Cover photo for Marshall Onellion's Obituary
Marshall Onellion Profile Photo
1950 Marshall 2022

Marshall Onellion

March 16, 1950 — November 20, 2022


STOUGHTON— Marshall Franklin Onellion passed away on November 20, 2022 after a brief but courageous battle with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, surrounded by family and friends. He was born March 16, 1950 in Baton Rouge, LA to Franklin and Orbey (Marshall) Onellion.

He was a husband, an uncle, a faithful friend, an experimental physicist, a university physics professor, a high school science teacher, an Air Force Captain, an Eagle Scout (at age 13), a tutor, a mentor, an author, a preserver of native prairie land, a gentleman, and a soft-touch to dogs and cats.

He married Violet Castro Mendoza in 1977.  He lost Violet to breast cancer in 2010. In November 2013, Marshall married Elisa (Gilbertson) Onellion.

Marshall matriculated at West Virginia University, majoring in mathematics and physics. After graduating cum laude in 1972, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, loyally serving the United States.  He believed it was his civic duty to serve in the military just as his father who was a tailgunner in World War II and his mother who served in the US Coast Guard.  Marshall served in the U.S. Air Force from 1972 through 1978.  Marshall was a distinguished Captain in the United States Air Force, and received U.S. Air Force Commendation Medal.

He then went to Rice University as a graduate student in physics, and was a Hertz Fellow from 1979 until 1983. Under the direction of Dr. G. King Walters, Marshall earned his PhD in physics in 1984, and for his thesis received both the Wayne B. Nottingham Prize from the Physics Electronics Conference (PEC) and the Wilson Award from Rice University.

Marshall then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and at Harvard University, before he was hired as an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1987. At that time, Marshall also received the Presidential Young Investigator Award, one of the National Science Foundation’s highest honors. This funded his research through 1992.

Marshall was promoted to Associate Professor at UW-Madison in 1989 and received tenure as a full Professor in 1994. In 1996-1997, Marshall’s continuing research resulted in him winning the UW–Madison Vilas Associate Competition.

Marshall’s research, based in laboratories at the UW–Madison campus and at the Synchrotron Radiation Center in Stoughton, Wisconsin, with collaborators around the globe, concentrated on the properties of correlated electron systems, including high-temperature superconductors and lower dimensional systems. He used synchrotron radiation, femtosecond optics, and other electron and opticalspectroscopies to characterize materials. Marshall had over 180 refereed journal articles and, to date, has over 4,700 citations.

Marshall acted as thesis advisor to numerous undergraduate and graduate students, and supervised a number of postdoctoral researchers. Marshall regularly invited undergraduate students to work in his laboratory, where he treated them as colleagues. For more than twenty years, Marshall also volunteered teaching a Saturday Morning Physics class for gifted high school students.

Marshall had an incredible passion for the sciences, specifically physics. His work in the sciences has changed the lives of many. His scientific advancements helped shape modern day physics and the way it is taught to students all over the globe.

Marshall had a heart for all kinds of animals, but most notably dogs and cats. Over the years Marshall and Elisa cared for many pets, all of whom became important members of their family.

He served as a visiting Professor, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Institut de Physique Appliquee, Switzerland, 1993 and 1997.

He received a State of Wisconsin Certificate of Commendation for Public Service in 2000 from Governor Tommy Thompson for volunteering to tutor students on weekends.

He also served as a School Lecturer at National Synchrotron Research Center, Thailand,  in 2001.

He was a visiting Professor, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, during the 2009-2010 fall semester.

He was a member of the American Physical Society.

Marshall is survived by his wife, Elisa, his sisters-in-law, Darlene Gilbertson and Amy Muenchow, and brother-in-law, Paul and (Karen) Gilbertson, his nieces Holly, Lindsay, Sarah, Shannon, and Sarah and his nephews, Bradley, Bruce, Cameron, Patrick, and Peter, and his great-nieces, Adelaide, Eleanora, Zoe and Taia, and great nephews, Jacob, Everett, and Theodore.

He is also survived by his brother, Willard Onellion and sisters Sandra (Michael) Hanford and Susan Onellion, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is survived by Violet's family-his father -in-law and mother-in-law-Isaac Delgado Castro and Felicitas Mendoza (Gutierrez) Castro, and brothers-in-law, Manuel and (Alejandra) Castro, Joe and (Marcia) Castro, Eustaquio Castro Mendoza, Isaac M. Castro, Pete and (Mary Ann) Castro, and Marcos Castro, and sisters-in-law, Sylvia and (Johnny) Alvarez, Janie and (Armando) Rios, Laura and (Samuel) Gonzalez, Maribel and (Michael) Garcia, Angela and (Benito) Gonzalez, andnumerous nieces and nephews. He is survived by many more relatives, innumerable students, mentees, dear friends, and loving pets. Marshall was preceded in death by his late wife, Violet Castro Mendoza, his parents, Franklin and Orbey Onellion, and brother-in-law, Steven Muenchow.

Visitation will be from 4-7:00 PM on Friday, December 2, 2022 at Cress STOUGHTON. Visitation will continue from 9:30-11:00 AM on Saturday, December 3, 2022 at CHRIST LUTHERAN CHURCH, 700 County Road B, Stoughton, WI 53589 with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11:00 AM. Luncheon at the church to follow. Please share your memories of Marshall on his tribute wall at Memorials can be made to your local Humane Society or to Live.Love.Donate. Inc for organ, eye, and tissue donation awareness.

Cress Funeral Home-- Stoughton


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, December 2, 2022

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Cress Funeral Home, Stoughton

206 W Prospect St, Stoughton, WI 53589

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, December 3, 2022

9:30 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Christ Lutheran Church

700 Co Rd B, Stoughton, WI 53589

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Christ Lutheran Church

700 Co Rd B, Stoughton, WI 53589

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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