Coach of the year

Last night we had a service at Sagamore beach to applaud the life of whale.  This blog has become a lifeline to my Dad.  In our cape house there is a table in the kitchen that my dad would sit at and plan his day.  Each morning we gather around the same table and plan our day.  It the midst of planning one of us will open the computer and began to read aloud with tears and laughter the whale tales you have shared with us and the world.  We are astounded by all the layers there was to my dad.

The days that pass are surreal.  Each of us will pause for a moment as we try to go back to a somewhat “normal” life, and think that my dad will walk, no waddle, around the corner at that moment.  Last night we were telling stories fully expecting him to open the door and stop us.  It is as if we all are waiting for this bad dream to end.

Growing up in McKinney my dad was my youth soccer coach.  He was one of the best coaches I ever had, but we only won 4 games in 4 years.  Even so the games were always fun, and I can still remember the special positions he created so each person got a turn.  There was the middle man, the monster man, the circle man, and rover.  He knew how to make a boy feel like they were the best player in the world. He knew how to make a person feel like they were unique.  As a team, we were inspired to take on the world.

This morning I realized he is watching us from heaven, coaching us all as we go.  He has given each family member and friend a funny name, a special task, or a story to share.  In the memorial service yesterday I shared through tears that I will miss my dad most because my sons will never get to know him.  But I had realized that each son or daughter of whale has become taken on the best parts of my dad.  Kari has taken on his leadership and inspirational skills. Lead on Kari.  Kijsa is able to put on paper the beauty and wonder of our world. Kijsa keep painting the dreams and hopes of dad.  Whitney is able to express the thoughts of my dad through arts like drama and writing. Whitney continue to inspire the world with the drama of life.  Stephen has become the student and scientist, always question and challenge in the search for truth.  Stephen continue to search in honor of dad.  I have been given his name, and if you are junior or senior you understand the bond that this brings to us all.  We are the team that he has inspired to take on the world together.  What are you going to do today to take on the world, and inspire others?  Allow my dad to live on in your actions.

17 responses to Coach of the year

  1. Dear friends –
    I came here from Kari and Kijsa’s blog. My heart is touched to ‘meet’ your father and to hear of your loss. My father went to be with Jesus a bit over five years ago. I understand the hole that is left in your heart when your father leaves this earth. I am praying for each of you as you walk this new path. May God’s presence and His arms hold you close.

  2. Andy New

    Mark Jr., your dad was a special man and he did make everybody feel special. I remeber when I was at Falls Creek, he was the coach for our baseball team that week. Even though I had lost many of my baseball skills, he still let me bat for the team, often I would strike out. He told me one time that I really had a great swing when I was playing baseball. (I played baseball for two years before my surgery). I remeber that Stephen was one on one of teams that we were competing against. Although I cannot fully know all the sorows that you all are experiencing, I to feel sorrow in my heart and will miss the special man of God.

  3. Juliet Kauffman

    When my mother, Alice Whitehead Boylan, passed away 8 years ago, we had a small service to honor her. She had been in Grand Rapids with us for 11 years. Many people come to my home and some became good friends. We invited those who were close to her for a final farewell. My sister, Melissa, and our immediate family were there. We went around the room to share something about my mother. Each friend shared the story my mother would tell her each time she spent time with my mother. Every time, my mother told her exactly the same story! So when they related their special Alice story, everyone found a new part of my mother. No one had heard anyone else’s story since it was unique to her! But the amazing part was that neither my sister nor myself who had spent all of our lives with my mother had heard their stories! We, too, learned another aspect of my wonderful mother.

    Our lives are like holograms. We cannot be the same for all the people we touch. I’m enjoying your posts that evolve your father’s life in the intervening years. Visits, no matter the frequency, are but snippets of the fullness.

    It is a blessing to recognize how you continue your father’s life in your own, and all the lives he touched.

  4. Elizabeth Huston

    Dear Son of Whale,

    What a great name for your dad! I know Mark from school, Eastfield College. I served on a few committees with Mark and found him to be a delightful person to work with. He shared stories about his kids and wife, and these stories were treasures to him. His love for his family was obvious and special to him.

