by Thomas Guengerich
SOCORRO, N.M., April 29, 2008 – New Mexico Tech professors and students joined with family members of John Marshall to dedicate a laboratory in memory of the longtime Tech employee Friday, April 28.
The second-floor hallway outside MSEC 259 now sports a plaque with a photo that says, John E. Marshall Chemical Engineering Instrumentation Lab.
Prior to unveiling the plaque, professor Don Weinkauf gave a brief memorial to Mr. Marshall, along with his widow, Elena “Buster” Marshall.
“We lost a special member of our team this year,” Weinkauf said. “John Marshall was with the chemical engineering department since it’s inception. John was a key player in it.”
Buster Marshall said her husband loved working in the laboratory and that the renaming was a big honor for her.
Mr. Marshall passed away at the age of 57 on Friday, June 22, 2007, after a brief battle with an aggressive form of cancer. John was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on Aug. 20, 1949, to Beth and Joe Marshall. He graduated from Caldwell High School in Caldwell, N.J., in 1967.
He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1968 to 1972, and served a tour in Vietnam. In 1982, he met his wife, Elena Terrell, and they decided to move out West to become cowboys. They changed their names from John and Elena to Cody and Buster because it sounded more Western.
From 1982 to 1991, they worked on ranches and dude stables, traveling horseback through Arizona and New Mexico. They would work wherever they could use their horses and get room and board. Several years were spent off and on in Bingham at the old Long Ranch, owned by Gabby Hayes.
In 1991, Buster became pregnant with their son, also named Cody. John decided that the life they were living was not suitable for raising a child and he went back to college at New Mexico Tech. He graduated in May 1997 and continued to work there in the Petroleum and Chemical Engineering Department as a lab associate. He taught several engineering drawing courses over the years, and had a positive influence on many students. No one who ever met him will forget him.
John is survived by his wife, Elena "Buster," and his son, Cody, both of Socorro. He leaves his mother, Beth Marshall, brothers Jo and David Marshall, all of Plymouth, Mass.; brother Paul Marshall, of Tamarac, Fla.; sister Kathy Enegren, of Moorpark, Calif.; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in Massachusetts.
John was with Chemical Engineering from its first days and, by all measures, critical to the department’s early successes, Weinkauf said. John was an invaluable member of our team who would jump-in to help on any occasion. He developed highly advanced data acquisition and instrumentation skills virtually self-taught and based on his tremendous drive to continue learning in a rapidly growing field.
He laid the foundation of the department’s educational philosophy to involve students in every aspect of lab construction. John left a memorable impression on all of his students and particularly those he mentored outside of class on independent projects. John is an irreplaceable soul whose impact on the department and his students will always remain.