The Pyramid

It is with a heavy heart and a peace beyond understanding that I write this post.  The final test was negative.  Dr. Mark, whale, Little dad, Pop or as I called him my Dad is in a deep coma, with no clinical way of waking up.  The test confirmed the stroke is in the “wake up” portion of his brain stem, and tears filled the room as we realized the choice before us.  We are not sure how many hours or days he has left, but we do know his legacy will live on in each of us.  Please keep us in your prayers as we celebrate the life of man who lived life better than anyone I know.

We can use your help. First please pray for all of us, but specifically for my mother, Anne.  The road before us has been walked by many of you, yet we all as individuals must walk it ourself hand in hand with God.  The Second request begins with a confession.  This blog was started as a joke to tell my dad I love him as the quirky man he was, but over the past few days it has transformed as voice for me to share the family pain and sorrow with all of you.  For 1 year he was my only reader, besides one of my siblings looking at it randomly or a random 5th grader doing a research paper on whales.  Yesterday my blogged received over 5,000 hits.  This is a statement to the impact my dad had on the world around him.  Each night we have read your comments and prayers to him, and we would like to do that today and tonight.  Please take moment and leave a comment for us to celebrate my dad.

My dad told me a story once of how our family was a pyramid.  Each person played a part in keeping the family unit together, but my father was at the very tip of the pyramid.  One day on a walk he realized that if he was gone the pyramid would collapse.  It was the fork in the road to begin preparing each of us for this day.  Over the few years past year he has told and showed us he loved us all, he has made preparations none of realized, and he let all of you know how special you are in God’s eyes.  48 hours before his death he visited with each of his kids and grandkids in person and told them he loved them.  He even spent a quiet moment at 3am with Eli (my son) the newest minnow to the family.   He made sure that pyramid would always remain even if his earthly body does not.  My father is the greatest man I know.

God may still save him, but as a family we are united in saying we will praise God even if he does not.

101 responses to The Pyramid

  1. Joey White

    “Well done servant… well done…”

    I long to hear those words out loud one day. Dr. Mark, you may very well hear them sooner than later. Either way, allow me to share the same sentiment this afternoon. As seen through the lives of your children, I am confident that you have served your Lord wonderfully by loving the children He entrusted you with during these years. Well done my friend – well done.

  2. Cathy Kelley

    Mark Jr. and the entire Presley,
    It was with a very deep and saddened heart that I read and comprehended your latest blog. I can’t imagine what you are going through but know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and will be as you walk this journey. Your dad was such a wonderful man. I remember taking his Geology class. The funny thing was I was working for him at the time. This situation gave your dad a slight advantage. I remember on several occassions he need papers copied, he would just look at me and say “Cathy, can you go make copies of this”. I was a student in his class yet he knew I would, as an employee, go make the copies for me. Then he would always catch me up on what I missed while I was gone. When he would come into the office in the mornings I would always ask how he was doing and many times his response was often the same, “terrible, how about you?” and then there were always the times when I would get a good laugh at something or tease him about something he said and that phrase would blurt out “go jump in a lake”. Your dad will always be here at Eastfield and in this office. He will be remembered through me and everyone that knows him. He is one of a kind and a very special person. May God walk with you and comfort you in this trying and sad time. May God be with you.
    All my love and respect,

  3. Catherine

    To the Presely family,
    My heart is heavy learning of your pain. I never met whale, but have heard many stories about him through Whitney, and I know he has made his mark on the Museum where we both work. I know I would have loved his poetry slam birthday party!

    I will hold you all tightly in my heart – and I want you to know for me you are each your father’s living prayer on this earth, thank you. He, through you, IS doing god’s work, giving us a reason to seek his relief, comfort and shelter.

    Peace be with all of you.

  4. bia

    I don’t know you, I didn’t know your father, and I only know Kari & Kijsa through their blog but I am moved at the faith, strength, and courage within your family. That in itself tells me what a wonderful father you have.

    God bless.

  5. Bryan and Tracy Doyle

    God has been so good to me these 43 some years, I have met with the great and and the good and have been humbled that a quiet boy ever had the opportunity to do that.

    It struck me as I was praying for Dr. Mark the other day, how telling my first encounters with him were.

    I can count on one hand (maybe just a couple of fingers) meeting individuals who convey a mix of humble grace, intelligence, charisma and uncanny wisdom all in the same breath. Dr. Mark is one of those…

    I wish I’d of met him many years ago – yet I’m so grateful to have made fast friends with him –

    May peace and contentment reign in his heart.


  6. Pam Anderson

    Dearest Presley Family,

    Wow, where do you start to tell a person or a family what they mean to you! Dr. Mark you and Mrs. Presley did an excellent job raising your family. You and your lovely wife live on each day in each member of your family. Your genuine love, empathy and Christlike following are very evident. You are the most warm and loving family around. I find it a true honor to know you and call all of you my friends. Your family has opened their hearts to share with each of us their personal journey through this tragedy. We are each the better for reading about “whale” and his impact on everyone. Thank you for loving each of us as you did and the generous hugs that you passed out to everyone. We will genuinely miss you. Much love and prayer to each of you Presleys. We will continue to pray for each of you.

    Eddie & Pam Anderson

  7. Anna Goodrich

    Dear Presley family,
    I am a member at FBC and only know Melissa. I have been reading Mark’s blog this week with a prayerful hope that GOD would perform a miracle and that Whale would wake up.Oh how my heart hurts for your family after reading this post. I have been praying for your family to feel a peace that none of you could ever explain. Thank you for sharing the wonderful legacy of a man that your father was to soo many people.
    Praying for you to feel HIS presence,

  8. Patrick Pettit

    To the Presely family,

    May you all heal with the passing of time and the love of family and friends.

    Through knowing Whitney from the museum, it is clear what an incredible man “whale” is. Her enthusiasm and zest for life is infectious.

    As in the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    In God’s Love,

  9. George Fisher & Family

    Uncle Mark is a “whale” of a guy. At the young age of 17, I had the opportunity to spend a summer with him trekking in the Bitterroot Range in Montana looking for rocks. During that summer in 1968, Mark taught me not only geology and woodsman knowledge, but life lessons already learned by my older brother-in-law.

    As a father of 3 daughters, I know of the trial and tribulations that young girls, especially teenage girls, usually create for their dads. In the end, a father’s hope is he has instilled in his daughters the morals and concern for others that is important to be a good citizen. I know Mark is very proud of the personal relationships of all his children, and rightfully should be. Creating an environment where ones children grow up knowing what is important in life was one of Mark’s personal goal, and in that he succeeded quite well. To some, success is measure by bank accounts; but to Mark, success is measured by the growth in loving relationships. If there was ever a man who could find good in the most distasteful situation – it was Mark. Always the optimist, always looking for the sunny side, always seeking the best in every situation even when there apparently was none.

    I carry a time-worn piece of paper in my wallet with a saying I found while grieving after my mother’s passing. It reads “We are remembered not by our accomplishments but by our relationships.” I try to take this to heart each and every day. I know this could / should be Mark’s mantra as it is an integral part of his approach to life.

    After reading all the previous posts, I have a newly found sense of the joys of Mark’s extended relationships and I know he will be remembered as the great man he is.

    Recapping from another’s post: God brings us in to this world when He is ready and we should rejoice; and He takes us home when He is ready, and we should rejoice as well. Mark, God is ready and waiting for you.

  10. Bryan & Teri Moore

    Once while comeserating with your dad on both our hour long commutes to work, he confided to me that he rather enjoyed the drive, because he used that time as his “quiet time” with God. He would pray, listen to tapes and just generally emerse himself in the Lord. I thought ,at the time, how odd that was, that with cars rushing by you, horns honking, sirens blaring, and just the genral frustration of being stuck in traffic that he would and could use that time as “quiet time” with the Lord. I thought what the heck I’ll give it a try, and you know it works and every morning when I get in the car to head to work I think of that conversation with Dr. P. He touched lives and if God chooses to take him now, it is your family I mourn for, not Dr. P, because his “quiet time” with the Lord will in the prescence of the Lord, and not on Central Expressway.
    God Speed Dr.P

  11. Tim & Suzanne Taylor

    Presley Family,

    Our prayers surround you. Our hearts embrace you. We can’t help but remember the Pops that we recently lost, too. Praise the Lord for the sustaining strength and, yes, joy that covers us in these times.

