Steve Marsden’s life has been a series of relocations. But Marsden has repeatedly found himself back in Wisconsin. And his latest move was back to Waunakee.
Marsden was born in Platteville. His childhood was spent in Hazel Crest, Illinois. He was in fifth grade when his family moved to Marinette.
When it came to academics, he said, “I was always good at math. That’s why I’m an actuary.” His other interests tended toward sports. “Primarily baseball, but I played all the sports,” he explained.
He played third baseman and pitched.
“But pitching was what I was best at. I was hoping to play pro ball. I knew I had a chance. But if I wasn’t drafted, I wanted to play in college and get a college education.” So he accepted a scholarship to pitch for his home-state Badgers in 1976.
Marsden recalled, “There was some discipline involved to be sure. I had to treat baseball as kind of my fun time, which it was. I got good grades and got through the business school.”
In addition to a marketing degree, Marsden also found his future wife at UW. Rose Fassbender of Sun Prairie was a batgirl for the baseball team. The two began dating toward the end of his Badger career and were wed the year after his 1981 graduation.
Marsden noted that UW discontinued baseball “not too long afterward.” Demonstrating a self-deprecating sense of humor, he added laughing, “That’s the kind of effect I had on the program!”
In fact, the Los Angeles Dodgers thought highly enough of Marsden to draft him in the ninth round. Thus began Marsden’s next road odyssey. He played rookie ball in Canada that year and was promoted to Double A San Antonio the next summer.
“The main thing I had was a sinking fastball and pretty good control. I was doing real well. Then I blew my arm out. I knew when I threw a pitch that something bad happened,” he said. Surgery followed.
Over the next few years, his road to recovery included minor league stops from California to Maine. By 1984, Marsden had earned a promotion to Triple A.
Rose and Steve were in a head-on car crash in icy conditions that following winter. Rose was hospitalized for quite a while. About his own injuries, Marsden said, “Broke my arm, my leg, all my ribs. And that was the end of baseball.”
Marsden’s decision to apply his marketing degree took them back on the road. After a stop in Kansas City, the Marsdens settled in Atlanta for about 13 years. It was then that he began an actuarial career that let him utilize both his analytical and creative skills.
In 1998, Marsden took a job with Sentry Insurance and the couple moved into Waunakee’s Six Mile Creek neighborhood. Soon they’d adopted daughter Isabella from China.
But Marsden’s career arc again included moving. Over a five-year period, Marsden worked in Ohio, Minnesota and Texas.
“It helped me grow. From the job point of view, I wouldn’t have done it any different. For the family it was too much travel. It wasn’t intended,” he said.
About six years ago, he took the opportunity to again join Sentry Insurance where he is now an assistant vice-president. The family has settled in by the park in Southbridge. Marsden raved how the neighbors are great and “Waunakee’s obviously wonderful.”
Marsden said that in recent years, family time has centered around Isabella’s activities. Isabella just completed her freshman year in the honors program studying biotech at UW-Madison.
Otherwise, “Rose is big into horses,” he said.
They travel to numerous dressage competitions. For relaxation and enjoyment, Steve takes to the links.
“I golf a lot over at the Meadows,” he said.
The Marsden family has also grown active in the Food for Kidz program. Marsden grew animated as he described the two-and-a-half million meals served both in this country and abroad that have been generated locally. Marsden proudly added that all this was on an entirely volunteer basis. Marsden beamed as he described how 400,000 meals were assembled at Waunakee High School last fall.
Marsden was asked if meals were the last thing he expected to have to pack. He confided that he and Rose would probably always have a place in Wisconsin, as well as maybe someplace a little warmer “for the winter at least.”
He noted that Aiken, South Carolina, is a good horse community “and has golf, so there’s that connection to the two things we like.”