My Tribute to Mark at His Memorial Service, April 29

Shared by Adam Jochelson on May 1, 2019

Where do I begin?

When I was asked to speak today, so many stories came into my head. Mark and I did so many amazing things together. And a lot of really stupid things, too.

I could tell any number of them, but many of them would just shed light on what Mark means to me. I wanted to share something that would exemplify what Mark means to all of us.

So I tried to think about all the people who would call Mark their best friend—the list is very long. At least half-a-dozen right here today. And I know there’s more. In fact, Mark is best friend to more people than any other person I know. So, I picked a story that might explain how that can be. Here it is.

I used to think that my greatest failure as a math tutor was that I could never get Mark to really believe in calculus. I mean its about infinity—pretty hard to wrap your head around.

It might sound odd, but Mark and I are both pretty nerdy, and we talk about a calculus pretty regularly. It eventually became kind of a ritual for him. “Tell me about The Calculus, again,” he would say. Like he was requesting a bed-time story.

So, I would tell him: “Once upon a time, there was a guy named Isaac Newton. And more than anything in the world, he really wanted to analyze planetary motion. He searched high and low for the scientific tools, but the math of his day just couldn’t help him. So he invented his own, and he called it The Calculus.” (They eventually dropped the “The”, kind of like Facebook, but that doesn’t really matter) But anyway, Mark would always stop me when I got the part about letting numbers go off to infinity. He refused to believe in that part. I tried so many different ways to explain, but he wouldn’t take it. It was so friggin’ frustrating.

But then I figured out what he was really doing. I honestly think he really believed all along, but Mark knew something about me—he knew it made me feel special to teach. And so he asked—so I would feel special. 

Mark was right—teaching is my favorite thing to do. I’m really good at it; I consider it my most valuable skill; it’s something I’m very proud of. Mark has an innate ability to know that about people. He can quickly figure out what you’re best at and steer the focus to that very thing. He has a knack for making you feel special. Because of that, it’s almost inevitable that if you spent enough time with Mark, he would become your best friend. I know it’s happened to many of you in this room. Some very quickly—some over time. It happened to me about 10 years after I met him.

So, Mark and his family moved in across the street from us when I was about 10. He and his two brothers were about the same age as me and my two. David and Mark were only a week apart in age, and they became best friends almost immediately. I was close friends with Scott, and honestly I really didn’t know Mark all that well through most of high school, but that changed during and after college. We started spending more time together. And as has happened to many of you, he naturally became my best friend.

I’d bet many of you are now remembering when Mark became your best friend. I know I’m not the only one—and that’s ok. The best part about it all is that there’s no need for any of us to be jealous, because Mark’s heart was so big he had enough love to be a best friend to so many. It’s almost as though he had an infinite capacity for love—ironic considering what he thought about infinity in calculus.

But, being your best friend was Mark’s favorite thing to do. And he was great at it—it’s hard to find a more dedicated best friend. Those of you who have experienced it should count yourself lucky. I know I do. Thinking about that, I am most sorry for the two little ones who will never have the chance to know what it means to have their dad as their best friend.

As we gather today to say goodbye to my best friend, your best friend, our best friend—a guy that was like a brother to so many in this room and beyond—I cannot find the words to express how much will be missing from my life now that he’s no longer in it. Several times each day, a memory flows into my head of something we did together that we’ll never do again. And it kills me. I don’t know when that’s gonna stop—maybe never.

But one thing is certain, there will never be another person like Mark in my life.

A True Friend

Shared by Sam Burgess on April 28, 2019

Mark was a true friend.  He is the reason I moved out to Colorado in the first place.  He offered me a place to live with him in Boulder after I had lost my job in Dallas after 9/11, and I happily took him up on that offer.  We lived inthat apartment together for a year, and I eventually ended up moving back in with him when he bought his house on Martin acres.  Countless memories, countless conversations, countless adventures together and shared beers.  This photo is of us on top of South Boulder peak the day after I moved to Boulder to live with him.  The first of many miserable hikes he would persist in dragging me on.  I loved him very much, and will miss the living heck out of his contagious smile and chuckle.  Rest In Peace sweet friend.  I only wish I could have told you I love you one more time.

