Der Dieseling Doktor July 25, 1935 - November 26, 2007
Some sad news from a Lister reached Stu and me this morning.
Marshall Booth, sometimes referred to as "Der Dieseling Doktor" passed away on Monday. While he had said little about it, he had been dealing with a melanoma for over a year. His formal field was medical biology, and he had participated in experimental research in his treatment.
Additional bad news is that his companion, Linda, lost a son on Wednesday too. To the same demon, Big C. So she's been hit with a double whammy this week, and our first thoughts have to be directed toward her well-being after being hit this hard.
Somehow, it has fallen on me to be the one to eulogize Marshall in some appropriate manner, and my first reaction to that assignment is "What, me worry?" I am not at all sure that I have any wonderful words for that task.
Marshall, in the end, was a rather private person, mostly known for his participation in various technical forums. Few of us knew him in person (I didn't). But he was a very early member of this list, and when the times of list crises came, Marshall was a fount of common sense, as well as encouragement to move forward. So the fact that this list has survived three months less than ten years now---Marshall had some responsibility for that. But this list was not his sole venue. He participated actively in several of the other mail lists and forums that save us from having to try to be all things to all people.
There was NO MISTAKING Marshall's writing style. You HAD to recognize his use of his platform teaching manner when he wrote. Even lower case george sometimes finds his caps shift keys when it IS IMPORTANT that you GET THE MESSAGE.
I think of Marshall as the Erwin Rommel of the infamous Oil Wars. Mobil 1 forever! If it came out of the ground and purported to be a lubricating or hydraulic oil, Marshall would be quick to inform you that the so-labelled "synthetic" was vastly superior.
Then there was the "Marshall Plan" for wholesale replacement of Bosch GBC fuses as preventive maintenance. He felt just as strongly about 3AG and 20MM side-clip fuses, blade-clip types, etc. and to him, to question that?.... To him there WAS no question. JUST REPLACE them periodically.
Those who know anything of Marshall's personal life know that lost a wife and a son to an automobile accident something like 45 years ago. He sometimes remarked on that, and how it had led him into serious research of things automotive. If there is something literary to include here, I lean toward Ernest Dowson's pithy little poem:
"They are not long, the weeping and the laughter, Love and desire and hate; I think they have no portion in us after We pass the gate.
"They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream."
Right now, I do not have information on any public wake or memorial service, nor any suitable place to send contributions in his memory. We have been asked to aid in disposal of his library, which we will do when it is timely.
For the moment, let our thoughts go out to Linda.
Hank van Cleef November, 2007
Memories of Marshall from some of our list members...
Bill Brandt’s notes on the first photo above (May 14, 2003):
I met Marshall when I stopped in DC a few years ago. Having gotten older I think it was more like 7-10 years. I first saw Marshall late and coming up in his yellow Euro 190 diesel. He didn't look at all (AT ALL?) one would imagine from the list. He was small in stature - and bald (hey aren't most of us?) He pulled up to my motel in Alexandria, VA.
He was intensely proud of that diesel - I think it was the 2.5. He reminded me a bit of an FBO owner (service station for general aviation) - I knew - the guy was very quiet and I later learned that he had a Ph.D. from MIT, developed the first compilers for the computer age....
Anyway Marshall had that same quiet humility of many highly educated people. In person. He was all over any Mercedes list though. I think the last description one would have of Marshall - just "knowing" him on a list - was "quiet"!
But that was Marshall.
We had a rather amusing evening - we met with another DC friend - Pete Kurzenhauser.
Anyway the 3 of us had a wonderful dinner at an Italian restaurant in Alexandria and when it came time to leave, discovered that Marshall had a rather nasty parking ticket (as opposed to a "good" ticket?) and his car was in the process of being towed. I mean, we are walking out and the tow truck is pulling up his diesel.
We were apparently in the lot of a neighboring apartment and they had a nearly hidden sign "no parking for restaurant patrons - violators will be towed...."
The next hour was devoted to getting to the towing company (I forget how we got there - I think in the tow truck) and Marshall paying the hefty fine ($80? $100? It was up there).
What surprised me about Marshall was the fact that during all this time he was relatively calm about the whole issue - he wasn't rattled in the slightest - we even laughed about it - most of us would have blown a gasket.
