Ernest T. (Ernie/”ET”) Marshall: A true treasure of the Iowa State Chapter of Delta Upsilon passes away at age 88


It seems hard to believe that only a month ago DU Brothers from eight decades assembled in Ames to celebrate our 100th anniversary of Delta Upsilon at Iowa State.  One of the many highlights of the celebration was hearing from Ernie Marshall ’48 via his welcome letter and the presence of his daughter (Marian) at the evening banquet.  Ernie, or “E.T.” as many DU’s and Iowa Stater’s have known him, also provided every attendee at the banquet with a copy of DU songs that he had recorded with the Delta Upsilon Chorus singing in 1947.   Although the recording quality was not very good more than 65 years ago, it was obvious that music was an important part of being a DU, and there was great talent among the DU brothers.

Just two weeks after the event in Ames, Ernie passed away on October 7, 2013 at his home in Fountain Hills, Arizona.  Before his death he made a point to make a major contribution to the Iowa State DU Chapter’s Centennial Campaign,  During the Centennial Celebration, it was announced that Ernie was donating more than $27,000 to the Campaign.  The fraternity house’s dining room will now feature a plaque that recognizes Ernie’s sponsorship of the public room in the house that he fondly remembered as a gathering place for all DU brothers.  Ernie also provided a scholarship funded through the DU Education Foundation that will help future DU undergraduate leaders attend various training programs offered by DU International.

Ernie had an extraordinary life, playing right end on the ISU football team and graduating with honors with an Iowa State degree in Industrial Economics (now the College of Business).  He went on to have a very successful career in advertising, marketing and as a public relations executive with Continental Oil Company (Conoco).  He later worked for a large advertising agency, and as the first executive director of the National Agri-Marketing Association.

One of the fondest memories that many Iowa State alumni have of Ernie was the role that he played leading the Alumni Band at ISU’s Homecoming for many years.  E.T. was runner up National Baton Champion as a youth, and later resurrected his skill after recovering from tripple bypass surgery in 1975.  After lots of practice throwing the baton for therapy, he performed with the ISU Alumni band at Homecoming that fall.  He continued to perform at Iowa State Homecoming halftimes through 2002, when he retired at 78 years of age!  A wonderful Youtube video of Ernie’s final performance can be found at the “Last of the Male Baton Throwers”.  The smile that is displayed on E.T.’s face as he throws the baton at every end of the stadium in front of more than 50,000 fans says it all about Ernie and his joy for life.

Thank you to Ernie’s son, Tom Marshall, for arranging for his father to become such a memorable part of our 100th anniversary celebration in Ames on September 21st  and for keeping us all informed of Ernie’s condition and eventual passing.  Tom, Marian, and the other four children of Ernie and Mary Cele, truly were fortunate to have had such an inspirational father………as we were to have Ernie as a DU brother.