Amherst Magazine

Markley E. Opdyke '59

Markley E. Opdyke '59 died March 1, 2010.
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Mark Opdyke, my Amherst roommate and best man at my wedding, died suddenly on March 1, 2010, at the age of 72 of a heart attack. He was born on Jan. 21, 1938, in Geneva, N.Y., and spent most of his years before Amherst in the quiet town of Sidney, N.Y., where his father, Charlton Opdyke ’31, was the minister of the Congregational church.

            After majoring in French at Amherst, Mark spent a year at the University of Montpelier in France on a Fulbright fellowship. The next year he received an M.A.T. from Harvard and spent the next 30 years teaching French at NiskayunaHigh School while living just over the border in Schenectady, N.Y. When he retired, he was elected to the school board and served nine years with two as president.

            I met Mark in my first week at Amherst; we had been assigned to Al Lumley’s exercise class where we learned the stern virtues of the sit-up and push-up. In our sophomore year, our room on the fourth floor of SouthCollege had a view of the Holyoke range to the south. We had joined Chi Phi, along with John Demcisak, Henry Keutmann, John Long and Bob Walker, and in our junior and senior years, we were joined by Bob at what has now become Hamilton House. Strangers once, we came to dwell together …

            Mark and his wife, Kay, married on Sept. 3, 1966, and spent their summers at their Adirondack camp house on LakeLuzerne in the park. There he passed quiet days, making the reading of the New York Times into an art form.

            I was fortunate to spend several days with Mark and Kay in the fall of 2008 while working on an exhibit at UnionCollege, and in April 2009, Mark, Bob Walker and I had a three-day mini-reunion in Schenectady.

            He is survived by his wife and sons David and Daniel.

—Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr. ’59

 

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