My leap from 123 TD wagon to 124 TD wagon was based on sound advice from Marshall. The previous owner of the car bought it at some charity sale without realizing it had a cracked head & blown head gasket. He corresponded extensively offline with Marshall since he was not a list member.
Along with the paperwork, came a repair CD for the car, copies of many emails from Marshall. After I bought the car, Marshall guided me thru the process of swapping a 350SD head with inclined pre-chamber/injectors and pre-glow. I was looking for some info today in my big car binder for that car and sure enough, there are pictures of home made tools Marshall made from bicycle hubs, turn-buckle and other common household items. I have no intent of ever selling the car unless it dies and I am sure it will always remind me of all the good advice from Marshall that made it such a reliable car today.
I know you are in good hands and I bet having some heated discussion with Herr Rudolph Diesel on where he goofed on the original design.
Check the fuses, Mobil One!
A tomb of knowledge.
Salt of the earth, R. I. P.
Proud acolytes forever...
--missing Marshall Haiku by Mathieu Cama
When I was a newcomer to the List and a novice DIYer, I recall Marshall's courteous, guiding-hand advising me how to remove and clean and re-install the Hirshmann antenna on my recently acquired 126 car.
Really basic stuff to someone with Marshall's years of experience with these cars.
But he took the time to understand what was new to me. I still have a copy of his off-list e-mail tucked in it's proper spot in my electronic filing cabinet.
I suspect he displayed that manner in his years of college instruction.
I never met him in person. Perhaps, once we might have come close.
He mentioned to me during an e-mail exchange, I recall occurred around the time of one of our Santa Fe List Fests, that he traveled to Muskogee, Oklahoma, for some sort of a family business meeting now and then. That was but a couple hundred miles from my home and closer yet to a small nest of List Members. In the end, schedules, however, did not coincide so we never got a mini-fest put together.
Ah...a LEGACY in CAPS...what a delightful memory to leave for friends...I suspect, however, he'd blush at the fuss...
Gary R Karrer
When I bought my first MB Diesel I immediately searched the web for any information I could find on diesel. Marshall's name came right up, and I contacted him through email. We emailed back and forth for a while and discussed my specific car (87 300 SDL) but mainly on diesel and Mobil 1. He was so eager to help. He took the time to answer every question I have. I joined the list a short time later. For the next few weeks, I searched the list's archive for his old posts. I found him to be very amusing and like a little kid in a candy store I found myself trying to take in as much as I can while I can. Since then, his post (regardless of topic) is the ONLY one I look for when I read my emails. I refused to miss his post even if the subject was of no interest to me. I have learned so much in so little time because of him. Now I know I will not find his (new) post anymore. I will greatly miss him. Like so many people I have never met him... why tears run down my face every time I think of him I have no answer. Rest in peace, Doctor!
Asher Winata (Houston, TX)
I have been telling people around the depts, about your page. Marshall and I had spent much time together working with electronics projects, talking about audio, and all kinds of things, and of course, Marshall was the one to talk to about income tax. I came to Pitt in 1980 and there was Marshall. The Department of Pharmacology will hear of this page. You may get some inputs.
More About Marshall...
(Click the 'Open Image in New Window' icon at the top right to see the full-size photo.)
Memorial Donations to the Hillman Cancer Center -
The esteemed Scott Moncrief suggested that the List
might act on Marshall's desire that contributions be
made to the Hillman Cancer Center.
I am stepping forward, with the blessing of Hank and
Stu, to act as the collection / aggregation point for
contributions that will go to this institution on behalf of
So that each of you might retain the benefits of tax
deductibility, I will also forward a list of the parties and
amounts, provided that you provide me a separate
e-mail listing your contact information (name and
mailing address) and amount contributed. I'll then be
able to tie the e-mail to the PayPal account. The
institution will then provide you a letter recognizing and confirming your contribution, that you can place
with your tax records. I believe this will pass scrutiny, but I am not a tax attorney or accountant. If this
is not plausible, someone steer me in the right direction - quickly.
Contributions will be accepted through December 15. Total will be announced to the List shortly there
If it turns out that this approach will not preserve your individual tax deductibility, I will return all funds