    Dr. Mark,

    Thank you for the legacy of faith that you have given your family. They have impacted (and will continue to) my family in more ways than I know.
    The Lord haste the day when all our faith shall be sight.

    May God bring strength & comfort to each of you.

    Tim & Suzanne

  12. Mike and Tina Phillips

    We have read your beautiful tributes through tears. What a testimony to a God-filled life. Thank you for sharing your painful, intimate moments with us so that we too, might join you in prayer at this time. How blessed the Presley family has been to have been lead by one who was so obviously led of the Lord. Our hearts break for your sweet family. No words can express how much you are in our thoughts and prayers – prayers that ask our Loving Father to wrap you in his arms and carry you through these very difficult days. Please express our thanks to your father for the honor of knowing him, for moving your family to our area, for sharing himself to bring laughter and so much more, and for “being the church” to all he met.
    In Him,
    Mike and Tina

  13. Mark Schneider

    Dr. Mark,

    I can think of no greater tribute to you as a father, husband, and grandfather than the shining faith and rejoicing of your family, even in time of great sorrow, and their wonderful expressions of love for you.

    I can think of no greater tribute to you as a Teacher, Boss, Mentor, Co-worker, or Friend than the incredible, heartfelt messages left here on this blog by thousands for you and your family.

    I can think of no greater comfort now than the knowledge that your faith will soon bring you into the very presence of our savior.

    You truly do leave an incredible legacy in your wonderful family. And, beyond that, your legacy lives on in each of us who have had the privilege knowing you. We each will carry on our piece of you because you have impacted each of our lives. We all share in your legacy. Thanks for the blessing of being a part of it.

    We rejoice as you enter your eternity in Heaven, but you will live on through eternity here on earth as well as each of us share our little piece of Dr. Mark with those we love. Well done. Well done.
    Mark, Barbara, Elle, and Shelby Schneider

  14. Becca Brockway

    Words are hard to find in moments like this, but truley you have left a legacy that as a mother of 4 could only aspire to have. Thank you for example to all of us….

  15. Darlene Simmons

    Dear Anne and family,
    I would like to join so many others who are sharing their love, support, and prayers. May the Presence of the Lord envelope you all and may you know “the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Dt.33:27 “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob(Presley’s),who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.”Ps.114:7-8 May HE meet all your needs. With loving thoughts, Darlene Simmons and family

  16. Juliet Kauffman

    Earlier today, I remembered a story about Mark. This happened when Mark was in his teens, while I was staying with Aunt Ione, Uncle Oran, and Mark (Philip had left for college in Michigan). It was 1962.

    At a friend’s house was a wonderful puzzle. Like this one, called the Tower of Hanoi (kind of looks like a pyramid – the solution is in watching the top piece).
    He noticed it sitting on the shelf and asked about it. They told him the legend that one piece is moved each day. He was told that no one knew how to do it. He played with it a bit and went home. The next day, Mark went back and announced that he could do it and so he did. The friends were amazed! They would tell everyone about how “this kid just came over and did the puzzle”. But I bet not a single one of you is surprised. I would love to know how Mark told this story or if he ever did.

    Again, thank you Mark, Jr. for this blessing of a blog.

    I hold Our Lord’s Prayer in my heart, remembering that He alone has the plan. Take each step, one at a time.

    Love, Juliet

    Happy moments, praise God.
    Difficult moments, seek God.
    Quiet moments, worship God.
    Painful moments, trust God.
    Every moment, thank God.

  17. Jennie Banks

    My thoughts are with you all. He touched my life through work and as a friend. My world is a better place because of him.

  18. Sherrilyn Price

    I’ve not had the chance to know your dad well, but I have seen what an amazing man he is through the family members I have had the privilege to know. His children and grandchildren are an amazing testament to his vitality and deep love for Christ. (My son considers Champe to be-his words-“the world’s coolest toddler.” He says Eli will have his work cut out for him to live up to big brother!)

    I’ve always been impressed with the closeness and support the Presley family gives each other; I know this will never be more necessary than now. I am continuing to lift each of you up to our Lord. I pray that He gives you overflowing portions of comfort, peace, and courage as you face the days ahead.
    In His love,
    Sherrilyn Price

  19. Craig Otteson

    “Kram Yelserp”, the pen name for the one I like to call the renaissance man. You have made a lasting “mark” on my life. It is truly a blessing and an honor to call you my friend. I can’t think of you, even now, without a smile coming to my face. I love you Mark Presley. I long to see you again in this life, or the next when I imagine that same wry smile on your face as you stand hand in hand with our Savior. (Probably telling jokes, stories or reciting poetry) Thanks for being my friend!
    Giarc Nosetto

  20. Carol Edwards

    It’s with deepest respect that I leave a comment. I stumbled on your blog through a visit to your sisters’ blog. I’ve never left a comment there but admire their love for God and all of their talent and have been visiting their blog for some time now. I just want you to know that I feel your pain and am praying for you and your family (on my face before our Lord). I wish I could have had a man like your father as my father. You are truly blessed. What a family and legacy he is leaving behind and what joy in knowing that you will see him again one day. You have truly touched my heart and please thank your dad for being such an example of how our lives should be lived. In Christ’s love, Carol

  21. Mark, Anne and family – we are continuing to pray for you all during this time. May you know Him as Prince of Peace and the Comforter during these days.

    Dr. Mark – thank you for serving your purpose in this generation everywhere God put you: Acts 13:36. It is a privilege to know a man of integrity, passion, and selflessness that I have seen in your life. As so many have said: you have done well. You have faithfully declared His power to the next generation: Psalm 71:18. You can rest will ease knowing that Your children will be mighty in the land: Psalm 112:2.

    Mark, today I prayed Psalm 84 for you. You have taken the God that your Dad taught you about and have set your heart on following Him all your days. You have set your heart on pilgrimage to go the distance just as your Father did: through the deep valleys and the springs you will go from strength to strength until you meet Him. You already are a man who trusts in Him and will humbly serve Him all your days. It’s an honor to be your friend.

  22. Lawson & Mileen Howard

    We just got the word on Mark’s condition. While we are shocked, we know Mark is in the hands of our Lord and no matter the outcome, God will be praised.

    Anne, you and Mark were our first friends when we moved to McKinney and your love and devotion to our Lord has been an inspiration.

    Our thoughts and prayers will be with you.

  23. Texas Dept of Insurance

    Our hearts go out to you and your family in your time of sorrow. We send you thoughts of peace and courage. Please accept our condolences.

  24. Clarke Baldwin

    I have been blessed to know the Presley family. I have briefly met Dr.Mark, and I can say that he seemed to have the same noble uplifting spirit as his son. I have had the pleasure of working for Mark Jr. and have learned so much about what it is to trust God and live in faith. On Tuesday when I heard about Dr. Mark I somehow knew in my heart that he had at least gotten to meet his new grandchild before this tragedy occurred. What astounds me is the weeks before our sermons at First Baptist have been themed ‘Paul’s Blog’ and now this blog is impacting so many lives.

    God Bless,

  25. thinking of you

    My deepest thoughts of love and light are sent to you all. I too, lost my young father, age 59, to a bleed in the brain. Love, Los Angeles CA

  26. Susan Seiring

    I believe Jesus is standing at the gate ready to say, ‘Welcome home. I’ve been waiting for you.” Go home in peace, Dr. Mark. God has completed His work in you.

    All of MHS stands ready to do whatever you need done, whenever, if it is a shoulder, a hand, a test oopied, whatever. You have been a bulwark for me and I’m sure for many others. Now it’s our turn to lift you up.
    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
    (II Cor. 1: 3-4)

  27. My heart is breaking for your family, but rejoicing also, that you will be with your father in his final hours, is a gift that many do not get to experience. To say your prayers and I love yous, to hold his warm hand, IT is a gift to your family. Though it has been a more than difficult time for you, God has given you this TIME, I was fortunate to be with my father when he passed at age 53. It was the best gift The Lord has ever given me, on my WORST DAY. My prayers are with you and your family.

  28. Johnnie Bellamy

    Although we may soon be separated from you on earth, we will be joined with you in eternity. May God bless you and your family as you all take one of the longest and hardest journeys in life. Mark, your goodness and light will shine on through your wonderful family and devoted friends. Although your spirit may soon be free, you will never depart because you will be held close in the hearts of those who love you.

  29. Cheri Wenzel

    I came home after meeting my cousins how ever we are removed from one another or second, or first, but we are all in the Whitehead/Presley web, of love.

