ForeverMissed
Tributes
Posted by Jane Wallace on July 30, 2022
Mark was my first Unitarian minister when I moved to Asheville eight years ago. Lucky me to have entered this congregation with a wise and gentle minister. As I became involved in the UU Buddhist group I felt his support
and constant interest in our growth. He generated so much knowing and with my interest in poetry, I loved his beautiful recitations on Sunday mornings.
Elizabeth Wallace



Posted by Jacqueline Luck on July 29, 2022
Like Jim and all the rest of us, I want more! More of Mark's collegiality, his warmth and geniality, his welcoming of Spirit and welcoming of each of us into his circle of friends and loved ones. His easy manner and slow grin will stay with me forever. I also want more time with Mark for Debbie, his girls, and grandchildren, as he would have wanted. As Mary Oliver says, our pain is a measure of our love, and I add, Mark's love for us. I am terribly sorry for the shock that all who love Mark feel as we learn to release him into gracefilled communion with all there is. May it be so.
Posted by Eddee Daniel on July 29, 2022
Lynn and I were deeply saddened upon learning of Mark's passing. Our hearts go out to Debbie and family. We fondly remember our years of friendship as our children were growing up in UUCW in Brookfield. We offer our condolences and prayers of mourning. much love.
Posted by Grandad Kahn on July 29, 2022
I was shocked to learn of Mark's death. He was a valued colleague, and it was good to know the local UU congregation was in such good hands when I retired to Asheville ten years ago. Our sincerest sympathies to his family and friends on their loss. 
Reverend Jace Kahn, retired UU minister
Posted by Nancy Nachman on July 28, 2022
I was on the Search committee that brought Mark to UUCA and was delighted when we found him. I loved how he used poetry in his sermons and was such a strong speaker. My heart goes out to all his family. I loved seeing him watch his little granddaughters as they left the sanctuary to go downstairs for RE. There was such love in his eyes and in his smile as they passed by. He will be greatly missed...I still can't believe that he is gone from this earth.
Posted by Anna Olsen on July 26, 2022
Mark was outstanding as a pastoral visitor when Clark or I was in the hospital. And there were several occasions!! He came once when my mother was in the hospital for 17 days. He felt like home when he came and I was so grateful. Clark truly loved Mark.
Posted by Kay E Nelson on July 25, 2022
I have known Mark and his family as fellow members of UUCBrookfield, WI and was delighted when he became the minister in Asheville after we retired to that area and joined the UUCA. I was shocked to hear of his passing in the Chat at the CLF Sunday service which I attend since moving to California. A great man and wonderful minister, my condolences go to Debbie and the whole family. He is gone from this earth much too soon.
Posted by Iris Hardin on July 24, 2022
The warmth of Mark’s welcome made me less anxious and more excited after moving away from my faith community of 25 years. I’m deeply grateful for his ministry and sad beyond words for his premature loss. My love is with his family and closest friends.
Posted by Kathleen ADams on July 22, 2022
This leaves me speechless & deeply sad. I remember so well, speaking extensively with Mark about his decision to enter seminary & responding to request that I write a letter of support for his application. My heart goes out to his lovely family. I also carry such good memories of his lovely daughters in UUCW youth travels and regular meaningful gatherings during my years of youth advising in Wisconsin. The Mark Ward legacy is certainly deep, wide and powerful.  Kathleen
Posted by Mary Alm on July 22, 2022
With deep sorrow; I’m glad I had a chance to honor him at his retirement party.
Posted by beth lazer on July 21, 2022
I am at a loss for words even though there is so much I want to say about Mark. I was Board President when he was called by UUCA, and as such worked closely with him during his first 2 years of being a UU minister. He was serious and funny, compassionate in times of sorrow and joy, and dedicated to being the best minister he could be. And, he was! One of most important roles in my life was to ordain and install him on behalf of the UUCA congregation. Misha and I moved to Philadelphia in 2009 but I was lucky enough to spend time with Mark over coffee on my frequent visits to Asheville. Mark again touched my life in 2014 when he conducted a memorial service for Misha as we spread his ashes in the mountains.  I will miss hearing stories of Mark in what should have been his on-going journey into aging and retirement. I send loving prayers of strength to Debbie and to his entire family. 
