Obituary — Robert Wendell Marshall "Marathon Man"
Robert Wendell Marshall passed away Monday afternoon at his home in Holladay surrounded by friends and family. He died after a two-year struggle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease that left him paralyzed and on a respirator. He was 55.Friends and neighbors released 2,000 balloons at his passing. They remember Bob as a father, husband, newspaper publisher and marathoner who put those he loved above all else.
He is survived by five children: Tiffany, 27; Danny, 26; Greg, 23; Michelle, 18; Chelsea, 17; and wife, Debi (Mendiola), to whom he was married for 31 years. The couple are expecting their first grandchild, Robert Luke, in February. They were a closely-knit family who spent their happiest times traveling to favorite spots in Europe and Hawaii. His parents Wendell P. and Barbara J. Marshall of Pocatello, Idaho precede him in death. He also leaves behind a brother, Jim (Tina) Marshall and two sisters, Diane (Eric) Neste and Janet (Mike) McBride. Bob graced the lives of those he knew with compassion, strength and giving.
He coached his kids’ little-league softball and basketball teams, took his kids to Utah Jazz games, volunteered at their schools and cared for his wife, who has battled non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for 15 years. He contributed to social causes such as cancer research, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Primary Children’s Hospital. He owned eight community newspapers and business journals in Utah, Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. He was publisher of the Pekin Daily Times in Illinois and president of the Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce there.
Though he loved journalism, his true love was family. He also excelled at downhill skiing and running. He began running marathons five years ago at the age of 50 and completed the Salt Lake and St. George Marathons twice, and the Chicago Marathon. Four days after completing the Chicago Marathon in October 2007, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as ALS, a degenerative neurological disorder. In spite of the devastating news, Bob completed the Boston Marathon that April with his three running buddies Tom Loken, Paula Vernon and Donna Thomas. He was featured on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric as well as local telecasts and newspapers for this feat. He will be remembered for his grace, dignity and determination.
The family would like to thank friends who have become like family, Tom and Sally Loken, Paula Vernon, Donna Thomas and Kelly Petersen-Short and especially Dr. Mark Bromberg, Bob’s neurologist, and Dr. Saundra Buys, Debi’s oncologist. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Dr. Mark Bromberg, the head of the neurological department at the University of Utah Hospital, and Bob’s kind and compassionate Dr., at 50 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84132. Bob’s viewing will be held at the Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 24. For more information on the viewing, call 582-1582. Bob’s funeral will be held at the Holladay United Church of Christ located at 2631 E. Murray Holladay Road at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25.
Our love goes with you, Bob, as you run marathons in the sky. You will be missed, but never forgotten. Remember to never, never, never give up.
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