Stone by stone

Each year my family packs up their bags and heads to Cape Cod for a few weeks.  It is an incredible getaway from “normal” life and a time to be a family. The running family joke is that my dad was always working on a project.  In McKinney, he was determined to paint the house.  The problem was it took him several years to work his way all the way around the house, and when he got there it was time to start again.  When he came to the Cape it did not change. We would be on the beach or shopping at the Christmas Tree Store and my dad would be sweating away on a project back at the boat house. I have a feeling that running joke (or responsibility) just got passed to me.   The last project he was working on was a slate porch.  He was raising the level and fixing it stone by stone.  Today Stephen, Brad and I started to finish this last project of his in memory of him.  Through tears I dropped the last stone in place and turned to look at the ocean.  My dad would be proud.  There is still a little work to finish the project, but all the stones are laid and in place.  It is much like his life and passing.  As we read comments from students, friends, and family we realize there were so many building stones to this man.  He was constantly making a legacy for us to follow in, and he was doing it stone by stone.  My father was a great geologist, and rocks were his life.   He has polished, molded, cared for and chipped at us all our lives to turn us all into better people.  He did not limit this to family, I can feel it in the words you all write.  The world was a better place because my father was here.  Tomorrow we will finish the porch, but for now i stand in awe of the stones he laid before me. It was his stone laying that not just built the porch, it also built our family. It was his stone laying that will be the foundation for my future.  I miss my Dad, but I hold on to the stone path before me, because I know that path leads me closer to God.

24 responses to Stone by stone

  1. Josephine

    Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light. Albert Schweitzer.

    In loving memory of your dear dad, I know you and your family, will rekindle the flame.

    God Bless you.

  2. Sherri Pinckley

    The God of All Comfort

    2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 3. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4. 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.

    Dear Mark and family,

    I feel your pain. I was exactly where you are now on December 27, 2007. Exactly 7 months ago today I lost my dad and I miss him terribly. At the time I didn’t know how in this world I could possibly go on without Daddy. But, with support and love from my family and the grace of God it’s much, much easier to cope now than it was then. You’ll always love and miss your dad, grandfather, and husband, but with each passing day the pain of your loss will become less and less devastating.

    God bless and comfort you all,
    ~~ Sherri

  3. Patrice Johnson

    Dear Presley Family,

    I know the pain you are experiencing. I buried my father on January 25, 2008. I will tell you as others told me that you will always think of your father…every single day. The things he said, his opinions on certain issues, everything will be magnified. While at first these are the things that you think will cause you to be sad, in time it will be these things that help you to continue living. My family will continue to pray for yours.

    The Johnson family

  4. Mimi

    My prayers are with you guys. I only met your dad once on our move from California to Virginia. He made us feel so welcome in his home. We will be remembering him along with you today. Give Kari a hug from me.

    In His grip,
    Mimi Brown

  5. The Hartsoughs

    Harry and I have been on vacation in Chicago since the 19th. We heard there was a problem, but did not know the severity of it until we got the news this morning. We are sadder than we can tell you. So many wonderful memories of Mark and the countless ways he impacted our whole family.

    Please hug my friend for me. Tell her I love her, as we do all of you.

    Constant thoughts and prayers.

    Vicki and Harry

  6. Steve & Beverly Garms

    Anne, Mark, Steven, and family, the FBC Choir and many BFG’s prayed fervently for all of you today. Our spirits join with yours as you have your Cape Cod memorial this evening, and as you head to McKinney this week. We are confident that God is being honored not only in the life of your husband, father, and grandfather, but in your lives as a family. You all have honored us through your lives…you have changed us for good.

    To Anne…my heart is heavy in that Bev and I will not be able to be at the memorial on Saturday as we will be in a school-related trip…..I will however seek you out at school on my first opportunity and give you the hug of comfort that I have been sending via prayers and thoughts over the last week. Be blessed my dear friend and colleague…all of the students and staff are waiting on you.

    All our love:
    Steve and Bev

  7. Mike and Tina Phillips

    I know this evening you are celebrating Dr.Mark’s life. We continue to celebrate with you. Our prayers are there with you this evening.
    As we sang “How Great is Our God” in the service this morning, it brought thoughts of your family and the legacy Dr. Mark leaves. I know that through his life and even his passing, many have and will see how great God truly is. God bless you at this time.
    Tina and Mike

  8. JO

    My heart goes out to you and your family … Kari and Kijsa are loved by so many and I feel they are special friends to me…

    You all are so blessed to have such a wonderful man for a father and one who taught his children well…

    I am touched by all the love and support you have for each other… it is truly a testament to your dad



  9. John and Deb Bruin, Linwood NJ

    Dear Anne,
    Our hearts are broken;but our spirits rejoice in the fullness of his life. He was blessed with a large and loving family and an untold multitude of friends.His mild manor and self-depricating nature endeared him to all who met him and enabled him to do the Lord’s work with intense sincerity but without fanfare.
    I would like your children and your grandchildren to know what you know. The “Whale and I were young men together bound to each other by the ocean and the sand. We learned about life together. We cheered each other successes and encouraged each other in times of failure and fear, indecision and doubt.
    All my life he has been my treasured friend, close to my heart and with me in spirit. I not only respected and admired him; I loved Mark Presley.

    May God rest his faithful soul and bring comfort to you, his family and his friends.

    Reverantly yours,
    John Bruin

  10. Otis Dunagan

    Indeed your father laid a firm foundation. And, already we see the results. Please take a minute and reflect on how many people you have touched this week – around the world and in the hospital. Oh, how many will find Christ because of you.

