Bella Marshall who is a longtime official with the City of Detroit and Wayne County and is also the estranged wife of the late cable TV and casino magnate Don Barden, passed away earlier this week in her home located in northwest Detroit. Her publicist, Patrice Green stated that the cause of death was no clear as of yet. Marshal, 62 was married to Barden for over 20 years, and the two were a veritable power couple throughout Detroit business and the political worlds in between. Marshall also served as Detroit’s finance director under Mayor Coleman Young. Earlier this week, the Detroit City Council, at the request of the Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, observed a moment of silence to mark the passing of Bella Marshall.
After leaving the city, Marshall then worked for Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, first as the chief financial officer and then as the chief operating officer. "Today, I lost a friend and former colleague. Bella Marshall was an outstanding business person and a dedicated public servant for Wayne County," Ficano said in a statement. "She was hardworking and a passionate voice for the people. While she was fortunate herself, she never forgot her roots. She will be missed by the many lives she touched." Even though Barden and Marshall were well known for their business and political involvement, it was also their personal lives that grabbed the headlines early of last year. He husband fought with lung cancer early in January that eventually claimed his life, Marshall filed the court papers seeking to be appointed as his guardian stating that he “is most often incoherent and unable to act rationally with respect to financial and family matters.”
Barden responded to this request by filing for a divorce, saying that he was fully of sound mind and aware of the case his wife filed and that he had went ahead and hired his own attorney to contest the allegations brought upon him. Barden then asked the courts to divide the couple’s assets according to the prenuptial agreement that was made between them before their marriage in 1988. Barden died on May 19, 2011 before the divorce case was ever resolved. There are other people out there that mourned the passing of Marshall: "Bella was a tremendous cheerleader for the city of Detroit," said longtime friend and radio talk show host Mildred Gaddis. "With all of her wealth, she could have lived anywhere. She chose to stay in the city of Detroit." She was survived by a daughter, Alana Barden. The funeral arrangements are pending.