In Memoriam: Marshall W. Parrott


by Gary F. Boothe

The scientific community and the Health Physics Society (HPS) have lost a great contributor and a great friend, Marshall W. Parrott. Marshall did not survive open heart surgery in Portland, Oregon, on 12 October 2006. His survivors include wife Kay, son Matt, and daughter Kristen.

Marshall was born in Roseville, California, and attended the University of California at Berkeley, taking his BA (zoology) and MA (physiology) there in 1952 and 1959, respectively. In 1972 he received a doctorate in environmental hygiene from Tulane University.

Marshall's contribution to science was formidable—he authored or coauthored over 40 scientific publications dealing with the biological effects of radiation in rats and primates. He was a member of the HPS since 1975, and he was president of the Cascade Chapter in 1976-1977. He was a member of the Radiation Research Society since 1954.

In the early years of his career, Marshall worked as a research assistant for the Crocker Radiation Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. He joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ames Research Center, in 1962, working as a radiobiologist and then as head of research physiology until 1965. In 1969 he was appointed the director of the Oregon State Health Division, Radiation Control Section. He retired from that position in 1983, but continued to work as a radiation consultant for Reed College and Portland State University.

Marshall was one of the most colorful and amiable members of the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors. He was an accomplished musician, proficient on the piano and drums, and he loved his many dance gigs. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved to fish and hunt. Marshall was an extremely energetic and dynamic man, doing everything with enthusiasm and dedication, usually infused with profound and unforgettable humor. A day never went by that Marshall failed to make someone laugh.

Marshall Parrott was a great man, a great scientist, and a great friend. Anyone who knew him will reflect upon his passing with a sad and rueful smile.