayor’s office.

After serving six terms as mayor, Marshall was asked to head the city’s Committee for a Model Community.  He held this position for 15 years, and was proud of the accomplishments, such as establishing the Meals on Wheels program.

Marshall passed away in 1991.

Photo courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection.

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