    I was lucky that I was the first born grandchild near my grandparents and my Poppop was Bill, Ione’s brother. Ione and I had the same birthday and so we were bonded and she stayed connected with me because of that. Ione was the only one who called me Cheri Lynn, except my mother when she was pissed at me. 🙂

    I was able to know Uncle Oren, your grandfather, and I thought of him as the kindest, gentlest man. He would pick you up, read you a book, or spend time with you, and it was like there was no one else in the world that mattered but you. I am crying now, because we know how rarely someone is so genuine and generous and we hold it in our marrow if you will, and we still feel it. We still are grateful forty years later. And I understand that Mark, the whale, was very much like his father–my beloved Uncle Oren. And in that, I feel such sorrow for all of you. And I do pray for you, and send you energy all the time.

    I thank you for having me visit. I was happy to meet you all, and see him and your Mom again. I am glad he is at peace, but I wish I guess that he looked more like he was ready to go, if you will. There is so much here to live for.

    I thought often how much my Aunt Ione’s death would impact you all, and I always knew but never went there, to how your lives would pain without your Dad.

    So I wrote when I went home, and drew a whale spouting water. I thought that it was true, he’s a whale of a man, or if he was a fish or other underworld mammal, Mark Presley would rank right up there, with the biggest ever known.

    He was not “fat” like a whale but his person commanded spaces on earth as a whale does in the sea.

    He had “whale” of ideas, he dreamed, created and reached others as large as life could take him, and those were really, really deep waters.

    People on the boats off the Cape shout excitedly, “hey look there’s a whale!!!!!!” Where? “Over there–” it’s thrilling because it’s not common place to see a whale in motion. Where Mark went, people remarked, “look at that guy” or “lets ask that man”, or “that man is coming to help us.” And sadly in humankind, that is not common either. But I salute him for his mission to be the uncommon giver.

    So my heart breaks for you. Though I have no doubt of the spiritual peace he will have in death, for me, it doesn’t erase the hole, or the ache, or the throb.

    He was to you, this grandest of men, a husband, father, grandfather, brother, cousin, friend, preacher, teacher, minister, scholar,–

    How displaced your waters will be without him in them. You will keep looking for his tail, looking for him to spout something out, or charm you with the look on his face.

    I trust you will swim in similar schools, and you will feel him with you, because you know yourselves because of how he loved and believed in you, and because you know who you are, and why you are in relation to that. That is the most beautiful but overwhelming (in my opinion) emotional, gift.

    Above all the others he loved and fussed over, none were more important than Anne and the kids. all kids of course, grands et al.

    So I am thinking of this whale metaphor as quite fitting for his being and for his handsome chest.

    My love to you all. I am here always if I can be of any support.

    Love, your cousin Cheri

  30. Marti

    I was a student of Dr. Presley and must say he was the best professor I ever had. As a reticent journalism major who was forced to take a science class, he instilled in me a love for geology and a downright obsession with plate tectonics. His lectures were witty and memorable as was he. His alligator impression was “Monty Python worthy” and his enthusiasm for geology made me rethink my minor in business and change it to geology. What a wonderful, funny, caring and intelligent man!! I will think of him often.

  31. Jay Northcut

    Mark, I must confess that I have never had one conversation with your father. For whatever reason our paths never crossed. So all I know of him is through you and the comments of others. But based on my friendship with you and how I see you live your life I have no doubt he is all that you say. I share your concerns about living up to a father’s legacy, as I struggle with those things in my own life, but I can assure you, you needn’t worry. You are well on your way in the development of your own legacy. Our family has been and will be vigilant in keeping your family in our prayers.

  32. Laura Greene Velez

    I am Bert Greene’s mother and know Whitney through Bert and Lara. Please know I stand amazed and humbled in the face of your family’s faith in these sad and difficult days. As someone posted earlier, your dad’s joy and passion in life is so evident in all I have read about him on this blog. I know his same joy and passion is surely imbedded in Whitney’s siblings, just as it is so much a part of the unique and special person she is. There is no better tribute to a life well lived than in the precious and grandchildren left behind. Your strength and grace at this time has been a tremendous reminder to me of the value of family and the power of God’s love. I send you love from a stranger to all but one of you, and prayers of thanksgiving for the life of this incredible man and the awesome family he and his amazing wife have raised.

  33. Patrice Johnson

    To the Presley Family,

    We know that with God all things are possible…Mr. Presley is truly a great person. Our continuous prayers will be with you all as you go through this time. Continue to refer to Phillipians 4:6-7

    The Johnson Family
    Mesquite TX

  34. Lenora Naylor

    Dear Presley family – How our hearts ache for all of you. I have only known of your Dad through the words of Anne, but he is one remarkable man. Anne has always been our rock at MHS and now I know where she gets part of her indomitable spirit. Our prayers are with you all.

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
    Jeremiah 29

    We continue to pray for you all.

    Love, Lenora and Dennis Naylor

  35. When I think upon my growing-up years in McKinney, I cannot think upon them without a Presley frequently intersecting my path. I have had the great privilege to know each one of you at many junctures in my life. From Whitney (babysitter games of “puff-puff cocoa puff”) to Kijsa (who made me feel proud when as a 1st grader, I could spell her name!), from Kari Ann (who has the most contagious laugh), to Mark (“Racecar spelled backwards is racecar spelled backwards!”), to Stephen (a fellow Baylor-lover, peer, & friend), to Mrs. Presley (who I had as an inspirational teacher, Student Council sponsor, Sunday School teacher, and great life-supporter)…

    and to Dr. Mark… a man of great courage, great vivacity, and great faith. When I think of him, I envision a “whale” that is spouting a bubbling fountain of joy… and you, his beloved family, dancing atop the waters. Dr. Mark uses all that’s within himself to push you towards the heavens. What a purpose, what a life!

    I thank God for Dr. Mark, and I thank God for your family. May God make Himself vivid to you in these days, so that you may feel His peace, know His comfort, and experience His joy.

    My heart reaches up to heaven with yours,
    Bethany Anderson

  36. Dearest Little dad,

    I hope you won’t mind me using that name to address you since I have never actually met you…but I must say that I have been pesonally touched by your legacy, first through your wonderful daughters and their joyous and creative approach to life, and now through your incredible son, who’s character and humility shine forth in every word he types. I know you are proud of them and of your entire family. Thank you for the legacy of love that you have left this family of yours. Somehow, in God’s timing and in His economy, words typed in otherwise obscure corners of cyberspace made their way to thouands of people and conveyed to us a powerful glimpse of a good man. And may I say sir, we needed, I needed, this glimpse – we needed to hear the testimony of your family about the kind of life you led and the example you set – we see or hear about far too few of such examples today.

    I wish I had known you here in the Shadowlands, but I look forward with great enthusiasm to knowing you when we all come Home. Meanwhile, we will continue to pray for your family and be here for them in the challenging days ahead. Since the Lord you love and serve lives on in them, I know that they will be alright…they will have peace…and yes, they will have joy.

    “The righteous man walks in integrity; his children are blessed after him.” (Proverbs 20:7)

    We are indeed blessed little dad…thank you.

    With respect and much love,
    Becky Schultea

  37. C. Taylor

    Son of Whale,

    thank you for allowing us to walk a portion of this journey with you and your family. It is truly a sobering and thought-provoking “place” to be.
    We are praying for your mom and other family members.
    For days now, I have found such peace in my prayers for you. And in response I have clearly heard one Word, …”Be still and KNOW that I AM God.”

    At His Feet,
    (Eastfield Colleague)

  38. Candace Quenzel

    From Sagamore, we are praying for Mark and Anne and all you kids and the wonderful grandchildren. We are hopeful there will be a miracle and wouldn’t it be appropriate! Your faith is amazing and so is your dad!

    All our love, Mark, Candace and Jared

  39. Steven N. Fisher

    Mark… the “pyramid” will Not fall.

    In Mathew 7:24 it is written ”Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock”.

    Mark Whitehead Presley was a wise man in many respects, but mostly so by letting his life’s actions be guided by the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Mark’s ‘pyramid’ is build on a foundation that is indestructible. As your children now have children and they will have children, your pyramid will only gain in strength because Mark’s children are true believers and practitioners of the Word.

    We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

    Mark you were loved and respected by the thousands that met and knew your heart. I was privileged to know you as “brother” -in-law.

