Saturday, May 12, 2007

Memories of Mark - by Mark Allen

Mark and I clicked rather quickly in August of 2005 as we started the part-time MBA program at Kellogg together. Over 20 months, I cannot express or describe how our friendship formed so quickly, but in the blink of an eye, Mark and Sarah were integral parts of me and my wife Leslie’s current and future plans together. We were headed down to the Indy 500 this coming Memorial Day and my wife and I were starting to look for real estate in the Glen Ellyn market. After Mark’s funeral service on a wonderful day perfect for fishing, hunting, and golfing, I realize how blessed I was to have known Mark, albeit for such a short period of time.
There are two distinct images/memories of Mark that I will remember:
Mark and our dog Miller
Having the chance to meet a number of Mark’s friends this past week, there was a consistent theme whereas Mark would put others’ enjoyment ahead of his own when doing certain activities. A reminder of that selflessness carried into his love for dogs, specifically our female puggle Miller. Our dog is admittedly oblivious and 100% loving to anyone who comes into our house. Friends, family, pizza deliverymen, plumbers, etc., Miller loves everyone equally…except for Mark. When Mark would come over to our house or when we would visit him and Sarah in Glen Ellyn, Miller would attack Mark with kisses, licks, friendly nibbles on the ear, and Mark would sit down, happily, with a content smile as our dog would dirty his shirt, mess up his hair, and disrupt our conversations. Miller’s excitement for Mark was unmatched and she knew how special he was. A few of these pictures display Mark’s happiness with life…and Miller’s infatuation with Mark. Miller will miss Mark deeply.
Playing golf with Mark
Mark and I played sunrise golf at Stonewall Orchard most Saturday’s last summer. Sunrise coming from downtown Chicago to a course 49 miles away meant pretty early wake-up calls and a lot of coffee on the drive out there. I will always remember pulling into the course, driving into the parking lot while it was still dark outside, and seeing Mark in the cart up near the tee box. He would drive to my car to pick me up, he’d have a coffee and donut in the cart for me, and we’d both be extremely excited to golf regardless of wiping the sleep from our eyes heading up to the 1st tee. Sometimes, extra enjoyably, his dad would play and I’d be the 3rd player driving alone but Mark would still have that coffee/donut in my cart and that excitement we shared was evident throughout the round. The closest that Mark ever got to making fun of me was come the 2nd hole (and 5th, 8th, 11th, and 15th holes) I’d have to jump into the woods for a minute and he would jokingly inquire if I brought my grandpa bladder with me. I’d argue it was the 48 ounces of coffee before 7 a.m. but he wouldn’t buy it. It was a (bad) running joke round after round but I’ll remember our shared laugh each time it was repeated.
Losing my favorite golf partner these past two seasons is going to be difficult. Having a Stonewall Orchard bag with clubs Mark helped me pick out will be a symbolic reminder of how important he was in my life. I’m writing this on Saturday morning whereas a week and a half ago I’d have believed right now we’d likely be finishing up our round heading to Bobby’s Diner for brunch with Mark’s dad. You will be sorely missed by many Mark. I cannot wait to see you again on the 1st tee.
Mark Allen.