Ethel Marshall is arguable the finest women’s athlete in Western New York annals. She is in the National Badminton Hall of Fame for having won the national Singles championships seven consecutive years from 1947-1953. In addition, she won numerous senior doubles titles with her late partner, Bea Massman.
Top level badminton can be a grueling sport. It is a game of constantly sprinting to the shuttlecock (or birdie as it is more commonly known), great racquet dexterity, and superb conditioning. Marshall had all of these attributes and more. She was virtually invincible in her prime.
Marshall’s prowess did not stop at badminton. She took up tennis in her mid 20s and became an out’ standing player in a relatively short time. She went on to win the Buffalo city singles championship thirteen years in a row, from 1948-1960, a feat that has never been accomplished before or since in tennis in western New York. For good measure she also won fifteen consecutive city doubles championships with Massman.
Marshall’s reputation as a badminton teacher is also well known. She has taught badminton for over fifty years in one of the largest programs in the United States. Incredibly, she is still teaching four days a week at age 77 with two hip replacements.
Her outgoing personality and outstanding teaching skills have produced many top players jncluding Jim Lynch, who went on to be
ranked fourth in the United States. Unfortunately, there were no women’s sports teams when Marshall attended Bennett High
School. However, her accomplishments are second to none among the inductees for the first Bennett Sports Hall of Fame.