    My Family…… remain strong in your faith.
    My prayers are with you. My prayers are for you. May our Lord keep you and sustain you in your time of need. May our Lord’s face shine upon you and give you peace. In His faith Mark will never die.

    With all my love,
    Uncle Steven

  40. Mikelle

    Mark and family,

    I have been so touched by your blog these last few days. It seems like we have been in the moments with you feeling part of what your feeling. Our prayers have been for healing, peace for the family and for God to be glorified through your dad’s situation. I am saddened to hear that these last test results are negative.

    What I remember about Dr. Mark is that he always stood ready to help me as the director of Youth 3 if I needed a sub at a moments notice. He would come by and check with me when he was there. I always enjoyed it when it was his turn to do the master teaching. He would engage the students and adults in the room.

    You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

    With love,
    Mikelle Amadon

  41. Dear Anne

    Our thoughts are with you as are our prayers. May the Lord’s arms of comfort be with you and your family as you find your way through these pages of your life. I only met your husband once. However, knowing you all of these years at MHS, I know he must have been a man of knowledge, deep compassion, inner strength and quick wit – just like you.
    Take care and know my family will not view the ocean without thinking of you.

    Marie, Ken, Allison and Spencer Kunz

  42. Jennifer Baggett

    I have read every entry you have written this week with great sadness for the pain you are all going through, as well as my own personal sadness to think of losing a great mentor/colleague. I have only known Mark for about a year, beginning with an interview late in the spring of last year for a faculty position that I didn’t get. He was in my second interview, and he made me feel at home from the very first introduction. When I started work at Eastfield last fall in a different position, he greeted me warmly and with one of his famous sit-down speeches. In each of these talks over the course of the last year, while always brutally honest, he also somehow managed to make me feel extremely valuable and worthwhile in life as well as here at Eastfield. Reading in your blog, as well as everyone’s comments, I am sadder still that I didn’t get to know him longer so that I could have seen even more of the great man I already knew him to be. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family in this difficult time. Thank you for sharing his life with us in the time that he had, and for sharing his last days with us through this blog.

  43. Rob & Angie Bowsher

    Mark and family,
    Our hearts, hugs and prayers go out to you today. Rob and I have been in the same place twice during our marriage, and only God can comfort you and give you the peace that passes “ALL” understanding. I pray that He gives you that today. I know that you trust Him, even now at a time when it’s hard to understand His plan. But know that His plan is bigger than ours, and He does work all things for His good. I prayerfully hope that your family gets that miracle that I know you hold deep down in your hearts. We all long for just one more day if we are truthful. I know though from just watching, observing and listening to your heart through this journal, that your father was a Godly man, who has definitely left a legacy. I know that he is proud of the man that you have become, and I can see that He loved God greatly, by looking into the eyes of his children and grandchildren. Only a Godly man can leave that kind of legacy. We love you guys and are praying for you.
    God bless,
    Rob and Angie Bowsher

  44. Presley Family,

    I have only known your Dad for the past 5 weeks at our Sunday Morning Bible Study. Selfishly, I wish I had known him much better. You could tell just meeting him the first time he had a gentle spirit and his love and optimism are infectious. He is also a great teacher and I was looking forward to becoming good friends with him. I know I will be striving to be more like him and ultimately more like Christ. What a legacy he leaves.

    Be Strong Be Brave – He is Risen
    Pat Hickey

  45. Araceli Rodriguez

    I am one of many students of Dr. Mark, he told me on this last field trip about the Pyramid, we just wanted to know the secret to a happy family. He gave us a story to remember. He and his family will always be in our thought and prayers. Love, Araceli

  46. Barbara Schneider

    The lines of a familiar song come to mind as tears roll down my face, “When we all see Jesus…what a day of rejoicing that will be.”

    My heart does rejoice that sweet Little Dad will see Jesus, and I know he will. Jesus is there with his arms open wide ready and wating for this sweet sweet man we all treasured so very much. But I must admit my heart is also heavy because like you we just weren’t ready to have it be so soon. I guess we are never ready. This side of heaven just doesn’t give us the capacity to be “really” be ready I guess. One thing I do know and have witnessed through all of this is that with the Lord’s incredible Spirit we are able to persevere and push on.

    I will second what Joanne Eaton said, local hospitals could not have contained all who would have wanted to be by your side. We are here waiting for you to return. Our arms will be open wide too to love you in the days, weeks and months ahead.

    Oh how we love sweet little dad! I can still hear his distict voice in my spirit. I always loved to sit down and talk with him and learn from him. The kind words of encouragement and love he extended to our family will be with us forever. I especially liked it when he looked at me over the glasses that were down half way on his nose when he inquired how were were doing or how the kids were. He always had a way of communicating sincere interest and kindness when you would talk to him; as if all other things went out the window for that moment in time. I must tell you this now for the world to hear…….Dr. Presley is and will always be the best Christmas Caroler in the land. This is a treasured memory we will reflect on for many yultides to come. May that tradition live on through the Presley clan for years to come. Oh how we will miss him so.

    Stille Nacht-Heilige Nacht mein freund! Du wirst so vermisst sein. Wir fruen uns uber dein Leben, deiner Freundshaft und deiner Leibe fur den Herren! Danke fur alle die Errinerungen. Du bist ein toller Kerl! So viele Leute lieben dich und fur uns warst Du vie ein Vater. Mein Hertz is schwer aber ich weiss vo du bist…….Du singst mit den Englen uber alles unser Herr getan hast. Bis wir uns wieder sehen…tusch!

    Viele Liebe fur Dich und die ganze Familie,

    Barbara Schneider

  47. Don Hellstern

    Presley Family,

    The words of Mark Jr. written here, so clearly defining the tender and hopeful moments of such a loving and giving family, are a testament that the Presley Pyramid will stand strong for generations to come.

    God bless you all,

    Don Hellstern

  48. Kim Vitz

    I can just see Dr. Mark in heaven doing a cute little skit for Jesus! Or perhaps he is strumming his guitar and singing praises to Him. Whereas it is heartbreaking for you all, what a glorious day for Dr. Mark. Yea for you Dr. Mark, you have served Him well and accomplished more here than many people would even think about.
    I continue to pray for all of you. May you find comfort in each other and peace through our Lord and Savior. I love you all.

    Kim Vitz

  49. Tracy Rath

    Thank you for sharing your heart with the blog… When I got the news yesterday about Dr. Mark a deep sadness overcame me. I can visualize your dad with that infectious smile of his. When I called Taryn in Kalamazoo to tell her, she immediately replied “remember when he tried to teach us German?”…gosh…imagine his patience taking on that task…Lots of mission trips, camps, share groups…the lives he touched through his LOVE FOR CHRIST…I will continue to pray fervently for your family and especially your Mom.

  50. Jessica

    Mark Jr and to the wonderful family I got to know…
    I guess I just felt compelled to let you all know that I was thinking of you and praying for all of you.
    It is with great pleasure that I got to care for the Mark you all know. I wish only that I could have known him as you all do, but somehow even in his current state, he has touched my heart. I feel hardly as eloquent as the so many that have published to your blog, but really just wanted to tell you all that I admire you as a family. You have all showed such grace, courage and everlasting love this week, and I am honored to have been a part of it. My daughter Eva and I said a special prayer for Mark and all of you on her way to bed tonight.
    I have no doubt that you will all follow your fathers footsteps into greatness.

  51. Jay Justice

    Whitney and Mark Jr.
    Several weeks ago your dad and I, two old friends, went camping; first roughing it on Witney’s floor and then tenting at Enchanted Rock. Late one night we climbed to the top of the mountain and lay there looking up at God’s great creation. We could feel the mountain tremble beneath us. The climb down in the dead of night was scary and we lost our way. I told you dad the next morning that God surely showed us his glory on that enchanted rock and guided two old fools safely down the mountain. He did not let our feet slip. How great to know that He watched over us that night and how much greater to know that He will forever watch over the mighty whale and all his family and friends.
    I wish to say again the words you so often said to me “I love you man”. Those words were always followed by a giant bear hug which never failed to take away the pain. Thankyou friend Mark. I do love you dear friend and I shall miss you. To Mark Jr I say the pyramid shall not fall. Your father build his house on a strong foundation and you are clear evidence of the strength of his work. Christ be with you and your family.
    Jay Justice

  52. Justin Kouba


    You, Stephen, and the girls are his and Anne’s biggest legacy. He should enter into Heaven proud of the people that you all have become. His faith is evident and apparent and is being rewarded richly. Thank you personally Mark for allowing yourself to be transparent with your thoughts in this difficult time. I only hope to find strength like this when difficulty comes my way. May God be glorified..

