|Markus W. McKissick|
|December 30, 1951 - May 21, 2012|
|Markus W. McKissick, 60, of Davenport, passed away Monday, May 21, 2012 at Trinity Bettendorf, after a courageous battle with cancer.|
A celebration of Markís life will be held from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Sunday at Johnnyís Italian Steak House, Moline. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society. Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, Rock Island assisted the family.
Markus William McKissick was born on Dec. 30, 1951 in Indianapolis, Ind., a son of Wendell and Fay Van Arendonk McKissick.
He moved to the Quad Cities as a teenager and graduated from Rock Island High School and St. Ambrose College. Mark began a teaching career at Washington Junior High School in Rock Island, where he influenced the lives of countless students for many years.
Mark enjoyed traveling, reading and music and thoroughly appreciated the time he spent with his family and friends.
Survivors include his brothers and sister-in-law, Scott and Kris McKissick and Wendell McKissick; niece, Lauren McKissick; nephews, Bobby and Noah McKissick; and his long time best friend, Craig Meincke.
Mark will be remembered as a loving brother, son, uncle and friend. His strength of character, sense of humor and positive outlook were a comfort to all those around him. He will be greatly missed.
Online condolences may be left at www.wheelanpressly.com.
Mark, you will be missed tremendously at Washington. You were a great teacher who went above and beyond your teaching duties to try and help all of the students become better citizens. Washington will not be the same without you. Rest in peace and my condolences go out to Craig and your family.
-- Todd Schmit
You were one of the finest teachers I have ever met. You were an inspiration to your students and they knew you cared about them. We will miss you.
-- Marla Andich
Mr. McKissick was my 8th Grade English teacher back in 1998/1999. He was an incredible teacher, one who treated his students with respect and challenged them to think outside of what the text book said. He commanded an audience with his students and was given respect almost without having to try. That's how good he was and what he meant to most of us. He never even had to raise his voice. We just listened and learned.
Mr. McKissick was the first teacher I ever had that I respected and he was also the first teacher who was able to reach me. His methods and his attention to his students was unlike anything I had ever seen before and rarely saw after.
It was Mr. McKissick that got me interested in creative writing, poetry, literature and the intense emotion, thought and possibility behind words.
He was the best teacher I ever had and I am truly sad that he will not be around to help the students that might have passed through his class. We are all richer for having known him and the world is less fortunate to have to see him go.
"Oh Captain, My Captain our fearful trip is done; The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won!"
-- Mitchell R. Vidmar
My thoughts and Prayers are with you at this time. I will remember Mark as a gentle soul. God bless.
-- Jackie Mangold
One of the few teachers who made school enjoyable.... He will be missed.
-- Holly Crosby
Mark you were definately the sunshine at WJHS. You were positive,had kind words to all you came in contact with, and always a beautiful smile! You will be greatly missed! Rest in peace Mark.
-- Mary Lou Barnes
Mr. McKissick was one of my favorite teachers of all! He was a positive influence in my life by being a great teacher, mentor, and friend. He leaves a lasting memory with me and will be missed by so many of his former students along with his family and friends. Rest in peace Mark, your battle is over.
-- Esther Neil-Kirk
My prayers & thoughts go out to you! Mr. McKissick was my 8th grade English teacher at Washington. He was a really great teacher. He will be missed!
-- Arthur Williams
Mr. McKissick was an amazing English teacher as well as an amazing person. He touched the lives of so many students and will be remembered forever. R.I.P
Mr. Mckissick was an exemplary English teacher. I had him for 8th grade english in 1989. He inspired many students to be more than they thought they could be and to persue the quest for knowledge in everything they do. Thank you Mark, inspiring myself and many others to always reach higher.
-- Darille Todd
I am so sorry to hear about your lost! It's never easy to lose a love one.. my prayers goes out to the whole family..Keep ya head, and know he's in a better place watching over all of us! <3
-- Rochell Jackson
Mr. McKissick was such a great & funny teacher. I had him last year & when he was trying to teach us something, he licked the chalkboard for an example.. He will be missed.
-- Hannah Allison
I'm going to miss you Mr.McKissick! You were a amazing teacher and always were helping students and reaching out more then any teacher ever did! You did so much for all the kids and you always talked about how much you loved life! You were the only teacher I knew who licked the chalk board! You were always talking about how much you loved life and wouldn't let the cancer get to you. You were taken too soon from us and I know all the kids at Washington are going to miss you! You made a great impact on everyones life and it's a shame you can't be there to make anymore impacts on anyone else's. You were always trying to find news way to interact with your students and make them fun. You always gave me candy and pop, and you always were helping someone or doing something worth while. You always shared with us the lessons of life, it's a shame you had to go so quickly, I'll miss you!
The year I was in eighth grade Mr. McKissick was an English teacher but he had one history class, and I was lucky enough to be in it. He taught the subject with so much enthusiasm, I still remember so much from those classes. Teachers have the power to influence our lives in so many ways and I am happy to say Mr. Mckissick made a positive impact on my life. Thank you Mr. McKissick for all the lesson in history and in life.
Mr.Mckissick was a wonderful teacher and was one of the reasons I decided to become one. His voice was always calm and full of compassion. He let us listen to music if we were good, and loved the word lush. Life isn't fair and this is evidence of just that. I'm so sorry that the world lost him... he was a wonderful person.
-- Tegan Moreland
Mark, it has been a pleasure to be a colleague of yours for many years. You always taught me to be patient and enjoy every single day. You were a great role model for so many students who were lucky enough to have you as a teacher. We will definitely miss you.
-- Kirk Humphreys
It's only been 18 years since we had Mr. Mckissick as an English teacher. He was the most memorable and enigmatic English teacher. His lessons kept us on the edge of our seats and his antics such as talking to his Cactus "Mr. Prickly" and once dangling from lights kept us entertained and willing to learn. He will be missed greatly.
-- Hinds Family
We are so sorry for your loss. Mark was a wonderful neighbor and friend. We feel truly blessed to have had him in our lives.
-- Rodney and Jessica Vens
I will never forget Mr. McKissick! I will never forget the way his personality radiated the classroom the second he walked into the room. The smile that would appear on his face when he knew he got through to you. The ability he had to make everyone feel unique and special for each unique and special trait he saw in us as his students. His humor, oh my goodness, his HUMOR! The tremendous impact he had on this world, and my life. He will be missed but will always be a part of who we became as adults. RIP Mr. McKissick!
-- Jennie (Schaubroeck) Newberry
I Know Im not a family friend. I want you guys to know Mr. McKissick was one of the nicest, sweetest, happiest teachers I have ever met. No matter how upset I was he listened. He also was the one who taught me how to be MYSELF. He told me to be who I really was and do it for myself and not let anyones oppinions get in the way of it. If I hadn't had such a great motivational person like him I honestly dont know where I would be right now. Though I only had him my eighth grade year which flew by Mr.McKissick was always there for me and many other students. He made a great impact on alot of peoples lives. The only thing I regret is never truely thanking him with words. He knew that we were thankful but I wish I would have sooner. Weeks ago a group of old Washington students made plans to go visit but he wasnt back yet. We planned to do it when he came back. He was a great man and I was lucky to have had him in my life for that time. Thank you Mr.McKissick
-- Keelyandra Kirkbride
Mr. McKissick as he was known to me, was absolutely without a doubt, one of the most influential people in my life. I am so blessed to have met and learned from Mr. McKissick. R.I.P.
-- Reece Argo
thank you being such a wonderful teacher to our kids. you really left your heart print on their lives.
-- rhea cottingham
Wonderful teacher and a friend to so many.. May he be in peace..
On behalf of the entire Thomas Jefferson Elementary School family, please accept my most sincere codolences on Mark's passing. May your grief be tempered by the knowledge of the countless lives he touched and the certainty that his life goes on through the impact he had on the lives of so many. You have our deepest sympathy. Sincerely, Mike Nitzel, Principal, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Milan
-- Mike Nitzel
He was the best teacher anyone could ever ask for...So kind...caring and wonderful:) May you Rest In Peace Mr. M
-- Nicole Wallarab
My condolences go out to the family of Mr. McKissick. He was such a great, caring teacher. His passing is a big loss to the educational system.
