Christopher J Marshall, Chartered Engineer, FIEI, of Rathangan, Co Kildare, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 3, 2022, at St Brigid's Hospice, the Curragh, after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Bernadette, son Christopher, daughters Angela and Tracy and grandchildren Anna and Michael. 

Christopher J Marshall, Chartered Engineer, FIEI

Chris began his engineering career as a student engineer with Westmeath County Council in 1969. Shortly thereafter he quickly found his first postgraduate position as a contracting site engineer with PJ Walls (D) Ltd, Shannon, in 1970.

'Highly capable and dependable'

As a young engineer he was keen to prove himself and soon gained a reputation as highly capable and dependable. Shannon airport was undergoing expansion and a new runway extension at the time, and Chris was tasked with setting out and supervising the earthworks, drainage/ducting, concrete work along with bitmac and asphalt work. 

In 1965 Boeing announced its plans to produce a Jumbo 747 jet capable of carrying up to 400 passengers. This decision affected all of the major airports as new facilities were required to handle aircraft of this size. Photo:

His attention to detail was quickly noticed and work at the airport led to offers of further opportunities with PJ Walls in Shannon. Between 1970 and 1972 he worked as site manager at Shannon water treatment plant. Here Chris was able to put into practice and hone his skills in pipework and pumps, rising mains, sedimentation tanks and all work associated with the construction of a reservoir.

After 16 months of working at the treatment plant, his skills were needed in a variety of further projects with PJ Walls, including housing development projects and general civil works for commercial building projects in Ireland.

First of many local authority positions

June 1973 brought a move to his first of many local authority positions. He worked for Dublin County Council as an assistant county engineer on a 120-acre industrial site involving earthworks, roads, culverts, rock blasting and large surface water sewers. He also had responsibility for the oversight of housing development projects in south Co Dublin during his time there.

In February 1976 his career took him to Kildare County Council where he would remain for more than five years. Here he worked in the waterworks department and later sanitary services and environment where he thrived and enjoyed working with the many talented people around him.

In the early 1980s he moved to Laois County Council to fill a position of senior executive engineer in the sanitary services and environment section. He remained there for more than two years and while there became a Chartered Engineer (IEI) in 1983. One year later an opportunity to work overseas caught his eye and he applied for leave of absence to pursue it.

He departed Laois County Council on a temporary leave of absence in April 1984 bound for Saudi Arabia. There he undertook a role as acting engineering manager on a project at Dhahran airport. He had responsibility for nine engineers on projects relating to water supply, sewerage, drainage, plumbing, heating and air conditioning.

Dhahran airport, Saudi Arabia

Upon his return from the Middle East, he rejoined the team at Laois County Council as a senior executive engineer in the road maintenance and construction department and later in the roads design department.

He worked on many road realignment projects, bridge strengthening projects and designed many national and regional roads as well as small bypasses throughout Co Laois. He remained with Laois County Council for almost eight years.

In August 1992 he took an opportunity to rejoin Kildare County Council as senior executive engineer in development control and housing maintenance. In 1994 he was very pleased to achieve the honour of being appointed a Fellow with IEI.

Chris remained steadfastly committed to Kildare County Council for the next 15 years, where he worked as senior executive engineer and subsequently senior engineer in sanitary services and later the development control and housing maintenance department.

Photo: Kildare County Council

He retired on May 24, 2007, after a career with local authorities lasting more than 33 years.

In retirement Chris enjoyed time with family and friends. He pursued his great love of literature by joining the local book club and become more involved in his local community via the Tidy Towns organisation. Together with his wife Bernadette, they took the opportunity to take some foreign trips and many staycations within Ireland – a country he loved, his interest in Irish history always to the fore.

Chris has been described as "a gentleman" and "gifted engineer" by many colleagues and friends. His family are heartened by all of the kind words and written notes from neighbours, engineers and colleagues who held him in high esteem throughout his life.

He is survived by his loving wife Berna (Deckie), daughters Angela (Lynch) and Tracy, son Christopher Jr, son-in-law Michael, grandchildren Anna and Michael, brother John, sisters Mary and Anne (Connolly), brothers and sisters in law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends.