J. Howard Marshall Biography: Check out All You Need to Know About J. Howard Marshall

You are currently viewing J. Howard Marshall Biography: Check out All You Need to Know About J. Howard Marshall

James Howard Marshall II was a wealthy American businessman, academic, and government official. J. Howard Marshall was involved in the oil industry through his work in academia, government, and business. He owned a significant portion of Koch Industries, a major company.

Marshall was married to the famous model and celebrity Anna Nicole Smith for the last 14 months of his life. After his death, there was a long legal battle over his estate, which reached the Supreme Court in the cases of Marshall v. Marshall and Stern v. Marshall.

Ultimately, the court upheld Marshall’s will, and most of his assets were placed in trusts for the benefit of his daughter-in-law, Elaine Tettemer Marshall, and her family. Let’s read more about his full biography and net worth below.

J. Howard Marshall Biography

James Howard Marshall II was born on January 24, 1905, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He passed away on August 4, 1995, at the age of 90 in Houston, Texas, USA. He attended Haverford College and Yale Law School. Marshall had a diverse career as a businessman, academic, and government official. He was married three times.

His first wife was Eleanor Pierce, whom he married in 1931 and divorced in 1961. His second wife was Bettye Bohannon, whom he married in 1961 and who passed away in 1991. His third wife was Anna Nicole Smith, whom he married in 1994. Marshall had two children named J. Howard Marshall III and E. Pierce Marshall.

Family Background | Education

J. Howard Marshall II was born in Germantown, Philadelphia, and was raised as a Quaker. He attended George School, a private high school in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and then studied liberal arts at Haverford College, which were both Quaker institutions.

He graduated from Haverford College in 1926. While in high school and college, Marshall was involved in various activities such as editing school newspapers, leading debate teams, playing soccer as an All-American player, and receiving tennis instruction from professional player Bill Tilden.

He graduated with high honors (magna cum laude) from Yale Law School in 1931. During his time at Yale, he worked as a case editor for the Yale Law Journal and studied with Walton Hale Hamilton, a notable figure in the fields of law and economics.

Koch Industries

In 1952, James Howard Marshall II helped start a company called Great Northern Oil. They built an oil refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota in 1955. This refinery could process heavy, sour crude oil from Canada.

In 1959, a man named Fred Koch bought 35% of Great Northern Oil for $5 million. Another company called Union Oil tried to take control of Great Northern, but Marshall and Koch didn’t want that.

They wanted to keep their assets privately owned, so they stopped the takeover. In 1969, Charles Koch, who had similar ideas about business as Marshall, bought out Union Oil. He then traded some of his shares in Koch Industries for the rest of Marshall’s shares in Great Northern Oil.

J. Howard Marshall Biography

Personal Life

James Howard Marshall II got married to Eleanor Pierce in 1931, but they divorced in 1961. They had two sons together: J. Howard Marshall III and E. Pierce Marshall. Marshall married Bettye Bohannon in 1961, but she passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 1991.

Relationship with “Lady” Diane Walker

In 1982, Marshall met a woman named “Lady” Diane Walker at a strip club. He made her an offer to marry her if his wife Betty passed away due to her illness. Over time, Marshall gave Walker expensive gifts and jewelry worth $15 million.

However, the Internal Revenue Service looked into these gifts because Marshall didn’t pay gift taxes on them. Marshall argued that the gifts were actually “consulting fees.”

Marriage to Anna Nicole Smith

In 1994, at the age of 89, Marshall married a 26-year-old model named Anna Nicole Smith. Their marriage lasted for 14 months until Marshall’s death.

Family Dispute and Estate Battle

In 1980, Marshall’s oldest son, J. Howard Marshall III, disagreed with Charles Koch and his brother David Koch over the future of Koch Industries. J. Howard III wanted the company to go public and pay dividends.

In this disagreement, Marshall bought back the company stock he had previously gifted to his son for $8 million, removing him from his will.

On the other hand, Marshall’s youngest son, E. Pierce Marshall, sided with his father. When Marshall passed away, E. Pierce received most of his father’s estate, valued at $1.6 billion at the time.

Legal Battles and Court Cases

Marshall died in 1995 at the age of 90. After his death, Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall III fought a legal battle with E. Pierce Marshall. They sought to challenge Marshall’s will and trust. In 2001, both Smith and J. Howard III lost their cases in a six-month Texas state court trial.

Anna Nicole’s Bankruptcy and Appeals

During the probate proceedings, Anna Nicole Smith declared bankruptcy in California. She was awarded $474 million as a sanction against E. Pierce Marshall for alleged misconduct.

However, in 2002, the bankruptcy judgment was reduced to $88 million by a federal district court in California. In 2004, a United States Court of Appeals panel vacated the District Court’s decision, ruling that federal courts lacked jurisdiction over state probate matters.

The Supreme Court later reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Marshall v. Marshall, giving Smith another chance to pursue her claims in federal court.

Final Supreme Court Decision

On June 23, 2011, the United States Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 decision, now known as Stern v. Marshall, in favor of the Marshall family.

The Court concluded that non-Article III bankruptcy judges couldn’t have final order jurisdiction over state law-based counterclaims unrelated to resolving the claim itself.

Haverford College Lawsuit

Marshall had pledged $4 million to his alma mater, Haverford College, in 1976. However, by the time of his death, he had only contributed $2 million.

Haverford sued Marshall’s estate in a Houston probate court. In April 2003, a jury ruled that Haverford hadn’t suffered any harm because they hadn’t relied on Marshall’s pledges.


After graduating, James Howard Marshall II worked as an Assistant Dean at Yale Law School from 1931 to 1933. He taught courses on business, finance, and procedure and published articles as part of the legal realism school of thought.

He collaborated with future Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas on a study about bankruptcy administration. Marshall and Norman Meyers also published articles on legal planning in the petroleum industry, offering alternative approaches to the industry’s volatile production practices.

In 1933, Marshall left Yale to work as the Assistant Solicitor at the Department of the Interior under Harold L. Ickes. He played a role in developing regulations for the petroleum industry, including the Code of Fair Competition for the Petroleum Industry and the Connally Hot Oil Act of 1935.

These measures aimed to stabilize oil prices and prevent the circulation of illegal oil between states. In 1935, Marshall left the government to serve as special counsel to the president of Standard Oil of California (now Chevron Corporation).

He later became a partner at Pillsbury Madison Sutro, a law firm that represented the company. During World War II, Marshall returned to Washington, D.C. as Solicitor of the Petroleum Administration for War, where he helped shape U.S. energy policy and contributed to the Cole Pipeline Act of 1941.

He also played a role in the Committee on Reparations and the American Petroleum Institute. In 1944, Marshall moved to Ashland, Kentucky, and became Vice Chairman and President of Ashland Oil and Refining Co. He drafted the executive order that established the National Petroleum Council in 1946.

Over the years, he held executive positions at Signal Oil & Gas, Union Texas Petroleum, and Allied Chemical. He also served as a director of Coastal Corporation. In 1984, Marshall formed Marshall Petroleum as a holding company for his interests in Koch Industries.

J. Howard Marshall Net Worth

J. Howard Marshall II was a wealthy American businessman, lawyer, government official, and academic. He had a lot of money, around $2 billion when he died in 1995. He was famous for being married to a model and actress named Anna Nicole Smith from 1993 until he passed away. When he died, he had about $100 million in his possession.

Our blog is one of the fast-rising blogs that provide individuals with all the background information about celebrities around the world. You can also check out the full Wikipedia biography and net worth of Rosie Horton. Thank you for reading the full biographical information of J. Howard Marshall II.

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.