On July 2, 2008 my brother Mark would have been 50 years old. I'm sure if he were around you might say he was 50 years young. He was the best younger brother I ever had.
Mark was born July 2, 1958 in Lebanon Missouri. He was the fourth child, second boy and closest to me in age. We were a family of modest means, but he was a very welcome addition to the family I'm sure……I was only 3 so I really don't remember much about his appearance.
Mark was the kid the rest of us used to give a hard time, I remember he had very curly blond hair, his face was almost "pretty" he was a very handsome kid. We would dress him up, paint his face and call him Mary. Kids can sure be cruel can't they! He really didn't mind much, at least I don't think he did. He was very good natured and I believe he enjoyed the attention!
He did the normal things young boys do, ride his bike, play football, shoot pool, climb trees, play soldiers with the neighbor boy. He was also kind of "accident prone".
One time I remember he was playing pool in the neighbor's garage/playroom. It had sliding glass doors and for some reason, he decided to rush outside, without opening the door! He shattered that glass door with his head! They say he bounced back about 3 feet!
Another time he was mowing the back yard and I'm really not sure how, but he got his hand under the mower and lost the end of his finger! Because they had to graft some skin from his forearm to cover the wound, Mother used to tease him about being able to brush his teeth with the end of his finger since his arm had hair on it!
He was a very sensitive kid, that understood the feelings of others without even asking. He took the boy across the street, who had muscular dystrophy under his wing and would push that kid all over the neighborhood in his wheelchair. They were the best of friends until "Chris" moved.
Mark was the artist of the family, he studied art in high school and produced quite a few paintings we treasure even today. One of his specialties was his version of the sun, I've included a picture of his headstone which has a traced drawing of his "Smiling Sun" It was always my favorite. My older brother honored his memory by having a tattoo of "Mark's Sun" put on his shoulder.
Our Mother died when I was 17 and he was 14, we were the only one's at home living with our Dad so we took over the daily household chores. I did most of the cooking, and he helped with the other chores. In some ways he seemed to be my child for a time. I tried to include him in many of my activities, He would go swimming with me, we went to the movies, watched football games at the high school together.
Later I bought my first horse, a palomino named "Sunny" and kept him not too far from home, Mark was always willing to go the pasture, feed, brush and ride with me. I can remember one time we were trying to get back to the pasture before it started raining, we turned a corner a little too fast and Sunny fell right into traffic! We both landed on a grassy bank and the horse in the street! We jumped up and led the horse to the next side-street and got back on, needless to say just a little shaken
Mark was always my guinea pig. When my second horse, "Uriah" had a colt, "Thunderbolt". Mark reluctantly got on his back at my urging as soon as Thunderbolt was strong enough to hold him. Mark was so light the colt hardly even felt him. I believe to this day, that is one reason that horse never bucked the entire time I owned him.
Mark was killed September 17, 1983 by a drunk driver on the wrong side of the road. His life was cut short by a man that had 3 pages of driving offenses most occurring while drunk. Hopefully someone with a record like that now, would not have been driving. This man was charged with vehicular manslaughter and received a 7 year sentence in state prison of which he only spent 18 months in jail. In my opinion not nearly enough for taking a 25 year old life,
We miss Mark and are very grateful for the time we did have with him - a very special young man!