Deceased February 4, 2005
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Mark Chunglo ’84, passed away on Feb. 3, 2005, after an eight-year battle with brain cancer. At Amherst, Mark majored in economics, played goalie for the soccer team and assisted with the campus mass each Sunday. After graduation, he first worked in Springfield, Mass. In the offices of Mass. Mutual where he met his wife, Ellen, In 1990, Mark took a job with IBM in Philadelphia and relocated to Phoenixville, a town about thirty miles west of Philadelphia, where he and Ellen started a family. They had four children: Megan, Allison, Zachary and Emily. While working for IBM, Mark went to school at night, obtaining an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
He also continued his passion for sports, playing in a men’s soccer league alongside my brother Bo ’88 and me, and golfing, whenever he got the chance, most often with his brother Brian. At the time of his illness, Mark was a rising star in the consulting division of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Mark fought his illness bravely. He never complained and he never gave up. The following are the remarks I prepared for his funeral mass:
My name is David Ebby: Mark Chunglo was my friend and my teammate. I met Chungie (we all called him that) almost twenty-three years ago at Amherst College in late August 1982 at training camp for the soccer team. It was a friendship that lasted until he passed away last week.
The adults here tonight who knew Chungie as a neighbor, colleague or classmate, know that he was kind, intelligent, modest, tenacious, loyal, stoic in the face of adversity and brave. Megan, Allison, Zachary and Emily: you were very young when your father became ill so I would like to address you in particular, as I share my memories of Chungie, speak about the kind of person he was, and perhaps most importantly, speak about his legacy which is his wonderful qualities that the four of you will continue to carry inside you as you grow up and live your own lives.
The first thing I want you to know about your father is that he was tenacious; he never gave up. Like your father, I hope you never take no for an answer and that you never surrender. As you know your father was a goalie. What you may not know is that when he got to college, he did not play soccer for his first two years at Amherst, preferring instead to concentrate on his studies. In his third year at Amherst, perhaps due in part from some brotherly nudging from your Uncle Brian, he tried out for the College team. When the coaches saw Chungie in August 1982, they saw someone who had not played soccer for two years and who couldn’t possibly be any good. But your father did not accept that judgment. It was his dream to play goalie for Amherst, and he knew that he was going to change the coaches’ minds. He had worked very hard over the summer before training camp, and he surprised the coaches and became the starting goalie for the JV that year and one year later, in his last year at school, a starter for the Varsity team. Like your father, I hope you always strive for perfection to be the best you can be.
Like your father, I hope you are kind and forgiving. No matter what sort of mistakes any of his friends or neighbors made, he was always ready to accept an apology and offer a smile to show he was sincere. I remember once that I made an awful pass against Springfield College that was intercepted by a Springfield player who went in on a breakaway against your father. Thankfully, your father saved the Springfield player’s blistering shot, diving to push it out of bounds. It was a very cold night and the save had to have hurt your father. I felt terrible about it and so instead of marking someone for the corner kick, I ran over and apologized to your father for my bad pass. He instantly forgave me, calmly telling me not to worry and to guard the far post.
Your father was a modest man. He never bragged or called attention to himself. I remember in college, when many students wore flashy clothes; Chungie’s preferred outfit included a green John Deere baseball cap as he walked around the campus. In addition, every Sunday, he set up the Catholic Mass on the campus for Father Quigley. Other people were supposed to help, but sometimes they forgot. But not Chungie. Your father not only graduated from Amherst College which is one of this country’s finest schools, but he also earned a master’s in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, also one of this country’s most prestigious schools. And he did it at night. So not only was he working hard at his job—he often had to travel during the week which was not easy for your mom or for you—but he managed to complete his school work at night and earn his degree. But he never bragged about any of that or any of his other achievements.
Like your father, I hope you are uncomplaining. No matter how hot it was at practice or how much Coach Gooding yelled at us (and trust, me, your dad and I got yelled at a lot), your father set an example to us all by never complaining. Unlike the rest of us, your Dad could see the broader picture—he could see past small inconveniences to see how privileged we were to be at Amherst and to be on the soccer team. Your father also never complained about his illness and how unfair it was. Instead, he would tell me about your accomplishments and show me your latest pictures. I used to drive home in amazement after each visit, thinking about what a lesson he was teaching me. So I hope you are devoted to each other and think about how lucky you are to have each other, your mother and the rest of your family.
I am not sure if this is a quality that you want to have, but you should know—perhaps you already do—that your father was a creature of habit. When he found something he liked, he stuck with it and felt no need to try something else. If we were in a Chinese restaurant, he always had the same thing (I think it was chicken with cashew nuts). In fact, it got to the point where the waiter knew his order without your father even having to speak. When we had lunch in town, he always ordered a ham sandwich with mayo and a cookie. I used to tell him what a terrible mistake he was making by ordering mayo instead of mustard. Lots of times he did not finish the sandwich but he always ate the cookie.
Another quality that your father had, which I hope you do not share, is that he loved the Dallas Cowboys. Even after living in Philadelphia for so many years, he remained a loyal Cowboys fan. And so, like your father, I hope that you are loyal to each other, to your friends and to your school. But I hope you are also loyal Eagles’ fans.
Your father was also brave. Everyone here saw how courageous he was during the eight years he fought his illness. It is a testimony to his courage that we are all here tonight. I also saw him be brave in other ways. Many years ago, he and your mother moved to Philadelphia without knowing anyone, to try and make a good life for his family. I also saw him be brave and lead by example on the soccer field. He was once sent into a game that was tied in overtime after our other goalie was injured. Chungie was not allowed to have a warm up and the other team scored on their first shot and we lost the game. Other players might have sulked or complained about how unfair it was to get their first important Varsity experience that way but Chungie did not waste any time or energy on such negative emotions. He simply focused on the next game which was just four days away against another nationally ranked opponent. Honestly, no one except your father knew that the team would be fine in the next game. Because it was such a big game and because it was his first start for the Varsity, the guys were concerned about how your father would play under so much pressure. They need not have worried. Your father played the best game I ever saw him play and he shut out Babson College and was his usual calming influence.
We all know that the last eight years were very difficult for Chungie and his family. And on behalf of my family and all of Chungie’s teammates, I extend my deepest sympathies to Ellen, Megan, Allison, Zachary, Emily, Mark’s parents and his brother Brian for their loss. We will all miss him very much. When I think of Chungie, I will always see him calmly standing guard in my team’s goal. I hope that when you think of him, you will remember all of Chungie’s wonderful qualities that made him admired, respected and loved by all who knew him.
David Ebby ’85