Mark David Winchester: “Remember that I’m human”

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The last time I heard from Mark, in March, he said:  “Remember that I’m human as I remember that you are as well. I’m not saying goodbye yet. I’ll be around for a bit longer.” I took it to heart, filled my sails with it and went about my life.  He died last week. How very like him that he wanted to spare us the heartache of “goodbye.”

Via post on Mark Winchester:

Mark David Winchester, born on March 27, 1965, passed into light in the early afternoon of Wednesday, May 15th, 2013.

Mark was born in Greene County, Ohio, and reared in the area of Sacramento, California. He graduated from Encina High School in 1983 and from CSU, Sacramento in 1988. Mark then moved to Ohio where he studied at The Ohio State University and earned a MA in 1990 and a PhD in 1995.

Following his graduation, Mark was employed by GATX, first in San Francisco and then in Chicago.

In 2007, Mark was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He underwent treatment at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University from that time until he moved to Oakland, CA in January of 2012. At that time Mark resumed treatment, this time at UCSF.

Mark is survived by his parents, siblings and their children. But more importantly, Mark is survived by a wide network of chosen family and friends.

Mark died as he lived. Throughout his life, Mark was always more concerned about the comfort and welfare of those around him than he was about his own well being. His life was spent being gentle, caring, kind, funny, creative, patient, perceptive, and wise. He constantly used these qualities to make the lives of everyone with whom he came in contact easier and more pleasant.

Celebrations of Mark’s life will be held in Oakland and Sacramento on weekends at later dates.

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November 2012. Mark and Moya.

Knowing that our daughter Lucy loves board games, Mark brought her several of his favorites so she could play them even after he was gone.  We’ll play some rounds of Dixit and Magic Dance in his honor and will always remember him as we do.

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August 2010. Mark engaging with Victor — an anti-gay-marriage “Yes on 8″ man — on the steps of SF City Hall.

I wish I had a better picture, but Mark was amazing and even and compassionate with this fellow. He just kept asking Victor why we shouldn’t be able to marry and who that was going to hurt.  Victor didn’t really have any answers and kept falling back on Bible verses in the face of Mark’s even and calm logic.  Mark was indeed so very loving, calm, kind, and wise. And in the end, too damn human or we wouldn’t have to say goodbye.

Mark had a very long conversation with Victor.  He had many insightful things to say later about this talk – including this:

“He seemed particularly surprised when I said that I have read the bible. He also noted that his grandfather is an atheist (and Victor prays for his soul) and was also surprised that while I and my father are on either ends of the spectrum of this issue, we still talk about it and other things. We both love each other very much. And that I am quite a bit more than my sexual orientation. I’m sure that Victor is much more than just a protester. It’s easy to get caught up in the us and them at an event like this. He is not the message. He is just a messenger. Misguided by his leaders and not really prepared for the onslaught of gentle discussion and questions about his beliefs.”

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The Eighties.  Oh the Eighties.

Mark and I met at Encina High School in Sacramento where he was a grade younger than me and was known for being brilliant, sensitive, and sincerely individual — and for wearing a cape.  A human. A superhero.

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2 thoughts on “Mark David Winchester: “Remember that I’m human”

  1. Thank you. Your words are so very lovely. A compassionate remembrance, cape and all. Blessings, Angelica Holiday

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