Marion Wade was the founder of ServiceMaster and a devoted Christian. Despite dropping out of school in eighth grade and starting his own business during the Great Depression, by putting God first in his life, he went on to create a company that still thrives today.
Born in Arkansas in 1898, after leaving school, Marion become an office boy in order to help support his family. In 1915, Marion joined the Chicago Braves, a semi-pro team, as a catcher. After his brother’s death in combat during the First World War, Marion enlisted with the Marines in 1918. In 1920, Marion Wade married and left baseball to begin life as a salesman. Nine years later, in the midst of the Great Depression, he began a new home and office moth-proofing company. On January 1, 1947 the new company of Wade, Wenger & Associates was formed in Chicago. In addition to moth-proofing, the firm now offered carpet and rug cleaning as well. Very quickly, the business grew, and in 1954 the name of the company changed to ServiceMaster. The company which Wade founded almost fifty years ago is still thriving today and offers a variety of residential and commercial services including lawn and landscape maintenance, termite and pest control, maintenance and repair of heating, air conditioning, plumbing and appliances, cleaning and furniture maintenance and home warranties.
Marion Wade had a strong personal faith and a genuine desire to serve and honor God in all he did. Taking his personal convictions into the business world, he saw great worth in each individual. As a result, he respected every customer and employee, believing that each one had been made in God’s image. Marion E. Wade was also an enthusiast of the works of C.S. Lewis. After his death on November 28, 1973 (at age 75), friends and family of Mr. Wade established an endowment to provide a yearly grant for what was then known as “The C.S. Lewis Collection.” The name of the collection officially changed to “The Marion E. Wade Center” in 1974 in honor of the endowment and the legacy of Marion E. Wade. To learn more about his extraordinary life, read his autobiography, The Lord is My Counsel by Marion Wade.
The_Lord_is_my_Counselby Marion E Wade (in .pdf format)