Skiing Loveland Pass in the moonlight

Shared by Kevin Cohen on April 23, 2019

One of my favorite memories was a night in the middle of winter when there was a full moon with a clear sky.It had snowed the day before, and the roads were as clear as the sky.Four of us from the University of Colorado at Boulder hopped into a car, and drove to the top of Loveland Pass.Loveland Pass is a road off to the side of Loveland ski resort about 3/4ths the driving distance to Vail from school.One of us would drive the car down the pass and wait for the other three to ski under the moonlight for approximately one mile. The moonlight shined bright on the snow; however, it was pitch black shooting through the trees.All night long, we created fresh tracks in the snow, especially under the dark trees.In an opening at the base of the tree line, we found a mogul that could barely be seen in the darkness of the trees; however, it was a great place for a picture with moon.

I miss you Mark.  RIP.

Truly, the Best Man

Shared by David Jochelson on April 22, 2019

Mark and I were each other's Best Men in our respective weddings.  He took his role very seriously during mine.  On my wedding day, he was my bouncer, bar tender and shrink, controlling access to me and calming my nerves.  He performed his duties like a champ.  I can only hope he felt that I returned the favor capably at his wedding a few years later. 

There are too many stories to count. For 36 years through indoor and outdoor soccer, Boy Scouts, middle school, high school, college, heartbreak and happiness. Through our professional lives apart and together (almost a year of running a warehouse together), living across the country and the world from each other. Even now, living 2,000 miles apart with our own families we have been there for each other when it counted. He was not merely my best friend. He is and will always be, my brother. I love you Mark.  

Tour Guide

Shared by Diana Gipson on April 22, 2019

During one of our many trips to Dallas Mark drove us around town acting as our tour guide. He showed us many sights including downtown. We will never forget the extra effort that the whole family put forth to make us feel at home.

Love,

Brandon, Diana, Tyler and Tanne

Friend and mentor

Shared by Nate Drexler on April 22, 2019

I have so many great memories of Mark! Like Scott, he was a driving force and an essential mentor for me getting into the Backcountry in Colorado! So many trips I remember Mark and myself trudging along in Scott's skin tracks as he far out paced us. He helped me become confidant in my skills, showed me amazing places and helped me make some of my most cherished memories! I will never be able to go into the mountains without thinking of him!

Heroes

Shared by David Pachec on April 22, 2019

A couple of years a group of us from work went to the Rockies game. Mark and I volunteered to take Rowan and our coworker Kelly's son Jack to the playground area. It was a bit funny because we're pretty sure Laura and Kelly didn't trust us since Kelly kept texting me to make sure everyone was alright. While we there watching the kids play, one other little boy came up to us and said that another boy was stuck. We looked around and didn't see any parents upset, but we then saw the little boy stuck and hanging by his arm off of one of the playground toys. We weren't sure if it was okay to touch him, but since no parents seemed to be helping, Mark went over and picked up the kid and helped him climb up. He was fine and went and told his parents what we did. They thanked us, well mostly Mark, and all the kids kept playing. Mark came back and said, "Dave, we're basically heroes." I said, "Damn right, that deserves a beer." Which we did when we got back to our seats, but only after taking a picture with a Storm Trooper and R2D2. I just always laugh at Mark's delivery and deadpan humor in calling us heroes.

Brother, friend, partner

Shared by Scott Edlin on April 22, 2019

Mark was so much more than just a brother to me.  I can't explain the impact he had on my life.  The things I love most, he brought to my life.  He and I learned to ski together at Mount Crested Butte on Spring Break trips in the 80's.  I followed him to the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993 because I wanted to stay near him.  He turned me on to Colorado Avalanche hockey and Colorado Rockies baseball.  I followed him into the Colorado Mountain Club where I too learned the joy brought to him by climbing Colorado's mountains.  He convinced me to buy cheap sh*tty alpine touring skis in the early 2000's.  Those were terrible but allowed us both to learn the joy of ski touring.  He showed me around Berthoud Pass where we cut our teeth learning to safely navigate through avalanche terrain.  He even turned me on to strong black coffee back in the day.  So much of what I am is because of him and I feel that he lives on inside me as well as everyone he touched so deeply.  I miss him so much I want to collapse but we all have to stay strong for each other and for the kids.  Rest well, brother.  We got this.

Stories Welcome

Shared by Laura Edlin on April 22, 2019

Please share your memories and stories of Mark here. We would love to hear from you and be part of the memories you shared with Mark.

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