Monday, August 27, 2012

Mark Miller: Another Life Well Lived

Local builder, artisan, and businessman Mark Miller passed away July 5, 2012, of a heart attack. The heart attack was a surprise to everyone, and an autopsy revealed that Mark was such a superfit athlete that he had an enlarged heart. In the words of his 10-year-old daughter, the muscles of Mark's heart had grown so big that the nerves couldn't keep up with them. When the heart attack hit, he was relaxing on the couch reading a book, after having spent an enjoyable morning with his girls.

This strong and gentle man had enjoyed the perfect life with his sweet wife and young daughter, and although his passing was a time of sadness, it was also a time of comfort and peace – and cheer, actually. He had prepared well for the eventuality of his death, and he and his family knew that death is just a transition between two phases of living, and that they will be reunited one day. Until that day, Mark will live on through his legacy: the things he made with his hands, the property he beautified for his family, the hundreds of young people he coached in cross country, and the friends and other people he touched in his lifetime.

Mark Miller, August 26, 1959 - July 5, 2012

Mark's family hosted a Celebration of Mark's Life on their beautiful property yesterday. It would have been Mark's 53rd birthday. I was invited to speak at the celebration. There was no eulogy or sermon, only people from the different circles Mark had lived in, telling about the influence Mark had had on them. Here's what I said:

I’m speaking for all the parents of all the kids that Mark and Kathy ever coached. Three of our children ran XC at Loveland HS, and so we got to know Mark and Kathy very well: we did lots of pasta dinners, killer hikes, Rattlesnake runs, and Fall River Road runs.

Mark and Kathy have been a team for as long as I can remember, but Kathy asked me to concentrate on Mark in my remarks. I don’t know if I can separate the influence of the one from the other, but I do know that Jason, Kellie and Lori, especially Kellie, thought the world of Mark. If he had asked Kellie to run across Lake Loveland without getting her ankles wet, she would have done it for him. 

They called him their coach, but Mark was a masterful teacher. By example and by precept, he taught our kids a lot, about running – about life – and about believing in something. We have observed over the years that it takes a special breed of kid to be an XC runner: with only a few exceptions, it's the ones who are serious, studious, smart, and more importantly, morally upright – "righteous" might be a better word. Mark was always careful to nurture and encourage those character traits, and the kids responded to that nurturing. As a result, in addition to Molly, he has a posterity that numbers in the hundreds. 

If you count all of the runners like Kellie, then the 128th Psalm finds real fulfillment in Mark's life: 

1      Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; 
            that walketh in his ways. 
2      For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: 
            happy shalt thou be, 
            and it shall be well with thee. 
3      Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine 
            by the sides of thine house: 
            thy children like olive plants 
            round about thy table. 
4      Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. 
5      The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: 
            and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem 
            all the days of thy life. 
6      Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, 
            and peace upon Israel. 

Kathy, thanks for everything you and Mark have done for our children. May God give you peace.

No comments: