Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Friday, April 03, 2009

Mark Smallwood - In Memory

This week our close friend passed away suddenly. Mark was my wife Melissa's pastor and served as a second father to her when her own dad passed. Mark and his wife Gloria introduced Melissa to Christ when she was a child and served as her pastor throughout her childhood and teenage years.

Mark and my relationship started rocky. When I showed up in Delhi, CA courting Melissa I was a young 18 year old, brash, arrogant and opinionated. I still have some of that going on. Understandably and justifiably, Mark was skeptical and not too thrilled about Melissa and my relationship. We had a lapse in our communication for a number of years.

After we left Mexico with YWAM in '94 we landed in the Central Valley broke and burned out with a newborn baby. We were struggling to get back on our feet. Mark and Gloria gave Melissa a job that she held for 6 years at La Morenita. Mark helped us with a car, with furniture, with a house, with groceries, on and on... He eventually gave me a job at the restaurant and helped me with a side job throwing newspapers so we could continue to pursue our calling to urban ministry . We traveled through Yosemite together, went to a bunch of Giants games, spent some crazy times in Santa Cruz. Essentially he continued his role in being a father to Melissa and a brother to me. When my sister Kelli moved to Modesto he took her and her husband Saul into the family also.

Mark was generous, loving, caring, cantankerous, annoying and a avid practical joker. When he did something, it was done 100% - no margins or tentativeness. He lived and loved extremely. He's left a deep mark (no pun intended) on our family and most certainly on Melissa. We've not seen much of him since we moved to the Bay. However, it was comforting to know that he was just a call or short car trip away. We'll miss him - and remain grateful for all he did for us.

Mark's brother Philip blogged about his passing here.

Please pray for the Smallwoods. Mark leaves five children and his wife Gloria. He will be missed. His homegoing service is Saturday at 11:00 in Turlock.


  1. Thanks for remembering Mark! Steve Smallwood

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