On the road again

If you did not know my dad was talented in a lot of areas.  He could sing, write poetry, storytell and play guitar with the best.  Many of you do not know he had a PHD in geology from West Virginia University.  He was a rock doc, who loved to share his craft with the world.  Today we started our three day trip back to McKinney for the memorial service on Saturday.  As we a driving through the mountains of West Virginia my thoughts are on my dad and the many “rock stops” we would take to look at the fault lines in the road cuts. As a look out the window I can imagine my father investing in us on each trip we took.  Keep us in your prayers as we travel as a family. You can picture now what it looks like 8 adults 6 kids in 3 cars driving a few thousand bumpy roads.  We are realizing with each passing mile.  Our lives will never be the same yet it is beginning to feel as if we are starting to take the steps of recovery as a family. Keep us in your prayers only two days to go until we are reunited at home.

15 responses to On the road again

  1. Matthew Robinson

    Mark Jr., I’m sorry to hear about your father’s death. It sadly reminds us that even the best men don’t live forever. Dr. Presley did always have a smile and made me feel like I was not only special but good – a rare quality you find in people. He must have been a good father because that same talent was instilled in you and Stephen. I can speak for the other guys my age when I say that we looked up to the three of you because you inspired us to be more while making us feel unique and confident to do so.

  2. What a hard thing. Mayeb you guys could stop in each state and pick up a rock for your Dad and make a “rock” memorial garden when you get home. Get one where you are now….and continue on, kind of like his journey home. God Bless. Jen R

  3. Ashley (Mathews ) Ward

    It is through tears that I click on this website and find what I’ve been searching the web for since hearing the news: some explanation, or better, a tribute to this great man we all knew and love. Most people meet “that teacher” in kindergarten, third grade, or maybe high school. But for me, Doc was that teacher, the one that made the difference. Not only did I change my major, but going to class became a real highlight in my week- he made rocks fun, and made us all feel special. Every week, he’d waddle in with a Dad’s root beer in hand, and words of wisdom to share. And sometimes we’d laugh till our sides ached. May of ’95 I went on his field course to the Northwest. Just about the time we were nodding off to sleep, he’d pull off, and wake us up to show us another road cut. While he was driving, sometimes he’d get so excited explaining something the whole van would swerve. We’d sing to him, “Off the road again. Doc just drove us off the road again…”
    I remember one night camping in Colorado, I’d just retired to my tent after hours of singing around the campfire when he came running up, and pounded on the side of my tent. “Ashley, Ashley get up! Come sing ‘Waddly Acha’ with me, I know you know it!” He didn’t relent until I came out, and he dragged me back to the campfire to sing All the verses With the motions.
    I have so many memories of that trip. He introduced me to some of the most beautiful sites this country has to offer, and inspired us all with his zest for life and God’s amazing creation.
    Doc had such a way of making others feel special. Years later, when I’d go back to visit, he always had time for a good chat. He’d ask about my life, my husband, what God was teaching me, and encouraged me to get my Master’s degree.
    When he came to visit us in Canada at MWA, he took half of the staff on hikes, explaining the finer points of the Canadian Shield and all things geologic, patiently explaining, again and again what this or that green rock was, etc.
    Every meeting with your father had meaning. He always had some bit of wisdom or truth or encouragement to share. He never met a stranger and made even the strangest feel special. My life has been touched by him, and I mourn with your family one of the greatest men I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Although I know he is singing before the throne of Almighty God, I am so deeply sorry for your tragic loss. Reading through your blog I have nodded, laughed, and cried at all the many “Doc-isms.” I have also been moved by your family’s show of faith and strength. Mark, you’ve lauded your father well. May the God of peace be with you all.

  4. The Bourland Family

    Just wanted to let you know I am thinking about and praying for each of you.

    May God grant you a safe journey home.


  5. Mark,

    I don’t know if you remember me, but we went to church together. I was good friends with Whitney. Tiffany Watts Hammer told me about the passing of the father. I am truly, deeply sorry. I am currently in Florida vacation with my siblings, kids, nieces and nephews and stepmom. We are healing from the passing of my dad on July 6. I can truly say, I understand your pain. We are still processing the passing of my dad. This is our first time to be together after his funeral just three weeks ago. Please know you are all in my prayers. I would love to send a note to Whitney if you could let me know how to contact her.

  6. George Fisher & Family

    OK guys – you gotta stop this.

