A Tribute To Mark

Mark's Memorial

Before I start our tribute to Mark, I would like to acknowledge several people:

The first is Mark’s wife Rachel. For the entire length of Mark’s hospitalization, about 50 days, she never left his side. Her devotion to Mark was inspiring to us all.

The next one is Allen, Mark’s father. He went with Mark & Rachel to the UVA Medical Center, and he told Mark that he would not leave Charlottesville until Mark left. Allen was true to his word. What more could a son ask from his dad?

Lastly, I want to recognize the efforts of Rachel’s sister, Marcela, who, upon learning of the seriousness of Mark’s health, flew in from California to help and comfort her sister. She has been with her every step of this tragic journey. Marcela, the family loves you dearly for your efforts.


As I prepared to write this tribute to Mark,…so many words came tumbling into my mind, and I needed to put them in an order that would allow me to say how much we loved and respected him. With the help of my wife, his mother, she and I reworked the words to better show how much Mark meant to us.

 Each time I stood in front of her and practiced this tribute …she cried. …Our hearts are broken …and who knows when the brokenness will heal?

                   We titled our Tribute:


A Light Extinguished, but Still Shining

Thomas Wolfe spoke of death as “to lose the earth you know for greater knowing to lose the life you have for greater life.”

While such wisdom offers solace, losing Mark, son, brother, husband, and friend, still leaves a cavernous ache in our hearts.

He touched our lives with the quiet grace of a familiar melody. Though his time with us was short, barely 53 precious years, the echoes of his laughter and the warmth of his presence will forever resonate within us.

As we all know, Mark wasn’t a man of extravagant gestures. His kindness bloomed in a hundred gentle ways. He was the friend who engaged in friendly conversations, the brother who cherished the siblings’ special bond, the son who adored his parents, and the husband who built a haven of love with his wife. Mark’s normalcy was extraordinary, a constant source of comfort and joy.

His absence feels like a waking dream, like familiar mountains suddenly vanished from the horizon. His laughter, quick and contagious, is a melody left unsung. His unique perspective on life, always insightful and often humorous, leaves a void in our conversations, paved with grief and acceptance in equal measure.

He was taken too soon, with so much joy and laughter yet to share and so many golf games left to play. Though if, as we suspect, Heaven has greens, he’s surely found himself on God’s team, his legendary 64, forever a testament to his competitive spirit.

While grief lingers, we remember Wolfe’s words: “to find a land more kind than home, more larger than earth.”

Mark may be gone from our sight, but his spirit remains woven into the fabric of our lives. He lives on in our memories, the laughter we shared,…the wit he left behind.

We can’t stay frozen in the past. Mark would be the first to nudge us towards the sunlight, but as the new day dawns, we carry him with us, his memory a torch lighting the path forward. He remains in our hearts,.. a melody forever hummed, …a presence forever felt.

Come back to us, dear Mark, if only in our dreams. Until then, we hold you close, forever grateful for the gift of your laughter and the warmth of your spirit. We will never say “goodbye”, it will always be “SeeYa later!”


  1. Betty Berry on January 8, 2024 at 9:58 am

    What a lovely tribute to Mark and his memory. The rest of us can only hope that we leave behind similar memories. It is so difficult to accept God’s plan for us and not question. My prayers are with you as you travel through the grief. Betty

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