Posted by Marni Harmony on July 20, 2022
I knew Mark as a parishioner before his call to ministry and then later as a colleague. What a wonderful man; what a sad and way too early death. May grace walk with all of us who remember and mourn.
Posted by Ed Prestemon on July 20, 2022
We moved here 8 years ago and wanted to join a church because we knew nobody in the area. I was a lapsed UU and Patty was a lapsed Catholic, but I would only join a UU congregation. In one of our first trips to the area we attended a service at UU Asheville where Mark was at the pulpit, and we immediately decided to join. We were shocked and saddened by the news of Mark's death, especially when we had just seen him exuberantly leading the singing at the celebration of life for Bill Kleiber. He will be missed.
Posted by Virginia Bower on July 18, 2022
Such shocking news--I light this virtual candle to help everyone, esp his family, see their way through such profound loss...
Posted by Mark Ewert on July 18, 2022
So sorry to have just learned about this sudden death. Rev. Mark was a wonderful spiritual and organizational leader. I worked with him and the congregation some years ago. I am sure he will be missed by generations of people in Asheville and at UUCA. Condolences to you all!
Posted by Sharon VanDyke on July 17, 2022
I am just learning of this tragic news of the passing of my dear friend Mark. I was a worship associate many times for Mark and words can't express how much Mark influenced my thinking about my beliefs, my values, and what truly mattered. I always knew I could reach out to Mark and he would be there, with a thoughtful word and seemingly unending time and patience to talk with me. I know Mark was this same presence for so many. I will miss him so much.
Posted by Maureen Killoran on July 17, 2022
I weep as I write these words, with gratitude for Mark’s long ministry with UUCA, and with sadness that he has left the known world all too soon. My husband, Peter Hyatt, and I extend caring and condolences to the congregation, to Mark’s family, and to all whose lives were touched by this warm and wonderful human. Rev. Maureen Killoran, Minister Emerita, UUCA
Posted by Linda Bair on July 16, 2022
As chair of the search committee in 2003-2004, I was one of the first at UUCA to meet Mark & Debbie. For a congregation of our size, we did not have the funds to hire a first rate, experienced minister. We decided to take a chance on a new minister fresh out of seminary, who had a wealth of life experience, was raised a UU, with two UU ministers and a UU minister of music in his immediate family, and had extensive lay leadership experience. We wanted a minister who could preach well, bring along strong lay leadership and be visible in the Asheville community on Social Justice issues.
We got everything we wished for and so much more in Mark. He grew so much in his 17 years with us, and gave so much of himself, including an extra year of ministry through the early days of Covid. 
Gone too soon.
Posted by Missy Reed on July 16, 2022
There are no words to convey how heartbroken we are for Debbie and the entire family. Mark is the reason we came to UUCA. I met him on the Stop the Violence committee and it became so clear to me that he was a "real one". He walked his talk and he was deeply invested in healing our city. I hope he knew the impact he had on our lives and the lives of our kids. Josh loved hearing Mark speak, it was the most engaged we had ever seen him in a church setting. Please know our love is with you Debbie, Anna and the whole family.
Posted by Michael and Jan Beech on July 16, 2022
After over 40 years in a spiritual wilderness, I (we) stopped in at UUCAVL one Sunday, because we had attended a UU drum circle and holidays in NH. Jan had read to me a story from the UU’s of the true meaning ov Christmas. As a Santa impersonator the story landed wonderfully, and gave us the idea to come what UUCAVL was all about. We never left. This is the spirituality I want to live and life I want to lead. The hooker for us was at the closing when Mark spoke the closing words…”No matter who you are, where you are from or who you live…you are welcome her.” We we’re hooked and still are.
