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    16th July 2012

    In memory of Mark Miller – in lux aeterna…

    From picasa

    August 26, 1959 – July 05, 2012

    Mark Miller and his wife Kathy were my high school cross country coaches. They were also my friends. Mark passed away July 5 after a heart attack.

    It was dangerous to let Mark give you a nickname because he would use that nickname consistently. Mark got fixated on silly things like nicknames or pet phrases and I associate one week at Camp Isaiah with him repeatedly saying something like, “Hello Moose!” It was also somewhat dangerous to let weakness show. The first time I met the Millers I shook their hands at a movie store and then got made fun of for having a sissy handshake. I was probably 11. And I’ve never had a limp handshake since.

    My first time hiking with Mark and Kathy – my first time on a real hike and a real adventure – I think I almost died after hiking up to Trail Ridge Road from Lake Arrowhead or something like that. We had jumped off a 20+ foot snow cornice and gone glacading, we had walked through swamps, and then Mark led a group of us bushwhacking up about 2000 vertical feet over a mile or 1.5. I was bleeding from my leg and it was cold and windy and I was completely unprepared to wait at the top for our ride for what seemed like hours. And I wanted to do it again as soon as I could. I was 13.

    The race that I won that meant the most to me in high school wasn’t any sanctioned event, it was our team hike up Mount Elbert – the highest peak in CO. It meant so much because it was probably the only time that I left no doubt in beating Mark up a hill. I got dropped by him so many times that it felt so good to finally turn the table. I was probably 15. Mark was ever competitive, always challenging me and others to get better at whatever it was we were doing.

    I ran for Mark and Kathy for three years of cross country and during that time I went hiking/biking with Mark many time. I worked half a miserable summer for him (as my second job) pulling out nails and bullets and staples – and on my last day he offered me a bonus if I worked until it got too dark to work. I was 19 and school seemed so easy when I went back for the fall.

    When I was in the hospital after my accident in 2004/2005 he brought my the book about Ernest Shackleton – Endurance. Shackleton became someone I associated with Mark. Both such strong men. Both leaders. Both uncompromising. I recently heard a story about Shackleton that I think is appropriate. A pastor at a camp I was at was talking about the three friends who are thrown into the fiery furnace by Nebuchanezzer in the book of Daniel. The observers see four men in the fire, not three, and the men came out unscathed. Shackleton later told someone that he and his two companions in the little boat often felt like they were accompanied by “the fourth man” as they were crossing the rough waters in search of help. I pray that Kathy and Molly will be accompanied by the fourth man, also, as they embark on the next stage of their lives. They are two people, but they still have Mark with them in so many ways, and the fourth man, Jesus, will be there to guide the boat when the storm gets too great. Much love to them.

    3 comments

    3 Responses to “In memory of Mark Miller – in lux aeterna…”

    1. Karen Smidt says:

      What a wonderful attribute to a great man. May God bless his family and may each of us carry just a little bit of Mark with us wherever we go.

      Thanks for the memories Daryl!

    2. Daryl says:

      When I started thinking about all the time I spent with Mark all these memories – and many more – came to me, and I decided I should write a few of them down here. He left an impression on everyone who knew him.

    3. Mark Stenbeck says:

      It’s safe to say Mark and Kathy had a tremendous influence on the lives of so many. Coaching in High School is such a great privilege. Some do it for the extra money, some do it because of their own ego, but others like Mark and Kathy, do it because they have a great passion that is only lived out through teaching others and seeing them succeed. They brought this passion to Loveland and to Camp Isaiah. The Camp Isaiah tradition lives on because of the passion instilled in me by Mark, Kathy and Rick Roberts. Mark was a tremendous influence in my life during those first few Camp Isaiah’s. I have no doubt, that when Mark met Jesus he received a “well done faithful servant” from our Lord. That is what we all should strive for and take from his life. Mark Miller was a good man, that believed in a great God, and shared the love and passion for that God with many. Yes, well done Mark Miller, well done.

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    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.