John Mark

September 18, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen –

Forgive me for a moment…

I wanted to write this last month, but it was difficult

I want to take you back four years ago…

On August the 2nd 2008 John Mark Stallings passed away…

It was four years ago..

He was the Son of Legendary Alabama Coach Gene Stallings and his beautiful wife Ruth Ann

John Mark was 46 years old when he passed away

He was born with Down’s syndrome and along with that a heart defect which ultimately took his life

He couldn’t read or write or even count to ten…

But there are songs and books written about him

He never played any organized sports and he never scored a touchdown

But U. S. Presidents, Governors and NFL Hall of Fame Coaches and Players called him on the phone just to see how he was doing

As long as they play football at the University of Alabama his name will be in the equipment room that is named after him, the John Mark Stallings Equipment Room.

There are football fields and streets named after John Mark from Texas to Alabama.

He has scholarships in his name and buildings named in his honor…

He was named by Abilene Christian University as “One of the Five Most Influential Persons in Texas”

His funeral in Paris Texas was led by Alabama State Troopers, followed by Texas Highway Patrol cars, lots of them and followed by some 1500 people.

He didn’t know a bad word and saw the good in everybody

He hugged you like he meant it, because he did

His smile was genuine and so was his laugh

He never complained, even at the end of his life….

He touched so many people in such a positive way, that you couldn’t leave him without feeling like you were in the presence of an angel

Maybe he was, I don’t know

But I do know that I wish I was more like John Mark

Maybe you do too

Because the lessons that John Mark left us go beyond the genuine love he had for his Daddy and his family and his fellow man

He taught us that everybody, regardless of what they may look like or what limitations they may have has the ability to contribute to a better world

John Mark moved people without holding a protest sign, or screaming and complaining on television

He never asked “why me” or uttered a single complaint about his condition or anything else

I miss John Mark

I wanted to remember the Life of John Mark this week, because I know it’s important

Because his was a full life, that touched so many and brought light to darkness for countless people

Even if he wasn’t aware of it

I wish I was more like John Mark

Maybe in some small way, you do too



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2 Responses to John Mark

  1. Kaye on September 21, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Beautiful. thank you

  2. Jim Mallory on September 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Mike, Absolutely beautiful. I really appreciate knowing about John Mark. What a “Team Member.” We can all be proud! Much love, Jim

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