Celebration of the Life of Mark Chambers
On Saturday, March 19, our family hosted Dad's memorial celebration at Lewis and Clark College. We are thankful that so many people came to pay their respects to Dad, and we hope that those who attended enjoyed the event. We certainly did. We thought the blog would be the perfect place to share the video from the event with those who were unable to attend and those who wanted to reflect again on what was said.
We think it makes sense to begin this post with Dad's farewell message, which is how we brought the memorial service to a close.
Below are each of the memorial messages given at the service, which appear in the order they were given.
And finally, we wanted to close this post with the memorial message that our Aunt Carrie wrote for the service but felt she would be unable to read at the time. She wanted to share her thoughts, though, so we are pleased to be able to share them with Dad's friends here.
I am not sure as to why I wasn’t able to speak directly at the Oregon memorial service. I had planned for a long while that I wanted to and I was honored that the kids asked me to, but when the day came it was way more emotional than I had anticipated. My “directional gyro” as I referred to Mark during the weekend, was a bit off. We all found ourselves having to make decisions that had for so many years been handled by Mark as we travelled to the Northwest for visits, this seemed to throw me off in a big way. It is a message that I was very sure about giving and I would like to share it now.
On behalf of Marks extended California family, my parents, brother and sister and our families I wanted to extend our gratitude for sharing in the day of Marks celebration. I will not lie to you, this has been a rough time and I am sure it isn’t over, but I am also sure that we will all come out as better people having known the love and affections of such a great son, brother, father, lover and friend. It has been as if we have continued Marks journey learning more every day about Mark, about life and death – and about ourselves.
As I tried to decide what it was I wanted to say today, I have had a difficult time, some things that I would have liked to share are honestly still a bit to personal, some may have been a bit off color, and I decided that many of you here today may have way better stories than I might have shared, so – I went where I have gone all my life to find answers – I went to my big brother. What would Mark want me to say today? Mark had never led me astray before, (well, there was a few times having to do with tequila, but we shouldn’t talk about THAT today), but in the end I knew he would not let me down now.
It wasn’t long after I begged the question of myself that it came to me, Mark would have looked at me with his arms crossed over his chest, more than likely wearing shorts and his ever so noticeable vests or golf shirt and with that impish grin he wore so often, said something like “It’s just not a team without the outfield” or “No person is greater than the sum of all his parts” – and in that visual and realistic conversation I had with him it dawned on me – Mark wouldn’t want me to talk about himself at all – I believe he would want me to talk about all of you.
Every person that my brother ever met has been an intregal part of his life, and I think he would want you all to remember that. He would have been so tickled to have you all in the same room, enjoying one another’s company today. Each and every person in this room made up Marks unique, fun loving, love filled life, each and every minute of it. It is my belief that he would want to thank you for his amazing life.
It doesn’t matter if you have known him for 2, 10 or 30 years – or for all of his life, Mark held fast to his beliefs, his love of his family and friends, his three amazing children, his sense of humor and love of sports, education and the wonders of the world and life itself, the giggles and laughter of kids of all ages, the Mark I knew and loved from the age of 3 is the same Mark that you have all come to know all these years.
Many of you have shared in his life through friendships, his children, church, wine clubs, dance teams, athletic teams, his community and volunteer services. You have played more golf with him than most people play in an entire life time, although we all know that Mark would say that one could never play enough golf. You have served on boards; been to round table luncheons, participated in charity events, golf tournaments, school functions and educational experiences. You may be neighbors or work colleagues, you may have coached him or been coached by him – whatever your association, you have all been active participants in his journey.
To those of you that helped during the end of this journey with medical visits, Dr. Office consultations, helping to drive to and from, or time spent with him in the “infusion den” I am especially thankful. If you held his hand; or his heart, lent a listening ear, or debated current events with him, if you were the twinkle in his eye, or the apples of it – you have all been the focus of his life and he became the person he was because all of you allowed him to share a special and unique bond.
Mark enjoyed his life and all of you in it. He spoke of you often and laughed loud and long about all the stores and adventures that you shared together. For all of this and so much more I will always personally appreciate the fact that you took the time to enjoy, embrace and love my brother.
I would like to ask that you all continue to share in the fun stories, great traditions, good times and laughter that you have shared with Mark, and that you take the time to continue to tell stories to his children and his family whenever you remember out of the clear blue something that is “SO Mark”!
In my eyes my brother has always been a gift, and I’d like nothing more than to keep the memories alive so that he can continue to be the gift that keeps on giving.
I think he would like that.
To reiterate Aunt Carrie's message, we are so grateful to all of you who, as Dad wrote, made his life "a song that very few could ever hope to sing." Thank you for making his memorial celebration an event that our family will cherish forever. Dad asked us to host a party that he would wish he had been able to attend, and you all made that wish possible.