Thursday, July 8, 2010

Obituary and Rememberances (Tabor College President Blog Entry)

No Answers but Hope - February 24th, 2009 
Click here for the original post on Tabor College President's Journal
Yesterday, February 23, the Tabor College community experienced what every college president dreads from the first day they take office. We all know that it will happen at some time, and we have thought through possible responses. But we sincerely hope it will not happen. We received word that the night before one of our students had been killed in a car accident. Shock, disbelief, questions, tears… we are a family and one of us is gone.

Marcus Manny, a senior student who was the kicker on the football team had a car accident that took his life. While traveling back to Tabor after having been to his home in the Dallas area for his mothers birthday on Sunday, he lost control of the vehicle.


We canceled chapel and brought the students together for a time of reflection and grieving. We are hosting numerous small groups during the week to assist the students in dealing with this tragic loss. Marcus’ mother told me that she was so thankful for the “Skittles guy” but did not know who this person was. What she did know is that Marcus had made a significant commitment to Christ as a result of the “skittles guy.” The skittles guy is Brian Classen, the pastor at Papillion NE who was our spiritual emphasis week speaker this fall. He had used a package of skittles to illustrate his point. Marcus had gotten the point, made a commitment which resulted in a change, and now is with the one to whom he committed his life. We do not have answers to the questions we all have, but we do have hope. Hope in the only one who has conquered death… Jesus Christ.

Arrangements are still pending. We will have a memorial service on campus for Marcus and will also participate in some way at the service in Dallas. We are considering chartering buses for the football team to be present.

Hanging around college students often gives the illusion of immortality. Young, full of energy, with a world to conquer. And then we have a reality check such as this. We are citizens of two realms… the visible and invisible. We live with a sense of here and there… the temporal and the eternal. May we infuse this world with the vision and values of the eternal. “Marcus, we will all miss you in this world but our hope is in Jesus which gives us a confidence that you are with Him.”

Comments left on the Tabor College President's Blog

Dr. Linda Cantwell // Feb 24, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Marcus represents what we so often refer to as the “Tabor Transformation.” A life that has been changed as the result of spending four critical years in college. Marcus Manny, the young man in my Public Speaking class in the fall of 2004 was not the same young man I spoke with in the cafeteria last Thursday. He was different. He was really different.

As an 18-year old freshman in a required Public Speaking course, his non-verbal communication cues were obvious — ball cap turned backwards, slouched in his chair, dark sunglasses covered his eyes and he arrived late each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He came alone to class and left the same way. I did not think he would make it to the end of the term. He was not happy to be in Kansas. Not happy to be at Tabor. And, certainly not happy to be in my Public Speaking class!

During the first week of the course, we talked about eight ways to introduce a speech. Humor was identified as successful in a speech introduction. Well, lo and behold, Marcus delivered his first speech with a spoon, turned upside down and affixed to his nose. It stayed there during his entire four-minute speech. I can’t remember his speech topic, but the spoon I will never forget. He laughed. I laughed. The students still laugh as we remind each other of the shared experience by placing a spoon near our noses in the cafeteria and laughing.

My favorite memory of Marcus involved his trying to reassure a very nervous young man in our speech class. The young man delivering his speech started learning on the podium and it began wildly rocking to and fro from his nervousness. Some of us thought the podium and the speaker might take flight. But, alas, Marcus stood up from the back of the room, ball cap and glasses intact, and yelled, “Stop rocking that podium. You’re driving my ADHD crazy, man. Stop!” The class room filled with laughter, the speaker’s nervousness vanished and the speech was delivered behind a non-rocking podium. After class the speaker put his arm on Marcus’ shoulder and said, “Thanks, man. You helped me out.” How cool was that?

Marcus brought laughter, joy and light-hearted moments to numerous situations all term. Before the end of the semester, the dark glasses came off, he started sitting closer to the front of the room and even began making eye contact and volunteering to demonstrate his learning by engaging in class discussions.

As I passed him on campus the years following our class together, his questions had deepened, his demeanor had changed, his self-assurance had increased, and the light in his eyes had brightened.

His tenacity and love of life will be treasured and long remembered by me. I consider it a sacred trust and privilege to have been able to witness a life transformed before my very eyes. He made me a better teacher, and I am grateful.

Marta Costa // Feb 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm

I met Marcus while he was travelling around Europe. He struck me as a very intelligent, fun and caring person. I am glad to say that he lived life to the full, and managed to see so much and meet so many different people before he went to a better place.

I only knew Marcus for three days. I met him in Rome. And I must say, and my friends will concur, Rome wouldn’t have been the same without Marcus!

I still remember our last hug, when I said “I will probably never see you again. Have a happy life.”.

What can I say… “Only the good die young”.

Just to let his family know, he really really cared about you. And Marcus really really liked his brother- if you are reading this, trust me… he told me all about you… all good things, dont you worry! )) Oh, not forgetting his DOGS! ))

I hope you manage to overcome all your sadness, and make sure you do some great things for other people in the name of Marcus.

?Alex (I think I can still remember your name, if not forgive me)… if you need anything, you can stay in touch with me via facebook. You are a great kid!

All the best.

Marta xxx


Sharon Bye // Feb 25, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I only met Marcus a couple of weeks ago on a Thursday at the end of my day. I own Cruise Holidays in Wichita and Marcus & a friend walked into my office to find out about taking a cruise over Spring Break. I have to say that I was exhausted and did not expect to spend almost 2 hours discussing their interests and questions. Marcus had many. I found myself entertained and drawn to him. He was so determined to take this cruise on March 22nd. He found another friend who was able to go and got this cruise booked.

I called him to come back in to finalize some paperwork and we spent another hour visiting about his trip to Europe (Venice in particular). He brought his masks into our office so that my husband and I could see them. Once again, I was so drawn to his enthusiasm and found myself looking forward to our next visit. I joked afterward with some of our staff about my being the “mother figure”. It was great. I do not find alot of opportunities to visit with young people who really enjoy sharing themselves like Marcus did.

Monday morning I noticed that the cruise tickets for Marcus and friend, Jason Pearson, were in my drawer and that Marcus would call Monday or Tuesday to set up a time to come in Tuesday to go over the tickets. I could not wait to see this young man again. I was going to bring the mask we had bought in Venice last August to the office the next day for him to see. I would block off plenty of time for more conversation about “whatever”. I have a 35 yr old son. His name is Patrick and it hit me hard when I learned that was Marcus’ middle name. WOW!  I hurt for his family and feel a little sorry for myself at the same time. I am always saying “Life is too short”. In fact that is one of the things Marcus and I talked about during his last visit. He wanted to experience as much as he could and see as much as he could before it was too late.

We were meant to have the TV News on Monday evening to the right channel to hear what had happened and are deeply saddened to know that his face will not brighten our office again. I find myself in an awkward place. I do not know Jason Pearson or have a phone number or address for him. I need to know what to do about this cruise and need Jason or Marcus parents to contact me to discuss this. This is one avenue provided to me to reach them. Sharon Bye, Owner – Cruise Holidays of Wichita, 214 S Rock Rd Suite 109, Wichita KS 67207 316-686-2900 800-624-4889 sharon@luv2cruise.com

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