    Praying for you all,
    Justin Kouba

  53. Eric Kuykendall

    Dear Presley Family,

    We are thinking about and praying for you all. We can only echo what so many have said about Dr. Mark and about your entire family. We are grateful for the blessing that Dr. Mark has been to you, his family, and to so many others. During this time, your testimony has shown that God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-28)

    With great love,
    Eric and Courtney

  54. karen and mike andries

    We live next to you, Mark and Melissa, Champe and Eli: We never realized the beauty of your family nor strong spiritual committment that the family offers others. We are blessed and so deeply saddened to hear of the situation regarding this most wonderful and beloved man. Our loss is that we did not know this beautiful man who was truly a servant of God but we will now more appreciate his legacy- that of being Mark Jr. who we saw, being a carpenter, as Jesus was, making the beautiful baby bed for baby Eli….Dr. Mark must surely be smiling at his loved-ones he has so well nurtured and trained to be continual servants of God.

  55. Dearest friends (more like family!),

    As Janice and I connected Ireland and McKinney this afternoon, our conversation centered on you guys and on Mark. We are so sure that these next hours and days will be complicated in a thousand ways. So we send love and prayers to and for each of you, to Mark, to your “Northern” family and to the myriad of friends who grieve with you.

    We would like to thank you, Mark, for always being “one for sure” for many mission trips. Always available. Always helpful. Always . . . well, always. Our most special reminder of Mark’s “alwaysness” was on one of the trips to Kenya.

    We needed one or two more people and Mark said he would go, but that there was no money. He told us to give the money as it was raised to others who had been preparing longer. But, . . . he acted like he was going. He got off work, arranged for feeding his inevitable dog, packed his bags, and showed up at the church where everyone would get on the bus and go to DFW. But still the money for him was not there. He said, “No problem. I’ll ride the bus to the airport and see if God is leaving my money there. If not, I can ride the bus back to McKinney.”

    Always available. Always ready. Always trusting.

    The rest of that story is that someone sacrificially gave the money at the church before we boarded the bus. A real miracle story that we have shared hundreds of times. Oh, for Mark, it was less of a miracle and more of a child who expects his daddy to be there for him. “I thought God would take care of it,” he said matter-of-factly. He probably went on 20 mission trips, maybe 30. I don’t know for sure; he probably didn’t know either. For him, it was an “always” kind of thing.

    It appears the “always man” will not always be around to step up when someone needs to serve on future mission adventures. He was planning to lead the First Baptist Church team to Latvia.

    Here is my question. Who among family and friends will step up, takes Marks position and be there for the global gospel? Always. Maybe an army will sprout where once there was always only one.

  56. I am an adjunct faculty at Eastfield and an Immigrant from Cameroon. Dean Presley gave me the very first chance to teach in this Country. He inspires me so greatly as he constantly let me know what the students think and say about me.
    Since I learnt of his illness, each time I think, I remember my last conversation with him, a very personal one, on Thursday July 8, 2008; I remember when he closed the door of his office and opened his heart to me. And what consoles me at this moment and should be a great source of consolation and courage to you family members and friends of ‘Dean Presley’ is his very last phrase in that conversation; Here are those words: “… Harrison, are you a Christian?” And my response was “…Yes!…”
    We all are on a mission here on earth and our Good Lord alone knows exactly what that mission is and what the time line is… He is in control and may HIS precious WILL be done on my ‘Dean Presley’..Adieus!!!

  57. Jeff Schopmeyer

    Mark and Family

    You are all in our prayers, take care and God Bless.

  58. Jay & Allison Anderson

    I cannot help but hear this song in my mind as I read your posts:

    “Every blessing you pour out I turn back to praise.
    When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say,
    Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

  59. Rob DeRossett & family

    Presley family,

    We have been following this ordeal and praying and grieving with you every step of the way. We love you all.

    I have such fond memories of Dr. Mark reading his poems with such passion, delivering a Sunday school lesson with amazing knowledge, using his dramatic skills in skits, and singing Christmas Carols while strumming the tunes and walking through his neighborhood. He has shared his God-given gift of communicating God’s love with everyone he has come in contact with and has left his family with that gift and legacy. I have always enjoyed soaking up Dr. Mark’s knowledge and wisdom. He is truly a man after God’s own heart.

    Our love and hugs to all of you. Still praying for a miracle.

    Rob, Gina, Cory, Kyle, and Caitlin DeRossett

  60. Amy

    When you sent your e-mail on Sunday afternoon with the beautiful pictures of Eli, I noticed your blog address under your name and I checked it out. What wonderful stories of your dad. I was so glad to read those loving and quirky stories about him and thought about the next time I would see him in church. I am saddened that I may not be able to do that. I am still praying for a miracle.

    What an inspiration your dad is even at this moment as his body lays in a hospital bed! I don’t know of many people who could do so much while in a coma.

    You asked: “what would the world do with 3 Mark Presleys walking around?” Because the first was such a wonderful mentor, teacher, example, father – still so much lives on in the next two Mark Presleys. I have no doubt that you will continue what your father has begun and oh so much more. What an incredible family. So many of us could only HOPE to make a teensy bit of the eternal impact your family has, as shown this past week through your blog.

    God is using your family (ALL of them) in a mighty way.

  61. grant byrd

    Presley Family-
    Thank you for opening up your family to ours. Jill and I have felt welcomed by Dr. Mark from day one. He was such an encouragement to me. He made me laugh just by looking at him. He would get that grin on his face and say, “what? Leave me alone, grant!”
    Nobody, and i mean Nobody can strum a guitar like him!
    I was impacted by his life and as I sit in an airport in Argentina, making people wonder what is wrong with me because I can’t quit crying.
    I hurt for your loss. No, for all of our loss.
    He was a great man that will have many, many people thanking him as he gets to heaven for leading them to Jesus.
    Thank you for sharing your husband and father with us. May God give you comfort as you travel this road.

    much love,

  62. Mary Dictson and Kathy Arno

    Anne and Family,
    We only learned yesterday of Mark’s stroke. While we know that Mark is in the hands of God now as he always has been, our spirits are deeply saddened for him and you in this time of great trial. Mark is a wonderful man of enormous joy and kindness. How blessed you are to have him in your lives. And how blessed he is to know your love and devotion to him.

    As we send this email, Kathy is visiting Mary in Oregon. Our prayers for peace, wisdom, and comfort will be often and mighty for you all.

  63. Reva

    The faith and courage of your family is an awesome testament to your dad. I had the privilege of working with Mark at Eastfield. One of my fondest memories is that of sharing time with Mark and his mother during a prayer luncheon with several Eastfield colleagues. Mark lived and loved with an inspiring confidence in his eternal salvation. This lyric came to my mind as I prayed for your family…

    “Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided, Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me!”

  64. Meghan Hendrickson

    As I was talking about you all and Dr. Mark today with my parents over the phone, I couldn’t help but express how hard I think it is in times like these to “trust God and His plan and will and perfect timing.” I told them that this whole thing seemed so surreal maybe because I’m not there, but I’m reading these blog posts daily, but it just doesn’t seem possible. My mom said that sometimes we don’t see the plan until later. That is not the case in this situation. We have seen Dr. Mark’s impact on the WORLD and I know I do not just speak for myself when I say that this whole week has strengthened my relationship with Christ immeasurably, and that it has served as an incredible wake-up call and conviction to go out and share with the world what God has shared with us. That we don’t have to wait for a church event or go to another country to share God’s grace, people are looking all around us, and it’s our job to tell them about the One they’re looking for. My mom was saying that in troubled times people look at those who are troubled. I had told her how I am in complete awe of how your family has fervently trusted God through this entire journey. I told her about how you were hoping that the doctors and nurses of the hospital in Boston could see God through you and your family in this difficult time. Oh how that shows the family your dad has built up, not on his own, but with complete dependence on Christ each and every moment. My mom said that when my dad was sick with leukemia (I was only two at the time), people were watching her as she got through that time, she didn’t understand why, she couldn’t believe the things people were saying about her and what they would tell her. She thought, “why are they watching me?” But lives were changed just by watching. Just as thousands of lives have been changed just by watching you all. You all have been living exactly as a child of God should, and beyond. Your testimony through this has steered us all straight to our savior. Thank you for that.