    Your blog is the 71st most popular wordpress posting site in the world as of July 28, sandwiched between “Iljma Episode 20, recap” at #70 and “Liz Straus is Breaking the Web” at #72. You even beat out blogs about Britney Spears. (Click on “top post” author, Life Well Lived, 7/26, 7:05 pm).

    I wonder what your dad would say about that.

    This blog is a true testament to the wisdom and kindness of an uncommon individual. Each whale tale is like another piece of a jigsaw puzzle, tightly nestling next to a similar, but yet different, piece, forming what has become a better understanding of the man Mark is and the principals he lived by. If it were not for his passing, we probably would not have gathered to fit our separate pieces together.

    By doing so, and by remembering the specific details of our contacts with him over the years, we are re-living his advice, smiling once again about a funny incident, or reminiscing about a younger man’s experience or two. All of these things are good things.

    What is odd about great men is they have the ability to impact our lives more than once. As we fit our jigsaw pieces together and remember our personal interactions with Mark, the “more than once” part becomes obvious.

    Hey, by the way, can I buy ad space here?

  7. Anne and family,
    Ever since I heard about Mark, I have been reading the blog. I have not been able to post a message. Please know you and family are in all of McKinney’s thoughts and prayers.


  8. Darrell & Gayle Tate

    Mark was the “quite volunteer”. Not ever saying much but always available. I will never forget the summers at Falls Creek. He was everywhere. Our family sends it’s deepest sympathy and prayers to each of you.

  9. Jody Gerber

    Dear Anne and Family,
    What a great man – evidence seen in his family! You, 5 children, are a walking testimony of a father’s (and mother’s) love and devotion to their children to raise them in a Godly home. You have been blessed beyond measure. Your loss is great but heaven is far better for having him. I’m positive he is having a great time walking and talking with Jesus and all the saints gone on before him.
    Many prayers,
    Jody Gerber

  10. Your Father left you a legacy of what a family should and can be…a great example of a rock who was also as gentle as a lamb. This is obvious through the generations of your family. Thank you for sharing such intimate experiences and the wealth of love he obviously showered on you.

  11. Becky Mueck

    My son(who is an Eagle Scout) will be a freshman at Eastfield College this fall. Two men influenced his decision to attend. One of them was Dr. Mark Presley. We first met him at a Boy Scout Merit Badge College held several years ago. He eagerly accepted my offer to help out while he taught geology to my son, and soon I was instructing a lone scout in meteorology. What a hectic week! Recently, we spotted him juggling the tasks of another year of Merit badge college. We watched as he hustled about solving all the little snags that went with it. We really admired his dedication, and we will miss him. Our prayers are with you.

    Becky Mueck
    James Mueck

  12. Julie Hargett Smith

    Mark and Family,

    My heart is so heavy for all of you. I just heard about your dad’s passing for the first time last night, and today found your blog to read about what happened. I am so so sorry for your loss.

    Whitney, do you remember when we were – I don’t know, teenagers before driving age? – your dad was driving us somewhere, and we were stopped facing north at the corner of Morris and Hunt. We looked to the right for oncoming cars, and at that moment a branch fell from a tree. Not a big deal, no worries if you don’t remember :o) but what your dad said in response has stuck with me since then. He said, “Girls, we are the only people in the whole world who got to experience watching that branch fall from that tree!” I think we laughed at the comment at the time. But he pressed us to consider it. He went on and said that many branches have fallen, and many people have witnessed branches falling, but that we were the only ones who got to watch THAT branch fall from THAT tree. And I cannot count the number of times since then that I’ve experienced something small or commonplace yet marvelous and thought about that comment, or driven through the intersection of Morris & Hunt and seen that tree and thought, “I know something about that tree that only me, God, Whitney & Dr. Presley know!”. Of course now I’m sharing it with the world that they all may know… Anyway, that is one of the first thoughts I had after I heard that your dad was gone, and I wanted to share it with you. He made me consider moments differently than I might have otherwise. And besides Mark & Melissa he was also the member of your family I still saw about town once in awhile. He’d catch me up on everyone and it always seemed to be like a week after you’d been in town & I’d just missed you. Your dad is one of those people that even though he wasn’t a part of my daily life, it just doesn’t seem right that he is no longer in the world with us. But he’s with the Lord, and that does seem right. I will always remember him fondly.

    Much love,
    Julie Hargett Smith

  13. kim vitz

    Mark, You have inherited your dad’s kindness, humility, and sweet smile. When I see you smile, I will forever be reminded of your precious father.

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