On June 12, 1960, God sent us an angel and soldier named Mark Patrick, and on Sept. 11, 2013, God’s trumpet sounded for Mark to return home.
Mark and twin brother David were born in Centralia, to the union of the late Matthew Patrick, Jr and Rowena (Johnson) Patrick and named by their great-aunt Joyce (Taylor) Garrett. Mark was 53 years old at the time of his passing. He confessed his belief in Christ at an early age and was a member of Second Missionary Baptist Church where he participated in many youth activities.
As a standout athlete at Centralia High School, Mark earned several CHS, South Seven Conference and IHSA awards and honors. After graduating from Centralia High School in 1978, Mark and David attended junior college at Parkland College in Champaign on a full track scholarship. In 1981, while attending Parkland, Mark received NJCAA All American honors in 400 intermediate hurdles (outdoor) and 1600 meter relay (indoor). As juniors, Mark and David transferred to the University of Tennessee on an athletic scholarship. There Mark participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and earned NCAA All American honors for 2-mile relay (outdoor) and 400 intermediate hurdles (outdoor). In 1983, Mark participated in the Pan American games and in 1984, placed sixth in the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles.
Upon completing his running career, Mark remained in Knoxville, Tenn., for several years. While in Knoxville, Mark continued helping others and mentored young teens while working several years as a group home counselor at Overlook Children’s Group Home. Mark’s sense of adventure allowed him to broaden his horizon as he ventured into the field of retail including management, while living in Waycross, Ga. and Atlanta; Dallas; and Shreveport, Louisiana.
Mark shared a contagious sense of humor with his twin brother, David and a genuine love for his family, whom he often talked to several times per week. He was an excellent (giving and protective) brother who often counseled his siblings in life situations. Although Mark never met a stranger and had the “gift of gab”, he was a great listener and often gave sound advice. Solicited or unsolicited, he offered genuine words of wisdom many times concluding with his token phrases, “at the end of the day...” or “it is what it is”. Mark was known for being caring, compassionate, a social activist (participating in the Million Man March and March Across Selma Anniversary) and someone who loved all sports (even Nascar!).