-- Ha Nguyen
I had the pleasure of having him as my teacher and so did my children. Awesome teacher....Awesome person!!!! He will be greatly missed!
-- Heather Leeson DeHaven
My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. Mark was a colleague of mine and will be greatly missed.
-- Amanda Krahl
Mark was among the best teachers my girls had in the Rock Island school system. He was such a kind and gentle man, always upbeat and positive. He will be missed.
-- Cathy Davis-Myers
To Scott and family, I am very sorry for your loss. I did not know Mark. He sounded like a real class act. I feel sad that I never got to meet such a wonderful man. Please know that you are in my thoughts.
-- Lisa Sparkman
Mr. Mckissick made such an impact on so many students lives.. I will never forget the day he made me citizen of the month at Washington jr. highschool, it was probably the best day of my life. My family was so proud of me, & he made me feel so special.. from that day on I finally started to believe in myself.. You will be greatly missed Mr. Mckissick :( R.I.P. IN HEAVEN <3
-- Jessica Rodgers
Mr. McKissick was an amazing teacher! I had him my 8th grade year. He truely got me interested in reading and writing. I always hated reading, but before we would start reading he always talked about it and it made me wanna jump right in and start reading right away. He made a huge impact on my life in so many different ways. I don't think I would be the exact person I am today without him being my teacher. He was a great man and was always there for the students. Thanks for being my teacher and making learning fun! Wish I could have told you myself! Your in a better place now. My condolences go out to the family and close friend.
-- Anna Wermuth
I still can't believe that you're gone. You were a great instructor who definitely made a difference in the lives of all your students. Right now i'm going into my Junior year of college, pursuing an career in teaching, and you are one of the teachers who influence me to be a great instructor in my career. You were honestly not like any of the teachers that I have had in the last fourteen years; you had such a positive outlook on everything, and were very generous and humorous. In the seventh grade, you helped me immensely on the final exam I took in your class. I was always to shy back then to go back to your class and say thank you. You left here accomplishing more than you were supposed to in your lifetime, and I know that God will reward you greatly for your good deeds. I miss you Mr.McKissick, and promise to be as great of an instructor to the students I teach, just as you were.
-- Aubrey Barnes
It's been many years ago since I had him as a teacher, but I do remember him! He will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family!
-- Amanda Sissel
I work at Big League Barbers and had the wonderful opportunity to have Mark as a client for over a year. He was very passionate about his students and loved them very much.I could tell he had a genuine good heart. He always made me smile. I am truly going to miss him.
-- Rachel Garrett
Had him as a teacher some 18 years ago...
Awesome and funny man... I remember when he did an optical illusion to prove a point to the class about paying attention to detail. I won't go into detail but it worked! He was a part of the track coaching staff also when I went to school at Washington Junior High. You will be greatly missed.
-- Jason P.
I wrote this on facebook last night. I guess it's kinda lame I'm reposting it on here, but someone said it was something his family would probably like to see:
I was sad to hear that one of my favorite teachers from Washington Junior High, Mark McKissick, had passed away yesterday.
I'd heard recently that he'd been sick with cancer, but hadn't heard many details beyond that.
Not long after I joined THE BOOK, I happened to stumble across his profile on here and sent him a friend request with a message saying that I wasn't sure if he remembered me but that he was one of my favorite teachers at Washington, that I learned a lot from him during those years (more than he probably ever knew) and that I still enjoy writing to this day (if I remember correctly, I think I had him all throughout 7th and 8th grade).
He never responded to the message, but he did accept my friend request. I don't think he messed around on here too much and there's a good chance he didn't remember me.
But I wouldn't hold it against him. That was 1995-97. Sometimes it seems like just the other day, sometimes it seems like a million years ago.
Since I heard he passed, I've been thinking a lot about the things he taught us (both academic and personal), the way he taught us, the stories he shared with us, and what I walked away with once it time to move on to high school.
I've been thinking about how he let us rock out to Bone Thugs and Harmony, Tupac (California Love!), Nirvana, White Zombie, Marilyn Manson and many more.