    Your father is smiling and he is proud. Leadership now passes to you. You have the baton and you are running the race swiftly – just like he wanted. You and your family continue to be in our prayers.

    We had a wonderful service today. And, all through PPT I kept thinking about all that you do and how much we count on you and we know you will meet all challenges that are in the future.

    Have a safe trip home.

  11. Shawn Cronin

    He was a good man and a great teacher. He taught me passion about education and learning. He always had a smile when I saw him and a laugh to share. he will be missed.

  12. Leah & Marvin Berlin

    We love you all and continue to pray for your family. Denton’s email to Annalee brought more tears to my eyes. Your dad will be missed by so many people…he always brought a smile to my face with his own.

  13. Cathy Kelley

    Anne, Mark Jr. Kijsa, Kari, Whitney,and Stephen,
    Your husband and father did indead build a path everywhere he went. He built a strong path at Eastfield and one I plan to try and make sure it is carried forward. Mark was such a great and kind man and he will not be forgotten. I plan to do everything I can to continue the legacy he lived at Eastfield. He taught me much and left knowledge with me that I will carry always. I will continue to pray for your family that God continues to watch over you and guide you down this new path that you are following.
    God be with you,

  14. The path completed by all of you will always be a reminder of Mark and the ways he touched and shaped your lives. At the college we have a path to complete that he began for all of us. His love of geology and science, his dedication to students, staff and faculty and his determination to always reach for the best are the stones from which we will work.
    Have a safe journey home. You are in our prayers and thoughts always.

    Carol Brown

  15. Shelley Lackie

    Dr. Mark was one of my favorite teachers in youth. His lessons ALWAYS gave our share group much to discuss and talk about. He just made learning about Jesus make so much sense and made it applicable to our lives. Your father was one of the most pleasant men that I have ever been around. Just being around him lifted your spirits. Always a kind word or smile. All of you are like that! Looks like little Denton is a true Presley 🙂
    What a legacy your father has left. I won’t be able to look at a stone without thinking of your family. We love you all and will continue to lift your family in prayer. I have to admit little Denton just brought another tear after reading his post………Bless you all.
    In Him,
    The Lackies
    Jeff, Shelley, Megan, Matt and Mark

  16. Condolences to you and your family in the loss of your beloved father. He sounds like such a wonderful man. I loved the reminder you quoted a few posts back from Paul in the letter to the Phillippians, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” May the grace of our Lord comfort and sustain you during the coming days.

    Prayers for you all~

  17. Judy Schwartz

    My heartfelt prayers will continue to be with you as you celebrate your father’s life and legacy. I respected your father, and I appreciated his energy and passion. He was a kind man who treated everyone with dignity. He will be missed.
    Judy Schwartz
    Eastfield College

  18. Juliet Kauffman

    Dear present Presleys,

    When I think of my cousin Mark, it was before you all were even a gleam in your father’s eye, even before Anne came along and “swept him off his feet”.

    Here are two stories you might like (maybe your Grandma Presley told them better; this is how I remember them):

    When Mark was very, very young, he wanted to take plano (not the city near McKinney, but how a four year old would say piano) lessons. He couldn’t even say the word, but was drawn to the music! And so he did, going through all the Thompson books and finally after a great deal of discussion, it was determined that he could study with a teacher in Atlantic City (a bus or bike trip away, not the few blocks he had walked). He wanted to stretch his talent while his careful parents wanted him fully and completely immerse him in classical music! Who hasn’t had that discussion with the parents?

    I remember Mark working on Dave Brubeck pieces! He liked Dave Brubeck’s time signatures, like Take Five (5/4 time) and Unsquare Dance (7/4 time) – isn’t that amazing?

    But what I remember best was that he learned to play “Linda” in honor of his new sister-in-law, Linda Hamilton, who became your Aunt Linda. I wonder if your grandpa liked the song enough to encourage your dad to do this?

    Did your dad tell you that he played Tom Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in high school? The person who played Puck was a petite young woman with a very outgoing personality. They were perfect for these roles and pretty much stole the show! Not a surprise to you, who have spent the last forty years with him!

    Here are two of the stones that were the foundation of the formative years. (I may think of more in the days to come.) I hope you find them comforting.

  19. Lauren Gunderson

    Your father was a great inspiration to me. He was an amazing professor and mentor to me and was a great man of God. I had so many wonderful conversations with him and will remember nothing but wonderful things. My heart is with you and your family during this time. He was constantly talking about family, especially his grandkids. He was such a proud grandaddy.

    He will truely be missed.

  20. Taylor Weber (Massey)

    My prayers are with the family. Dr. Presley had a great impact on my life. I took a trip/class to Colorado a few years ago with him and Whitney. I remember that i was filling left out of the group and both Dr. Presley and Whitney helped me get through it. He always had a kind heart! Everytime I see rocks on the side of the road I think of him telling me that he would make his whole family stop on the side of the road to see the rocks.

  21. Binky Ragon

    Dear sweet family,

    My memories of Mark are ones filled with compassion and steadfastness. I could always count on the Presley family to be the pillaers of the church and their faith in Christ showed in all areas of their lives. As the kids have grown and married and moved away, I can still see their uniqueness as a family unit by looking into their parents eyes. What a blessing that is and what a testimony it is to your parents….Mark will be missed by us all, but what a blessing you all had by being able to call him ” father” and “husband” My prayers are with you all. Hold tight to your faith and hold your memories close to your heart.

    Love to you all!

    Binky Ragon

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