Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Samuel W. Marsh, 78, who served in both world wars and founded Marsh Realty here in 1960, died of a cerebral thrombosis Friday at a hospital in Sun City, Ariz.

Col. Marsh was born in Washington. He enlisted in the Army at the age of 16 and served in the infantry in World War I.

He came back to Washington in 1920, served for three years with the Marine Corps, then worked for the federal government.

Col. Marsh joined the D.C. National Guard in the mid-1920s. He was called to active Army duty in 1941 and was sent to China, where he commanded base defenses for several airfields. He was awarded the Bronze Star.

He was commandant of Air Transport Command headquarters at Andrews Air Force Base before retiring in 1960.

He formed Marsh Realty in July 1960, and retired to Sun City in 1968.

He was a member of the Army and Navy Club.

He is survived by a son, Samuel W. III, of East Alton, Ill.; a stepdaughter, Leslie Nicholeson, of Annapolis; a stepson, Richard Earle, of Montana; a brother, Fenwick, of Orlando, Fla.; two sisters, Alice Pierrot and Bernadine Gutherie, both of Washington, and two grandchildren.