I've been thinking about the day to tried his best to teach us that the Yellow Brick Road is a dead end.
Life has a tendency to hit you pretty hard sometimes and from all angles. I think his greatest quality as a teacher was his ability to give his students the heads up on all of that and let 'em down easy.
I've been trying really hard to remember as much as I can about those days, those stories, and how well they translated to the academic lessons.
Some of those memories I remember more clearly than others. Some are starting to come back to me the more I think about them. And hearing stories told by others has brought back a lot, too.
Seeing as how I can still speak/write in English, it wouldn't be a terrible stretch to say I more or less remember every single thing he ever taught me (if I was to be a smart-ass about it).
But as I read what others have written, the general consensus is that he was a great teacher who cared about his students and treated them as equals instead of the ignorant children I'm sure we all were.
But another thing that struck me when reading what everybody else has had to say since yesterday is how special he apparently made a lot of his students feel, because one thought that has come to mind is the idea that maybe I wasn't that special after all. "He was like that with everybody", etc.
But he had a lot of students over the years. That's not something to be bitter about.
But as I read peoples' memories of Mr. McKissick, I wondered what I could say or write that hadn't/wasn't already being said.
There are so many different stories that come to mind and so many things I'd like to say.
So I decided to share this bit:
I remember hating 7th grade, and rightfully so.
Kids are little, ungrateful, entitled assholes who don't work and get everything handed to them. What's not to dislike?
Looking back, I didn't really have it that bad. I was probably just as shy and unenthusiastic about school as the next kid.
But I liked Mr. McKissick's class and I dug what he was trying to do.
I remember one time we had some type of writing assignment where we had to make observations of junior high life and how it applies to the real world (or something like that). I think it was supposed to be three different observations?
Mr. McKissick picked a few student-observation-papers out at random to read aloud to the class and one of them was mine.
I'd give anything to be able to remember what the first one was.
I remember one of them being about an episode of Bay Watch I'd just seen that dealt with Chinese refugees trying to come to America on crappy boats and how we'd talked about the Chinese refugee problem recently in geography class and how it was nice to finally learn something relevant.
But the last junior-high-life-observation I made was the one that really got him.
I asked why every single teacher I had felt the need to constantly tell everybody what the advanced classes were up to (the advanced classes were for the smart kids.....I wasn't in any of them) and wrote something to the effect of "We get it. They're smarter than us. We don't care. Enough."
I already had him LAUGHING OUT LOUD as he read the Bay Watch stuff to the class, but by the time he finished the bit about the advanced class he was busting up. He told me it was great and really funny, etc.
I was basically just saying what everybody else was thinking, but I loved the reaction I got out of him because he clearly wasn't expecting it out of me.
I was just some shy, dorky 13 year-old.
Not to be mean, but I don't even consider kids real people until they join the work force.
But that has always been one of my favorite memories of my days in Mr. McKissick's class.
If there was some larger lesson to be learned about the power of brutal honesty, I'm not sure that I got it.
But what I did walk away with from that chapter in my junior high existence is that sometimes you just gotta let 'er rip and pull no punches.
And afterwards, I don't remember ever hearing him bring up the advanced classes unless he was asked.
But that was him in a nutshell: He taught a conventional lesson, made it stick with you for the rest of your life (in his own way), and he truly did hear what you had to say.....................R.I.P.
-- Brad Vidmar
I worked with Mark for 13 years and he will be missed by the students and staff at WJHS. My condolences to his family and friends.
