I am very sad to have to announce that Jeff Marshall, who blogged on TfTT as TheRotter, passed away suddenly on December 13, 2023. Since he was one of our most reliable bloggers, I was quite concerned when there was no sign of his blog for Quickie 2553 in the early morning hours of December 21. My fears were not unfounded; two days later, I received the news of his death.
Thanks to Linda Marshall, I am pleased to be able to present the following brief biographical tribute:
Jeff Marshall was born on June 28, 1951 in Nottingham. He attended the Thurnby Lodge Primary School and the Gateway Grammar School in Leicester. In January of 1968, he joined the Royal Navy in as an Engine Room Artificer (ERA) apprentice. Following almost four years of shore based apprentice training in Cornwall and Fife, he served at sea as a chief petty officer in HM Ships Ark Royal, Blake and Londonderry, in which he participated in the Icelandic Cod War.
Ashore he gave engineering support at the Naval bases in Portsmouth and Plymouth as well as to the Royal Marines landing craft section at Poole, from which he was deployed to The Falklands post-hostilities as part of the team re-instating the military infrastructure on the islands.
Jeff was an intellectual at heart with a broad range of interests including literature, poetry, mathematics, cosmology and science; his hero was Albert Einstein. He never lost his enthusiasm for gaining knowledge and whilst at sea continued his academic studies with the Open University, gaining a mathematics degree.
He subsequently gained his Lieutenant’s commission at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, where he was awarded the Queen’s Telescope as the top student. His promotion also saw him say farewell to marine engineering as he changed career path to become an Instructor Officer, where he remained until leaving the Navy.
In civilian life, Jeff joined the staff of King’s College London. Initially he took the position as Head of Technical Operations on the senior management team of the IT department, before eventually being promoted to Director of Procurement. As Director, he oversaw the college’s contracting function, from off-shoring the student recruitment system to ensuring the compliance of the procurement contracts. He made a significant contribution to the college and retired in 2018.
He was gifted in his ability to apply logic to problem solving, something he loved doing. He started doing crosswords as a young man, working through various levels of crosswording until eventually discovering the Times, which became his favourite. His day always started with the Times Crossword and he was delighted when he won the prize for the Sunday Mephisto. He took great pleasure in blogging, even when travelling…..regardless of the time difference.
Jeff was a man of great warmth and kindness who was renowned for his cutting wit and arid sense of humour! His loss is immeasurable.
Here at Times for The Times, Jeff was one of our steadiest bloggers, He joined the Quickie blogging team on April 7, 2016, when Olivia Rhinebeck had to give up blogging the Thursday Quickie and was replaced by TheRotter and RolyToly on alternate Thursdays. In his time as a blogger, Jeff never missed a blog, and posted a total of 204 Quickie blogs. Jeff had many fans among the Quickie commenters, some of whom considered him the best and most engaging blogger. He will be missed.