    As I was talking to my Dad I began to reminisce upon the first time I met Dr. Mark four years ago. I was at that silly freshman stage, I had spent the first semester trying to figure out “who I was” and all that nonsense, and fresh in realizing it wasn’t about who I was but whose I was. Step by step I was growing closer to God and His desires for me. In came Dr. Mark. To be really honest, he intimidated me. He was a little man, but he intimidated the crud out of me. There was just something about him, I just knew he was a smart guy that could put me in my place in an instant. But then I met him, and loved him as we all do. We were preparing to go on AWOL Puerto Rico and I was blessed to have your parents as my leaders. I cannot say that enough, how incredibly BLESSED I was to spend that time with them. I loved spending that wonderful week and the always exciting next four years with them. Every time I spoke with them they would offer me a word of encouragement along with a challenge. Oh how grateful I am for that. Dr. Mark is a character-building man, simple responses do not suffice, he wants you to dig deep and challenge yourself- something Mrs. Presley did with me this whole year. I love that. I wish more people would see the importance of that. I feel as though I would not be who I am today without your parents in my life. Each of them have played a role in molding me into a follower of God. Blessed and Grateful. Those are the two words that come to mind when I think of Dr. Mark and Mrs. Presley. I also enjoyed being able to see the love that the two of them share over the years. It’s a love that cannot be found outside of the Lord. When we would comment in class on how pretty Mrs. Presley’s flowers were, no one could miss how her whole face lit up with joy when she would proudly say that “they’re from Dr. Mark.” Joy. That’s another word I think of. There was not a moment that I did not see joy in Dr. Mark and Mrs. Presley. Their happiness is not temporary, their joy is eternal and not based on circumstance, something I’ve seen once again this week.

    Thank you Dr. Mark, for finding it worthwhile to take those crucial moments to invest in me. They did not go without notice. I am so grateful for the time I’ve spent with you. God has blessed me these past four years. Thank you, I don’t know if you can hear it enough, but thank you. You have taught me lessons no one else could, even in our final senior BFG. You have run the race with perserverance, humility, compassion, and love. I desire to seek after God whole-heartedly as you do. I love you Dr. Mark and I can’t wait to see you soon!

    -Meghan Hendrickson

  65. Trish

    Anne and family,
    We will mourn and yet still rejoice with you knowing that “he who believes has everlasting life”. John 6:47
    Trish and Bill Rissman
    Dr. Mark,
    “And with your final heartbeat kiss the world goodbye;
    Then go in peace and laugh on glory’s side.
    Fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus….and live!”
    (by Fernando Ortega)

  66. I have checked in several times today. I know that I only know you through Kari and Kijsa’s blog, but I well know the love in a family.

    Kari and Kijsa show their love of their family and their faith in everything they share. It is so easy to see their love for God and their family.

    I believe that our purpose for being here is to make the world a better place – to make the life of others better. When we use that as a measure of success, your father clearly measures well.

    Your words demonstrate that his legacy truly is his family. He gave you everything he had to make your lives better. And in turn, you each are doing the same.

    I also believe that we share the spirits of those we love, and that your father lives in each of you. He has lived a wise and successful life. He won the race, and he has made you each winners. Your father’s legacy will live forever.

    His miracle has occurred.

  67. Keith Thompson

    Thoughts on Dr. Mark.
    Great faith, great love, great wisdom, great man and great legacy.

    Our prayers, as always are for God’s will to be done, but our hope is that He will use this time to display His power, even at this time, to heal.

    As we reflect on God’s apparent call to Dr. Mark to enjoy eternal rest, peace and joy with Him, we rejoice for him. We mourn for ourselves and our oollective loss and for the loss to those who have not yet been touched by him, but who might have been. Still, in very real ways they will be becasue of the legacy he’s left behind and the seeds he has already sown, watered and helped harvest.

  68. Harry and Laura Beverly

    The Presley Family:

    We continue in constant prayer for your family and for Dr. Mark. It has been my privelage to work alongside Dr. Mark these last several years as one of our Bible Fellowship Group teachers. I was excited that we were able to steal him away from teaching in the youth department because there is no other person who cares more and is always prepared to present the word of God every Sunday. Dr, Mark had such a humble way of coming to me to ask about purchasing Bible study materials for his class. He was always willing to pay for them himself if need be, but he never realized how eager we were to get whatever he needed because he believed in what he was doing and wanted to teach to the needs of the class. Knowing Dr. Mark just made me and others smile. His optimistic and trusting personality draws people to him. In whatever situation he is in, he is willing to serve as I saw so clearly while we served on mission in Latvia together. Dr. Mark and the Presley family have had such a direct impact on the lives of our family and we are so grateful that we have gotten to know you here in McKinney. Our hearts hurt with you, but we trust in our Saviour who has a great plan unknown to us all at this moment. Please know that you and your families are all in our prayers.

    With much love,
    Harry & Laura Beverly

  69. Kelly Winters

    Dearest Presley Family,
    As I sit and ponder on what a great, caring, and compassionate man Uncle Mark was I thought it would be fitting to share my last memory of him. A few weeks ago while visiting Saggy Beach Talia, Pete and I went out for a morning walk. As we walked by the house Uncle Mark was at work in the garage, and invited us to go up and swim with some of the Presley grandchildren. Talia was halfway up the walk before I could say anything. While Talia enjoyed herself immensely after about 30 min. of behaving in her sassy way I told her it was time to go home. As I walked to the car Uncle Mark stopped what he was doing to visit with us. He sat in the grass with Talia and told her how beautiful she was, and what a great little girl she was. He then told her to take great care of her new baby brother. He then stood up and gave me a wink as we got into the car. Uncle Mark not only touched my life, but my children’s as well. He will be in my heart always. My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you.
    Love, Kelly & Joe

  70. thequeenofre

    I am here from Kari and Kijsa’s blog. I don’t know you or your father but my heart still aches for your family.

    Your faith and love for your creator, Jesus Christ shines through. I will be in prayer for all.

  71. Courtney Willis

    Well, Dr. Mark, how fulfilled you must have felt the day your body waged war with you. You have a family who loves you deeply, a family who knows how much you love them, a legacy left behind by people who knew you well and those who didn’t know you at all. My knowledge of you was one of wonder…such an intelligent, yet humble man. Just how did you do it? You knew so much and somehow managed to balance appreciation with a look in your eye like every day was new. There were several occasions where I passed you and just thought for the longest time about how neat it would be to hear your thoughts. And then there is that thing that REALLY matters…your faith. I have no doubt that you will be there to welcome your wife, every one of your children and grandchildren to heaven when they arrive one day. And that is what I know they will think of because you helped them to know that is what is true. I will be praying for your family – that they will seek and find comfort in God and feel His arms wrapped around them.

  72. michaelfamily

    My favorite time with Dr Mark was on a mission trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. He shook up the good dogmatic Scots with his talk of a Christian view of an Old Earth. He did it all with a love for the Lord, and love for Geology and a love for people.

    My first experience with Dr Mark was when he helped a clueless 21 year old (ok, it was me) scramble to finish his degree. He only knew me as an employee of a friend, but took his time to help me finish a class at Eastfield.

    In remembering, I did a google search on Dr Mark and found this site where his students discussed him. He was loved by everyone. (

  73. Amber

    Presley Family-
    I’ll never forget my first meeting with Dr. Mark: it was a few years ago and we were walking to our cars one Wed. night after church. While en route we must have unlocked our doors simultaneously because I watched him go before me and get into my car instead of his (we both have little Hondas). 🙂 It was classic, really. As I got closer, I watched him- half in the car, half out- looking around like someone must have been playing a lame joke on him. Then he gave a gruff laugh and said, “well, this isn’t my car, is it?!” [lol] After that, I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw him.
    I’ve realized in these past few days just how much he has made MANY people smile over the years. Speechless and puffy-eyed as I may be because I can’t imagine him not being here, my heart still smiles.
    No matter what role he took on- husband, father, grandfather, professor, friend, youth worker, missionary, advisor- he did it with all of his heart. The great thing is…he left a piece of himself with each life he’s touched along the way. I thank God for Dr. Mark.
    Thank you, Mark P, for so graciously sharing your heart and your dad with all of us during this tearful time. May we all share with you and the whole Presley family, the road ahead as difficult decisions and adjustments are made. Our hearts cry out for you.
    Dr. Mark-you are SO LOVED. Thank you for giving your life away…throughout your life. “Good and faithful”…so good and faithful.