-- Dennis weiss
I will sincerely miss Mr. McKissick dearly, he had such a impact on my life as I'm sure he has on hundreds of other people. I wrote a poem dedicated to him:
When I was still finding myself, he believed in me When he read my writing he really cared Every time I wrote since then, I wrote the best I could be He made sure for the future I was prepared He actually cared about his students He took his job seriously He dared me to brilliant Even when it didnít come easy I looked forward to go to his class He made sure it wasnít boring He gave me confidence, even when I felt like a dumbass He made me concentrate on learning Before his class, I was about to giving up caring on my education After his class, I had a new perspective on life He taught me more than just the lessons From then on, I decided on being the best, more to strive Even after I went on to high school I still took him my writing; fiction, non-fiction, and poetry He made me feel like my work wasnít done by such a fool He made me see my writing was a type of beauty Even now when I write, especially my speeches for guest speaking I always thought about him and his inspirational guidance When I read from my words, I sometimes feel like I am drowning Then, when people clap, I feel I am making a difference I never imagined that I would be asked to guest speak But now people say with my words and poetry I inspire them Every time I am in front of a class or microphone I feel the insight he gave upon me I remember the look of encouragement in his eyes when he read my first poem He made me work harder than ever before I didnít believe him at first Then I realized, he opened a door My belief in my writing began to burst I havenít seen him in the past few years His guidance, wisdom, and passion I will never forget He saw my potential and helped me fight my fears He touched so many students; his teaching was such an asset
-- Amanda Kettering
To Craig and the family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have known Mark for decades he was the nicest person. I am sure he touched many lives both professionally and personally. I will always have found memories of Mark. Sincerely, Larry Best
-- Larry Best
A few years ago l traveled to 3 different school teaching, W.J.H. was one of them.This is where I had the honor, & pleasure of meeting Mark. Although I did not know him well, this I do know about him. Simply put, he was a gentle, caring, and just a good man. My thoughts, and prayers go out for his family, and friends. Teaching has lost. A great teacher, and the world a great man.
Know about him.
-- Deb Lingner
Mark was the greatest teacher of all time. He new how to keep us all interested and made class fun. He was a great listener and really takes the time and effort to help the kids who truly need it. It was a true honor knowing him. I will forever remember him and carry what he taught.
-- Sylvia Slykhuis
Having known Mark forever, my heart is broken. RIP, sweetie. You were one of a kind...a gentle, beautiful soul.
-- Angie Rose Conner
I attended Rock Island High School, and then later College with Mark. His desire to teach and help others was apparent, even in High School. As a fellow student (and in time friend, since you could not help but like him- he was such a caring, outgoing person)he tended to draw the best out of others, even me, who was quiet and reserved in those years. He (and several others of our RIHS class) helped me stay the course on my own goal to teach by his enthusiasm and example. His love of his Teaching Art and those he taught has been obvious by all the touching student and teacher condolences I find here today. The Quad-Cities has lost a good man, friend, and teacher. He and his family will be in my prayers.
-- Steve Nagel
I knew Mark from church-Old First in downtown RI. We sang in the choir together. He had a gorgeous voice and a great chuckle! I think he worked at Southpark Mall before becoming a teacher-I worked at the mall too and would see him occasionally. Fun to talk to about any topic that would come up. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Alicia
-- Alicia (Leslie) Laney
You've touched many people over the years. You will be missed.
-- Annette Ghys
I had the privilege to know Mr. McKissick both as a co-worker and parent of a student. He was the only teacher to ever motivate my son to write and do well in English and Literature. He was a credit to the teaching profession, and will be sorely missed.
-- Beth Brasmer
you are a very special person. you never complained about anything & remained strong through out all you have been through. your beautiful voice,sense of humor & caring of all is a wonderful gift. I am truly blessed to have been a part of your life & friendship. I love you my friend & miss you already!
-- Linda Wentink
I recently got to know Mark these past three years as a substitute teacher. He gave me valuable advice and teaching methods when stepping in on his behalf while he was away. He was a very kind and thoughtful man. Every time I came to fill in for another teacher he made an effort to thank me and to extend a helping hand if needed. He had a great impact on me and I will miss him dearly. My sympathy goes out to his family and dear friends.
-- Daren Showers
Mr.McKissick helped me learn to love writing. And encouraged my poems and story's. Made me feel real. like i could be someone special.
-- Briannon aldeman
I just learned of Mark's death and am shocked and saddened. I am so glad I was able to connect with Mark a couple times recently after the death of his Mother, my aunt, but true to form for Mark, he never mentioned his struggle with cancer. He was totally unselfish. I could tell his students and his teaching career were very near and dear to his heart. He was a special cousin to myself and my siblings growing up and will be greatly missed! Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Annette Silver Howell
-- annette howell