Posted by Maggie Scranton on July 16, 2022
I still remember my first impression of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation was Mark Ward and others who came to greet me during my first few Sundays. He was always warm, friendly, and genuine. His handshake was welcoming for someone so uncertain and new to the church. I loved his stories and sermons, and he was a great example of what it means to be a leader in kindness and deed. Thank you to his wife, Debbie, and his family for sharing him with the congregation and the world.
Posted by Bob Wilson on July 16, 2022
Like others, I'm having difficulty putting into words what I'm feeling now. Mark was a good friend and spiritual guide, in my most difficult times and while having a beer together. He enabled me to embrace my atheism. I will miss him greatly.
Posted by Beth Gage on July 16, 2022
My memories of this wonderful person so often include music--
singing Blue Boat Home together at a meeting; loving May Nothing Evil Cross
This Door; processing to Rank By Rank Again We Stand. And Mark singing from the pulpit. Indeed Mark answered Yes to Life.
Posted by Isabella Crowe on July 16, 2022
What a rare and great man you have been in your life here among friends & kindred. A pillar of Unitarian Universalist you have been Rev. Mark Ward & it will forever shine in the great life you have imparted to all. UU Honors you and With Love you remain.
Posted by Judy Harper on July 15, 2022
Mark was my first introduction to the UU ministry. From the first time I attended a service in 2013 and heard him speak, I knew that he was a very special person. My heart is aching, and I can only imagine what his family must be feeling right now. They must know that everyone in this congregation is holding them in their hearts and sorrowing with them. A man such as he was can never ever be replaced.
Posted by Paula Massey on July 15, 2022
Compassion and caring are words that come to mind when thinking of Mark, and his actions demonstrated that time and time again. I will never forget when I fractured my wrist and was on a gurney in the hall of the ER. It was late in the evening and I was alone, trying to figure out how to navigate this predicament, when I look up and here is Debbie and Mark! The neighbor who drove me to the hospital was a Minister in town and called Mark to let him know I was there. Suddenly I wasn't alone. My heart grieves for Debbie and family as they journey though this sudden and profound loss of Mark.

   
Posted by Terry Davis on July 15, 2022
Mark was a wonderful ministerial colleague -- kind, supportive, and generous with his time. My heart goes out to his family and all of those who loved him and were loved in return.
Posted by Carl Sturken on July 15, 2022
I knew Mark since I was 6 years old . He got me into my first band , and I ended up becoming a professional musician . At one point in our teenage years we were best friends, and we traveled to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon together . A great friend , a great man .

Carl Sturken
Posted by Venny Zachritz on July 15, 2022
Mark was one of the most empathetic people I have ever met. His compassion, patience and understanding of the human nature is inspirational. I will miss his wisdom but so grateful that he was a part of my life if even for a short time.
Posted by Marc Orton on July 14, 2022
I’ve known Mark since we were 9 years old in New Jersey. We were the best of friends. Mark made it a priority to visit my wife Robin and me this weekend in Virginia Beach after a 50-year gap and we had a great time reminiscing and laughing about the good old days. Mark was always a good, caring soul. He will be missed by so many.
Posted by Christine Magnarella Ray on July 14, 2022
I can still see his smile, hear his laugh, see him gesturing earnestly from the pulpit. The spirit of his life carries on within so many of us.
Posted by Dan Clere on July 14, 2022
Even in passing, Mark has left us with a powerful message. I think he would appreciate the irony in that. I will miss him deeply. His wisdom was profound. Few people have been so impactful. I was really looking forward to seeing 'retired Mark'. I will hold him in my heart for a long time to come.
Posted by Joyce Hooley on July 14, 2022
Mark was such a compassionate, thoughtful, and wise spiritual companion and leader. I so much enjoyed working with him as a worship associate, loved engaging in discussions with him about what we had been reading, batting around ideas, exploring thought-provoking perspectives. I will remember sermons, hikes with him, poems he recited, songs he sang, his hearty laugh, all with gratitude. I valued his friendship greatly and will miss him sorely in the coming years. My heart grieves as well for Debbie and all his family in this devastating loss.
Posted by Leslie Downs on July 14, 2022
No words....such a huge loss for us.

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