  74. Don Mathus

    Mark was special from the very beginning. I was fortunate to have been on the search committee for the new division chairman for the Science Division at Eastfield College. There were many highly qualified & distinguished PhDs with impressive credentials, but there was something special about this man that set him apart & the committee agreed. Mark Presley became the division chair of the Science Division at Eastfield College.
    Later the title & duties changed to the Dean of Science, Math, Physical Education, & Athletic Director. What a challenge!! It was like a juggler on a tightrope trying to balance all the daily tasks & put out brush fires, but Mark the “bulldog” responded with typical “Markisms.” He huffed & puffed ’till the last task was finished.
    Mark was our mentor. He provided advice when it was asked for, direction when it was needed, & sometimes, fatherly advice that was freely shared.
    I have a special memory of Mark & his Mom. Eastfield girls soccer team had finished the season in a tie with Cedar Valley that required a one-game playoff. Mark, the athletic director, wanted to attend the important game held at the Richland campus on a cold, windy night in October. He could not arrange care for his Mom, so he just brought her along. This was quite a sight to behold–Mark & his Mom under a blanket, cuddled up like lovers, with Mark kidding, teasing, & being playful so she would forget how cold it was. This strategy seemed to work because she was laughing & having a great time. When I left that night, I knew I had seen love in its purest form, love of family.
    We are joining with you in constant prayer for Mark & all of your family.
    Don Mathus

  75. carla fisher

    Dear Presley’s our hearts go out to you tonight. It is very hard to lose someone at such an early age, and it is so hard to understand. Ronnie & I both lost our dads before we felt it was their time to go & our daughter-in-law went to be with our Father earlier this year leaving 2 small children. But we do know He is in control and He has a perfect plan for those left behind. We will continue to left your family to our Lord asking Him to shower you with strengh, comfort & peace. The next days & weeks will be difficult but He will be with you every step of the way & will provide you with everyone & everything you will need. Ronnie & Carla

  76. Randy & Vicki Hedrick

    With a heavy heart & looking through teary eyes, we are praying for you even as I write this. We’re praying for Anne, the children, grandchildren & friends that God will give you peace & comfort. You have the support and prayers from people all over the world. God bless you and keep you in the palm of His hand as you mourn the loss of a husband, father, grandpa & friend. Heaven is gaining a gem.

  77. Faith & Kyle Crist

    Our hearts and prayers go out to you during this hard time! Your family has touched our lives for many years and I want to thank you for that.

  78. Jason Byrd

    As I think back through my [ever-shrinking] memory box, one of my fonder memories of Dr. Mark was the annual Christmas party at the Presley estate. He would take us all out in the dark, in the cold, house to house, singing Christmas carols to his neighbors. If he couldn’t get everyone in complete unison, he would just go ahead and belt-out the next verse of God Rest Ye Merry Gentelmen solo. Of course Kijsa and I would hang out in the back not quite fully engaged. You know… I haven’t seen any good Christmas Carolers in a while! To all of the Presley crew, we are so sorry for this untimely loss. He will be missed by so many.

  79. I’m stopping back in tonight from your sisters blog…how lucky you all are to be raised by such a wonderful and caring man. What a legacy he has! Holding you in my thoughts and prayers…and know so many people are doing the same. Your written words and tributes to your Father are awe inspiring!

  80. Joanne Eaton

    Precious Dr. Mark

    In thinking of what I would like to say to you, I must begin with “I love you”. You will never know just how much of an impact you have made on my life. You were there in the most difficult time – a voice of reason and wisdom and love. Kevin and I have been so blessed to know you. I have been thinking about your Sunday School lessons, the caroling and games at Christmas, your precious grin, and the hugs-I love the hugs. You are a rare man – loving, inspiring, faithful, caring… I could go on forever. Until we meet again, Dr. Mark – I love you.

  81. As a regular reader of your sisters’ blog, and now having read your words over the past week, I have discerned the sweet spirit that is in y’all. It is a true testament to the man you have called father. Please know that your family is loved and being thought of often. God’s blessings abound.

  82. Mack Neff

    15 years ago I sat in the hospital with my mother and siblings – all of them looking at me as we made the decision to remove life support from my dad. We wanted to keep him – but it was for our own benefit, not his.

    He had spoken so often of the anticipation of standing with his Lord. He remarked frequently as he described some new pain about looking forward to the new body he would some day enjoy.

    Then, I remembered the verse, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord…” How unfair for us to hold him back. So then, with heavy hearts, but Godly joy, we gave permission and let him go.

    I miss him, but I rejoice in his quiet confidence and readiness to join his Father. Someday, I will get to join him there, too.

    What a privilege to have had a dad that points us to Jesus.

  83. Tara Taylor Simpson

    As I have read all of the replies on this blog I am reminded of how lucky I was to grow up with the entire Presley family in my life. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Dr. Mark always found time for me. Even when I would wonder through McKinney over the years, Dr. Mark would be waiting with a hug and he always sincerely wanted to know what was going on in my life. It is hard to believe that one man could have a heart big enough to share with so many people. I consider Dr. Mark to be one of the most sincere people that I have known, and I will always cherish the wisdom he graciously shared with me over the years. What a full and wonderful life he continues to live!

    Presleys, You are all who you are today because of your father/husband. What a wonderful gift you will continue to carry with you. Please know that you are all constantly on my mind and in my heart.

    May peace that passes all understanding be with you. tara

  84. May the Lord bless and keep you. May the days ahead be of celebration and remembering. My your thoughts turn from grief to moments of joy…thanking the Lord for the earthly father he has blessed you with…Be strong dear ones.

  85. Gwen Crye

    I, too, found your blog through Kari and Kijsa’s blog. May God bless you and give you peace as you all continue to find your way through this heavy storm.

    Your father’s legacy will continue to live on in the faith he has instilled in each of you. I am in awe at the faith you express during this trying time.

    Your father’s greatest testimony is your faith in Jesus Christ and your willingness to share that faith.

    Your family is in my prayers. Thanks for sharing your pain and your family’s faith in Jesus Christ. May He bring you a spirit of peace and comfort.

  86. Heather Goalen Smith

    Dear Presley Family,

    I wanted to write a little note to let you all know that all of you are in my prayers. Amazing what an impact this great man has made on all lives he has touched. It’s been over ten years since I’ve been home to McKinney, and after a visit to facebook the other day, I read a post from Tony Blossom and followed the link to this site. I have checked the site several times throughout the past few days. It has been such a blessing and gift to be able to share in your experience and stories of your father throughout the years. I have known you all for fifteen years or so and I can truly say that each of you are amazing people. Dr. Presley was always so kind to me and I never saw him without a smile on his face, a positive word to say, an incredible ability to have God shine through him to others….truly a man of God.

    May God bless each of you, and thank you Mark for allowing a few of us a look into this very intimate time of your lives.

    Heather Goalen Smith

  87. Maria Arocha

    What wonderful testimony of love and respect for the man who touched so many lives and souls. Thank you for allowing us access to your family as you go through this painful process. Please know that all of us are with you in faith and spirit.

    I have known Mark since he came to Eastfield and, through the years, he never failed to bring a smile to my face. As you read these comments to him, please tell him that I will forever hold dear the memories of his singing the “Maria, I just met a girl named Maria…” line from West Side Story each and every time he sped-walked past me on campus! The singing was usually followed by the “Como esta usted?” question. Of course, by the time I reponded “Muy bien, gracias” he was already in the next building over. I feel fortunate to have known him.

  88. My own father died when I was 11 years old. When I read Kari and Kijsa’s blog about your father, I was quite envious because they had such a loving, supportive, and demonstrative man as their own father. As I read his many words of wisdom on their blog I learned much about life and love from a man who was a stranger to me. I am grateful to your sisters for sharing their wonderful Dad with all of us. I was amazed that a man would speak/write so tenderly to his daughters and I knew I was reading the words of a very special human being. What a difficult time this is for you and your family. I pray that God will give you and your family the strength to accept what lies ahead.

  89. Koshy

    A pyramid built on a foundation of faith shall not fail. My prayers are with ALL of you.