    We will miss Mark at EFC. God bless you and your family.

    With sorrow and fondest wishes,

  5. Rebecca Byrd Terry

    I talked with my dad quite a while this morning about the service at the cape yesterday. I know he felt so honored and humbled to be able to be there! I have not written much here, but I wanted each of you to know how much you have been on my mind and in my heart and prayers. Though I have not been living in McKinney nor have I been a close part of each your lives for the last several years, I want you all to know how treasured and dear my thoughts of you and memories of your dad are! As so many have written, your family almost feels like a McKinney institution, weathering all of the many changes that the city has gone through over the years. As Mark was writing today about each of your gifts and talents, I was thinking back on my memories of you all and smiling! So, keep on keeping on and know that it is not only Dr. Mark who is loved so dearly by so many.

  6. I praise God for Mark’s life! I thank God for the opportunity he gave me to know Mark at Eastfield College. Mark was the first person I met and talked to at EFC. He interviewed me for my adjunct position in 1998. I left that interview knowing how much he loved the Lord, how much he loved his wife and family, and how much he cared about EFC. I thought to myself “how lucky I am” and this man is going to be my Dean! Mark taught me many things just by being the person he was. He was a wonderful Dean, teacher, friend and colleague! I will truly miss him and working with him, but I will never forget him. What a wonderful family he has. The Lord will be your strength throughout all this! He promises that to all who are good and faithful servants. I continue thinking and praying for you all.

    Liz Lazo
    EFC Faculty

  7. JO

    I read each day with wonderment and a tug at my heartstrings along with a smile … the stories you write of your dad… your family…

    You have pegged Kari and Kijsa to a “T”… both talented …. giving … caring people… one couldnt ask for more

    I admire each of you and your dad especially …. as you are a testament to what a great person he most obviously was …. and I know from what I have read… you will teach your children the principles and values that he taught you

    What a lovely legacy


  8. Fetrows

    Mark & family – We have been praying for you all thru this time. Chris & I were in your dad’s Sunday school class when we first came to FBC so we had the privilage of knowing him. I do see much of him in you & Kari. We don’t know your other siblings but are sure we would see the things you mentioned in them of your dad. We will continue to lift you all up in prayer. Fetrows

  9. Kate

    Just a note from a stranger who also connected via your sisters’ blog. Many prayers have ascended over the past week;may God comfort you with your fond memories and His promises of hope and resurrection. My deepest condolences.

  10. Katherine Aguilar

    Dr Preseley was a rare gem. I am one of his past students. I considered him my friend and a mentor. He made learning geology interesting. After taking his class and going on one of his (4 Corners road trip 96)class trips. I never looked at rock and fossils the same. He took the time to listen, and encourage learning.
    Your and your family are in my prayers!

  11. Monica Aguilar

    When I think of Dr. Presley, I think about him pounding around the corner, pearing his eyes over his glasses, standing with his hands on his hips as he passes the entrance door and saying “well, how’s everyone doing this morning?” I used to work in his office when I was a student at Eastfield, and he always had ten thousand things going on, his desk was no exception, and neither were the rocks, frames and books that surrounded the walls he called his office. Always proud to tape up love work by his kin, magazine clippings from his daughters success’, pictures of his grandchildren, etc… He made it a point to call me in his office to reprimand me in a fatherly way, but still get his point accross as a superior, couldn’t ever stay mad at the man because he was so darn cute. The memory that stands out the most however was when I told him about some “rocks” a friend of mine gathered for her geologist father, and when he got them he had the brightest, proudest look in his eyes, and said “honey, do u know what these are?”, and my friend said “what?”, and he said “these are leverites!!!” and she said “what’s that?”, and he said “leverite there!!!”. And when I told him that, he laughed so hard, because he understood it, and said he used to get those all the time from his kids. Without his encouragement and faith in me to transfer to Baylor, I probably wouldn’t have graduated and become the nurse I am now, thanks Dr. Presley, and when my journey home begins, I know u and my Heavenly Father will greet me with a smile, see you soon.

