As the clock crawled toward noon on Tuesday, Tim Mark sat down for lunch just as he had done for hundreds of previous Tuesdays. His appetite might have been the same, but everything else was different.
He wasn't seated on a stool behind the Snack Shack. He wasn't cracking jokes with a couple of athletic administrators. He didn't count the number of cars which regard the stop sign at the intersection of 10th and Manhattan as a comical suggestion rather than traffic control mechanisms.
This past Tuesday was spent with much more important people: his wife and grandchildren. After all, it was Grandparents Day at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso.
After nine years, Tim Mark clocked out on Monday afternoon as director of facilities at Marquette. He now dictates his schedule, which, for the first few days of retirement, included aforementioned Grandparents Days, golf, and yard work.
For Mark, this is his second shot at retirement. He called it quits at Whirlpool a decade ago before eventually returning to the workforce with Marquette. This time, it's for good, though.
"Once I clicked 'submit' on that Social Security page, there was no going back," he quipped.
We'll miss the diligence with which he performed his job. Mark consistently went above and beyond the requirements of his job.
He was the first to receive a call whenever the security or fire alarms went off - and if one knows anything about Marquette, the frequency of that occurring is staggering. He oversaw a most transformative decade on 10th Street with the acquisition of several new properties and the renovation of so, so many square feet of existing buildings.
We'll miss the pride he took in everything Marquette related. He was a Class of '72 graduate, and this is where he met Mary Kay Kintzele. Many of you may know her as Mary Kay Mark, the school's director of academic affairs. Ask Mark about their son's tennis career with the Blazers and he'll beam with delight as he recants how Zach ascended to No. 1 singles as a sophomore and nary a once lost to a Michigan City or LaPorte High School player. His affection for athletics hasn't wavered. He speaks of Marquette's state champion basketball squads like a proud alum.
Above all, though, we'll miss his everyday friendship. The laughs. The stories. The rants about the neighborhood woman, whose daily walk around campus with her dog typically resulting in the canine relieving itself in the campus landscaping. We'll miss it all.
Approximately 20 teachers and staff gathered at Arcadia on the Lake Monday evening for a surprise retirement party. He was genuinely touched. President James White remarked at how Mark left Marquette a better place than he found out.
With a big day ahead of him, Mark eventually called it a night. Grandparents Day was the next day. Tim Mark was just a few hours into retirement, but unsurprisingly, he already had it figured out.