  90. Jean Ann Collins

    Reading these entries over the last several days, I can’t help but think what a great legacy Mark Sr. started. I would like for him to hear a Bible verse that really spells out what his life on earth has meant, “…Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:23

  91. Tommy and Trisha Stanley

    Dear Presley Family,
    The last time I saw Dr. Mark was Sunday before last. He stopped Tommy and me in the hallway at church. He gave us both a big hug, grinning ear to ear, and asked us how we were doing. Then he noticed that I was using a crutch to walk because of the knee surgery I had a couple of months ago. He slid his glasses down towards the end of his nose, tilted his head down, and looked at me from above the lenses and said, “And what do we have here?” After talking for a minute about the saga of my knee, in good Presley humor, he reached up and hugged Tommy’s neck and said, “Well, bless your heart!” He laughed, we laughed. Dr. Mark was always full of humor. He loved to laugh.

    I remember several years ago when we were forming a new Sunday School class Kari, Joanne Eaton, myself, and some others were trying to find a teacher. Kari suggested Dr. Mark. She talked with him and he agreed to teach our class. At that time we had no idea the impact he would have on our lives. He was a wonderful teacher and biblical scholar. He loved to ask those thought provoking questions…especially the ones that would spark a good discussion or debate. Each week our Bible study time would end with a poem of the week. Some were written by well know poets but the most moving and beautiful poems were written by Kram Yelserp, aka Dr. Mark.

    And then there are the Christmas parties…Sarah’s favorite thing every Christmas season is the Presley Christmas party. She starts asking about it at Thanksgiving. “When do we get to go caroling with Dr. Mark?” What special memories those are. All of us bundled up in coats and gloves walking up and down the streets around the Presley house – Dr. Mark leading the way! Dr. Mark and Denny played their guitars, and many times you could hear Dr. Mark singing louder than anyone else. He truly brought joy to all of those around him.

    Dr. Mark, your smile was contagious; your faith was strong; your heart was big; your hugs were simply the best; your wisdom was profound; your love was far-reaching; your life was an example; and your witness was far greater than you realized. The legacy you have left on this earth is infinite. We are greatful to have known you. You will be missed on this earth, but you will never be completely gone. A little part of you will live on in all of us that have been blessed to know you. We know that we will meet again one day. We love you Dr. Mark.

    We will continue to pray for you all…for a peace that passes all understanding, and yes, that if it be God’s will, a miracle would happen within Dr. Mark body.

    Praying with you,
    Tommy, Trisha, and Sarah Stanley

  92. John Haglund

    Dear Presley Family
    I worked with Mark at Eastfield College for six years during which time I got to know Mark as a kind and good man. Mark Jr. you may remember me from our geology trip to England. Steven, remember hiking to the Blue Ice Hut in Bertchesgaden. The geology trips with Mark and you boys will always be a fond remembrance.

    I am saddened by your personal trials but am also moved by the strength of faith of your family. You all are a light to the world. Please know that my deepest heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of you.

    I have been blessed by my encounter with all of you.

    John Haglund

  93. Doug and Kathy Eddy

    Dr. Mark and Presley family:

    All of you have been in our prayers and on our minds over the past few days. Dr. Mark, it is clear that you have touched many lives in many ways for the Lord. More importantly, you and Anne instilled in each of your children a love for God and saw each them become Christians. As adults, they are now raising children of their own and their families continue to impact the world for Christ. What a great legacy! Thank you for the example you have shown each of us.

    Our prayer is that each of you will feel God’s presence in a very real way today and that He will comfort you and give you strength.

    We love you,
    Doug and Kathy

  94. Like so many others, I found my way here through Kari and Kijsa’s blog. I am keeping all of you, especially your mother, Anne, in my prayers. It is so clear from reading yours and your sisters’ blog posts, as well as from reading the many comments from those who know your dad, what a very special man he is. To even know such a man would be an honor, but to have him for a dad… well, you guys clearly hit the jackpot. My thoughts go out to all of you during this most difficult time… Donna

  95. Joyce

    Thoughts from a favorite poem by Edgar A. Guest … “these are scenes which grip the heart, but when your tears are dried, you find the home is dearer than it was, and sanctified. And tuggin’ at you always are the tender memories of him who was and is no more … you can’t depart from these.”

    Sadness must always be for the living. When a ship sets sail, it is the eyes of those who watch from shore that are blinded.

    Praying that the heavenly Father your earthly father loved so much will continue to hold you all tightly in His everlasting arms.

  96. Brent Housman

    Guys, My heart is heavy and my eyes are weary. As you may or may not know, just 2 years, 3 months and 14 days ago, I sat exactly where Brad sat. To watch your spouse, her family, your kids, your nieces, nephews, and friends in pain and to feel so helpless will forever be etched in my mind. Brother, I love you too much to see you go through what I had to go through. In a way, I am glad that I am here and you are there just so that I would not have to see you hurt, but wish I could have been there every minute to support you!

    But as with Jim Allison, you ALL (ya’ll) too, have to celebrate as you mourn. In a lot of ways they were a lot alike. Not just in the fact that they were robbed of life too early, but that they got to see our Saviour before WE were ready. Not that they were or weren’t ready to go, but that we were just not ready to give them away.

    They were alike in that: they loved people, loved the outdoors: to hike, to play, to examine, explore, and observe God’s creation. I know Jim was, and have a suspicion that Mark too, was just too smart for his own good at times. They thirsted for more knowledge on a daily basis. They never would dump on you all that they knew, Lord knows there wasn’t enough time in the day. But would rather to find out what you knew. They loved people-to talk to them, to encourage, and yes to even share the useless Cliff Claven information of the world at times. Let this be a reminder to be more interested in the other person and what they are interested in, over yourself! For this, they will be missed.

    But from what I know of each of them, the most important is that both loved God, loved their wives (each their own!) and worshiped their families, and in spite of us (at times) they loved their sons and daughters, and in-laws. Their grand children were even better! Isn’t it cool to think of the example that they set for us. Love God, love your wife and family, work hard and yes even play hard while living life to the fullest.

    Thank you Jim Allison and thank you Mark Presley for making life on earth, just a little bit, better place! See you soon!

  97. Peggy Beck

    It is with great sadness that I am writing this. I was an employee of Dr.P’s for almost four years. He was the most intelligent man I think I have ever met and yet he was never above me. I insisted on calling him Dr. because I thought he deserved it he had worked for the title and I respected that. Even though he kept telling me to call him Mark finally he gave up and in retort he would call me Dr.Peggy. I finally got the message. He was a very gracious man and I will always remember him. God bless you all,and be strong.

    With Love,
    Peggy Beck

  98. Ross Schell

    I sit here at my computer struggling to find words to express how I remember Dr. Mark. I type, delete, type, and delete. Passing memories of Dr. Mark at camps, church, and mission trips run through my head, trying to find some defining moment or characteristic of Dr. Mark’s which impacted me most. It is during this collage of memories when one particular moment struck me. I was on the first mission trip I had ever been on, Dr. and Mrs. P were my group leaders, and we were all a little scared of Mrs. P. (her reputation in Mckinney High School precedes her). And Dr. Mark pulled Kyle, myself, and Bryan aside and asked us if we would start calling Mrs. Presley, Mrs. Anne instead. It kind of struck us as a little odd he would make such a random request, but we started to call her Mrs. Anne from that moment til the end of the week. Looking back on the event I am able to understand, somewhat, what his intentions were. By calling Mrs. Presley Mrs. Anne, were able to block our predispositions of how we should beware of her and instead get to know her kind and genlter side. Even prompting her to say a one point “When we get back to school, I’m not Mrs. Anne anymore, I’m Mrs. Presley.” I’m not quite sure why this memory keeps replaying in my head as opposed to others. Maybe because it shows his caring, sublty, or his ability to lead. Or, more likely, it just makes me think about what a kind man he was.

    With Love and Prayer,
    Ross Schell


  100. Mark and all Family,
    You are a wonderful pyramid! What a beautiful wonderful way to remember your Father. I have been checking in on you and your sisters and praying that this day wouldnt come. He has taught you all very well. He has shown you love, kindness, companionship, and a multitude of different beautifuls things for you to carry on in your own lives. This, is a beautiful thing. One that sometimes gets lost in the day to days..
    I am so sorry, but I wanted to say thank you for sharing this beautiful man with all of us.
    Please take care.
    coastal nest

  101. “you’re in the arms of the angel”
    – Sarah McLachlan, ‘Angel’

    My family and I wish to express our sincerest condolences on the loss of your wonderful father. Please know that you and your families will continue to be in our prayers.

    May you find comfort, peace, tranquility, and love in each other and in your marvellous dad, The Whale.

    I look forward to his memory living on here and in your sisters’ blog.


    Marvellous Mouse Designs

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