Mark Shannon

Mark Shannon

CHAMPAIGN – Mark Shannon, 56, passed away on Sunday (Oct. 14, 2012) after a three-year battle with ALS.

Mark will be remembered for many things. He was a cook, machinist, house-builder, author, teacher, engineer, inventor, orator, singer, sports fan and world traveler. He set foot in all 50 states, but due to his illness, soil had to be delivered from one, and after being helped up from his wheelchair, he was finally able to stand on Alaskan soil.

Mark is survived by his wife Mona, the first and only love of his life. He is also survived by his mother, three sons, three sisters and brothers-in-law, a grandson, 13 nieces and nephews, and all who continue to cherish their precious memories of him.

Mark's accomplishments in academia and business are too numerous to list. He earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.

In 1994, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois, where he made significant contributions to the fields of water purification and desalination, micro-fabrication, medicine, and energy production. His passion for his work was evident whether he was in a lab, a classroom, the streets of India or the halls of Congress.

A true visionary, Mark saw the importance of providing clean drinking water to all people, and to that end he served as the director of the Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems (WaterCAMPWS).

But he never forgot his blue-collar past and was quick to point out his official "PHD," a workman's post-hole-digger, which he kept in his office for all to see.

Professor Mark Shannon had an unbridled enthusiasm for life, dedication and love for his family, and devotion to his students, whom he continued to teach and advise, even after he accepted a mechanical vent to continue breathing.

He was grateful for his many blessings and tried to live the life God called him to live. Mark was an extraordinary man, and although the sun has set on his life here, he has cast a long shadow, and has touched people all over the world. His wishes, however, are to be remembered simply as a loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle and professor.

A visitation (no viewing) will be held at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, 1900 S. Philo Road, Urbana, on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m.

A memorial celebration of Mark's life will be held on Monday, Oct. 22, at the UU Church, 309 W. Green St., Urbana, at 4 p.m.

Contributions may be made to the Mark A. Shannon Scholarship Fund at or by sending a check to the University of Illinois Foundation with the scholarship name in the memo field (P.O. Box 3429, Champaign, IL 61826-3129). Alternatively, contributions may be made to MDA in Champaign or to the ALS Association.

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