In Memory

David Marshall

Former European Division faculty member, Dr. David J. Marshall passed away on January 30, 2017 at the age of 87.  An extremely admired lecturer, David taught both philosophy and English in the Munich, Germany area during the 1980s.  Broadly and internationally educated, he earned his B.A. at St. Joseph’s College, a B.Th. at the University of Strasbourg, an M.A. at Fordham University and his doctorate at the University of Munich.  Former Area Director Jane McHan has written that she looked forward to visiting David’s classes because she learned so much.  “I always considered him to be a first rate philosopher with a kind and tolerant heart for those of us with less knowledge of philosophy.  Students loved him and said that he always treated them with great respect. Several reported that they were amazed that they liked philosophy and would never forget his courses.”  David is survived by his wife, Dr. Maria Marshall of Munich, who was also a European Division lecturer.

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02/16/17 04:29 PM #1    

Warren Johnson

Though David Marshall taught mostly in and around Munich, I met him in the mid-1970s when he taught in Neu-Ulm where students insisted "Dr. Marshall is brilliant!  He's a genius. You have to meet him."  When I did meet him, I learned that his students were correct. But there was much more. He was modest. He did not put on airs or act better than others. On the contrary, he let his students know they were far better than they thought they were.

A few years after we met, he invited me to sit in on his Hebrew class. I did not sit in once. I sat in for the entire semester. When I wondered where I could get a copy of the book his class was using, he offered the simplest advice possible. "Aw, just send a note to Blackwell's, Oxford, England. They'll send you a copy and include a bill."  When I wondered about their address, he replied, "That won’t be a problem. Everyone in Europe knows where England is, everyone in England knows where Oxford is, and everyone in Oxford knows where Blackwell's is."  He was, of course, right and they sent me the book.  Since then I've regarded with distaste addresses made up of more than three lines.

Once he retired, David began learning Arabic by living in Jordan for a time, and when he returned to Munich, continuing his studies in Arabic and Hebrew.

David wasn't always a professor. Once upon a time, he was a soldier.  A few weeks before he entered the hospital for the last time, we talked about what he did in the Army. He was a French translator. At the age of 27, he took a European discharge at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart. The very next day, he enrolled at the University of Munich, where very soon he met Maria, the love of his life.

For almost four decades he was a very dear friend to me and to my family. He will be missed even more than he could imagine.

He spent 18 days in intensive care due to pneumonia. Everyone expected him to pull through. He is survived by Maria, three sons and their wives, and seven grandchildren.

02/17/17 02:56 PM #2    

Lillian Klein (Abensohn)

I met David Marshall when we were both teaching at the UofM Munich Campus.  He dropped by my office and inquired whether I'd like to study Hebrew with him.  It sounded like a great idea--it actually parlayed right into emerging interests--and we continued through the entire book, meeting once a week.  It took quite a bit of time.  David had studied Hebrew before; I hadn't, but neither of us could vocalize with confidence.  In reverse intellectual snobbery, we taught ourselves to read but not speak in Hebrew!  We became friends;  I visited David, Maria and the boys both in Munich and at their house in Vicenza, and enjoyed the musicality of the family as well as their developing interests.  I attended one son's marriage, observed them emerging into adulthood under the proud eyes of their parents.  Wonderful memories!  I shall certainly cherish thoughts of David Marshall.        

Lillian Klein Abensohn






03/08/17 12:45 PM #3    

Albert Ashforth

David Marshall was a unique combination of curiosity, intelligence and determination, and this was how he was able to master so many recondite fields of learning. When his curiosity was piqued, his intelligence made it possible to understand even the most difficult and challenging material. His determination carried him along until he had truly mastered  the field he was studying. Although his colleagues were aware of his knowledge of such intellectual areas as philosophy, literature and a number of languages, David was also an accomplished mathematician. In fact, at one point, the City College of Chicago tried to hire him away from UMUC by offfering him the opportunity to teach two math electives. It may be a tribute to David's skills as a negotiator to note that he turned down CCC while remaining with the University of Maryland.

Although David and I shared the drive from Munich to Augsburg for a number of semesters, I have an idea that David was more comfortable riding the Deutsche Bundesbahn. I recall one semester when David was offering an afternoon course at a base south of Munich while I was giving an evening course at Bad Toelz. We ran into one another on a number of occasions while changing trains at the Lengries Bahnhof. Usually, David was immersed in Der Zeit, the German weekly, or another German publication. I thiink he preferred the railroad to driving because it gave him time to read and reflect.

Before coming to UMUC I had spent seven years working for newspapers in NYC where my first job had been with the NY World Telegram and Sun. During one of our Augsburg trips, David told me that his father had been the telegraph editor on the old NY Sun, at the time perhaps the city's finest newspaper. I recall mentioning to David the names of some of my former Sun colleagues, whom I thought David might have recognized.According to David, his father used to say that one of the difficulties of working on a daily newspaper was that you had only one day to make things as good as you could get them. David said that one of the aspects of college teaching which he appreciated was the fact that he had eight weeks in which to work on his courses and make them as good as he could.

I very much enjoyed working with David and spending time with him socially. I want to convey my deepest sympathy to Maria and his boys.


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