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John Alfred Marshall

Marshall, John Alfred Passed away quietly and peacefully on January 19, 2013 after a short terminal illness. He celebrated his 95th birthday the prior weekend when the family gathered to celebrate his life and say goodbye. John was preceded in death by Maxine Lawson Marshall, his wife of 67 years, who died on November 21, 2010. John was a rock, standing firm and tall in the turbulent river of life. He was loved and will be missed by his family: daughters Melanie (Tony) Fathman, Anne (David) Christner, Kathy (Dan) Wilke and Jan (Roger) Burgdorfer; grandchildren Elizabeth (Paul Dever) Fathman, Melissa (Matt Pass) Fathman, Christopher (Shannon) Christner, Carrie A Christner, James (Paige) Wilke, Stephen (Julia) Wilke and Jennifer M. (Matt) Gearheart , Leslie C. Burgdorfer; great grandchildren Max Fathman Pass, Cameron N. and Owen Christner, Brennyn D. and Beckett A. Wilke and Aerin S. and Kenley A. Wilke, along with numerous distant relatives and friends. John was born on January 11th, 1918 in Oklahoma City to Stewart Alfred Dick Marshall and Alice Mae (Kirchner) Marshall, the youngest of four brothers. The family owned and operated a dairy for the early years of his life, a demanding existence with daily milking and delivery, starting at 2:00 AM. The dairy was sold after his father's death in 1933, and John moved to town with his family where he became a top student and active in student life winning the Letzeiser award for leadership, academic performance and activities. This success followed him the rest of his life through his college years at Oklahoma University where he took the hand of Maxine in marriage and shook the hand of Shell Oil Company. In 1939, oil companies were looking for graduates with chemical engineering degrees. John was hired by wire at a starting salary of $125.00 per week, and went to work the day after graduation. The war followed the next year and he was deployed to Europe, spending time in France, much of it near Paris. This experience created a lifelong Francophile. Births of four children followed over the next 12 years, but his relation with Shell Oil never varied as they carried him on their roster during the war, and returned him to his research when he was released from active duty. John rose through the ranks at Shell after his early significant development of a new type of catalytic cracker which increased the efficiency and speed of refining gasoline, becoming a senior Vice President of Development near the end of his career where he recruited and hired the first female chemical engineers to work at Shell. John was also active in his community and church, wherever he went during his 40-some years with Shell Oil Company. The longest tenure was in St. Louis when he worked at the Wood River refinery across the Mississippi river in Illinois. All four daughters attended The Methodist Church in Ferguson and had their significant schooling in the Ferguson- Florissant school district. John served on the school board for much of that time and served as president during the reorganization and new school construction. All of his daughters graduated from Ferguson schools and went on to college and graduate school. Along with John, most of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have been active in the Unitarian Church. John will be missed by his family, his community, his friends and his church. A memorial service will take place at the First Unitarian Church, 5007 Waterman Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. on Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM. Donations in John's memory may be made to Doctors Without Borders, PO Box 5022, Hagerstown, MD 217419804, The First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, or the .

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Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Feb. 10, 2013
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