  12. Maria Caratini Prado, ESL, Eastfield

    He was a whale of many oceans. Once, I took an elevator ride with him, and he turned to me and said,”Buenos dias!” I said. “Hola. Que tal?” and he peered at me over his glasses and said, “Now what am I supposed to say?” We laughed so hard! I am from the Caribbean and Dr. Presley knew how to swim in ocean waters everywhere! He was a kind and giving man. May the Lord bless your journey!

  13. Chris Wall


    I have been following your blog for the past week and have been at a loss as to what to say. My heart is heavy and aches with pain for how you and your family must be feeling now. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers lately and will continue to do so. I know words do little to ease the pain you are feeling but take comfort in knowing, which I know you do, how great of a man your father is. I know he is watching from above and I’m sure there is no measure of how proud he is of you and of the man you have become. My sister nailed it on the head when she said there wasn’t a time growing up in McKinney that a Presley didn’t leave a footprint in a life of a Wall. Whether it be in a classroom as a teacher or classmate, on the soccer field as a teammate or coach, in nature and life as a boy scout and scout master, a Presley has always been there with integrity and inspiration. I consider it a true honor and blessing that my life was touched by your father and your family and that I can call you and your father a coach, a teacher, a leader, a teammate, a roll model, and most importantly, a friend. My deepest condolences to you and your family…

  14. stella

    i too have been following your blog and i send out my upmost respect to you and all your family. Mark, you don’t have any shoes to fill, you should proudly to walk on your pair. After reading all your memo’s, and your thoughts are carefully written your mom and siblings should/are very proud to call you Mark Jr. Keep your strength. Your daddy was a very good dean and listener. I went in his office mad at one of his professors ready to scream if i thought Mr. PRessley was going to side with his employee. But he spoke to me like he cared what was happening to several students in a particular classroom. Believe me when i say the college has a job in their hands to put someone else in his position. It will be a job just to fill his spot. Much respect!!!! Stella

  15. Barbara Schneider

    I know the days continue to pass yet it all still feels so fresh, like it was yesterday.

    I know that there are still several hurdles to over come in the days ahead.

    Some hurdles will be set at higher levels and they will feel more arduous to clear while others will be ones you can literally fly over.

    We as your friends and family in Christ are running this endurance race, with all the hurdles, with you. We want to encourage you every step of the way.

    As your Dad coached you all on in years gone by and as he gave you the vision to see you could do your best in the game may we all extend that same encouragement your way.

    You will continue to find yourselves in this process as you remember your awesome Dad. I find it amazing as you remember the details of events you shared with your Dad you will begin to know who you are and gain a deeper understanding of how he molded you and guided you. What a wonderful gift God gives us in allowing us to grow through the wonderful people He puts in our lives. How fantastic that in remembering him we all get to know ourselves better.

    May these memories bring you peace, joy and into a deeper relationship with our Lord. May God show you Himself in a new and fresh way each day as the hurdles show themselves.

    I would be humbled if I could help in any way on Saturday in McKinney. Please let me know what best way I can help honor you and your precious Dad.

    Our hearts, hands and arms are wide open to receive you upon your return.

    You are so loved.


  16. Dacia Owens Hatch

    Mark & Family,
    It is evident that your dad’s legacy is awesome! I have had great respect for your dad and your family. I can remember what a great role model both on and off the soccer field he was. Now I pray that he is joyful in his magnificent home with our Lord.
    I will be praying for all of you. In my experience, a loss such as this can help us have a better understanding of the great sacrifice that was made for our salvation. I pray this for you…

  17. Anna Aguilar

    I enjoyed Dr. Presley’s geology classes so much that I took the same class again (4 corners – field geology) the following year. The most memorable thought I have of him is when he, my sister and some other students went off-roading and guess who was driving? Dr. Presley….lol!!! There was a lot of laughing! He made the class fun – only with his class could I have camped in a tent in black bear country, hiked the rim of the Grand Canyon (at night!), repelled off Eagle’s Cliff with a ankle sprain, climbed the arches in the Devil’s Playground, gone river rafting down the Arkanas River, visited the famous Sand Dunes, gotten the Rocky Mountain “high” and sung “on the road again” and smile. He definately gave me and my family good memories. God Bless him and his family! Anna

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