Read Memorial Bench Plaque
Missy Heidt, front, and Angie Hinson Saturday read the plaque on the concrete pad of this bench installed in the memory of Deborah Marsch at Autumn Hill Park.

Friends and family of a Union woman who was slain last year gathered in a small wooded park to remember her and dedicate a bench and plaque in her memory.

Deborah Marsch, 53, was strangled July 3, 2009, where the bench was installed in Autumn Hill Park.

Diane Pellin was a friend of Marsch's who helped raise funds for the bench.

"If you look up at the beautiful pine trees, you know this is her spot," she said. "I felt it was very, very important to revive this place of the park to let people know and remember what a beautiful place it is.

"Everybody she met remembers Deb and her smile and outgoing personality," Pellin added. "No matter what was happening in life she always found a silver lining."

Marsch was formerly from Hermann and lived in Union for about five years. Her ex-husband lives in the Stony Hill area.

She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She worked as a manager of Video Selection, Hermann, for several years and most recently as a corrections officer in Pacific.

Marsch often was seen at Autumn Hill Park walking her dog, reading or doing paperwork.

After she was killed, her body was taken just outside the city limits.

Former Union resident Timothy Shults confessed to the murder, police said. Marsch was 53 when she was killed. Authorities say Shults strangled Marsch in an apparent random act of violence. He is charged with first-degree murder

Union police, Union fire district and ambulance personnel, and other agencies searched the park area and along a large stretch of Flat Creek for over 12 hours July 3 but did not locate Marsch or any items belonging to her.

"She was a beautiful person and we are all at a loss for her being taken," said Bud Pellin. "This is decent closure to remember her now, instead of how it was then."

Mary Crider, another friend of Marsch, also assisted in raising funds to install the bench.

"She was a precious person. . . loving, giving and kind," said Crider. "She deserved a lot more - she didn't deserve what happened."

Prosecuting Attorney Bob Parks filed the notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Timothy D. Shults, 45, in January. During the status hearing, Shults declined a plea bargain in exchange for a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.