Somewhere bells are ringing...birds are singing...
babies are being born -- how divine!
I'm gonna rise above my sorrow
and hope I see you again one tomorrow,
but until then -- a toast! to old friends
and a good glass of wine...
It is difficult to express my sadness for Mark's passing. Mark was one of the most caring people I have known. I have so many fond memories of my trips to Canyon Lake and his visits to my parents' house during the holidays.
I am thankful that he got to experience his dream of being an accomplished winemaker and his legacy will live on in the beautiful winery he helped create. My deepest sympathy and love to Pam, Lee, Jim, Stan, Jill, Nathan and Dustin.
I remember the good times I shared with Mark in Houston and Canyon Lake. He was intelligent, caring and a joy to be around. I will never forget him.
Mark was always such a nice, quiet guy. I only paddled with him a few times but admired his grace and oneness with the river instead of trying to overpower the rapids. I'll never forget sitting on the banks of the Rio Grande and encouaging Mark to like the box wine I had brought to share.
Dear Pam, I'm sorry we've never met. We were life long friends of the Penna's. I had found Mark once and we exchanged a few e-mails and then I lost touch again. My Mom told me when his Mother, Jean died. I am so sorry that he had to suffer, because he was always a gentle soul.
Stan and Jill, If you are reading this, I want you to know that I loved your brother as I love both of you. We grew up together in Texas City and spent a lot of time doing all the Catholic school things. We just had a reunion for TCHS class of '71 and there are several people that Mark can hang with from our class. I was so sad when I read of his passing. Mom and Dad are still well and living in TC. Please come see us if you ever get around TC.
Again, I am so sorry for your loss.
Mark and Family, Though we haven't been in touch much through the years, when you grow up Catholic here in Texas City where you rode your bike to Our Lady of Fatima or the levee, you became family. Stan, I'm deeply saddened by Marks passing but we both know his suffering has ended and that he is running free through the vineyards of heaven and pushing away from the river bank every afternoon for a little white water action.
I'm just sad, God bless you all. Just me and dad in the phone book here, if any of you get this way.
What fond memories I have of Mark ~ double dating at TCHS Sadie Hawkins dances, teasing him about his crush on Dolly Parton, my first white water rafting trip, visits at Canyon Lake and camping. Our family loves him. God Bless Pam, Stan, Jill, Lee and all his family and friends. May each of us make half the impact in other's lives that Mark did.
Mark taught me how to white water kayak when we were in our early 20s. We spent hundreds of hours paddling many of the rivers in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Mexico well into our 40s. We would always scout the big rapids and he'd generally be the first one through. I'd hang back, summon my courage, and try to copy his form and grace under pressure with varying degrees of success.
I feel much the same about watching his struggle with cancer the last 3 years. I hope I can emulate his form and grace when its my turn again.
Before I went in for an interview on a Saturday morning at Mensor, where we both worked, I went to the barber shop to get my head full of long hair cut off. Mark was working that moning and he was the first person I met - with a head full of long hair.
I always admired him for pursuing what he wanted to do and being successful at it.
I have many wonderful memories from times spent with Mark in our childhood, especially those at the farm in Nacogdoches. Now he is with his parents again, in the loving arms of God.
I will pray for your family.
God Bless You
Dearest Pam: You will be in our thoughts and prayers. Mark was one of a kind. We will miss him.
Joe and Ruth Dahlstrom
I was saddened to see the notice of Mark's passing in today's newspaper. Mark was one of the first people that I met at Our Lady of Fatima when my family moved to Texas City in the Sixties and even then you could tell that he was a thoughtful and compasionate person. I am not surprised to find that he spent the last twenty years practicing the art of winemaking. May his soul rest in peace.