Deceased March 27, 2018
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Mark came up from Guilford High School. He brought with him a lively mind, an enterprising outlook, a self-effacing joy—and a stutter. Although he achieved lifetime friendships and loving relationships at the College, and although the stutter loomed larger in Mark’s mind than to those who knew him, the impediment subtracted from what he could take from—and give to—his classes. It held him back from all that he wanted to say. He was unimpaired in drama and dance. And in the Glee Club he sang a robust bass.
In his junior year, his speech therapist counseled him to go somewhere far away, to exercise speaking slowly—no matter the occasion or the audience—and then to come back. His semester in Edinburgh, speaking deliberately to any and every one, granted benefit.
His challenges were central in Mark’s decision to become a speech therapist himself.
After college, he completed the Ph.D. program in speech/language pathology at Northwestern. He taught for 25 years in a high school, created a successful private practice, came out with a book and traveled the country presenting workshops to other speech-language pathologists. (Videos of Mark, playful and purposeful, in his “Speaking Freely” workshops can be viewed on the Internet.)
In his 40s, Parkinson’s came upon him. He submitted to a range of treatments. Increasingly, he struggled to function. He endured the incurable disease for 13 years. He pursued and accomplished an accompanied suicide with the Dignitas organization, in Switzerland. As Mark left, he wrote, “I am truly fortunate to have the opportunity of this physician-assisted suicide. There are countless persons who would like to have the opportunity to die with dignity, but are unable to do so because of legal, financial, practical or logistical reasons.”
Robert Allen ’55 and Timothy Melley ’85