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June 26, 2003

OBITUARY: Mark Francis McKiel

Institutional Advancement (IA) staff member Mark Francis McKiel died June 8, 2003, of blunt force trauma from a motorcycle accident in Conemaugh Township. He was 41.

McKiel had been on the staff at IA since December 1998, starting as a student caller for Pitt Telefund. In October 1999, he began working full time as a client systems specialist. In that position he was responsible for technical support for a staff of 100, said Albert Novak Jr., interim vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement. “He installed hardware and software and he was our trouble-shooter. If you had a problem you called Mark and he would fix it. He was very well thought of, and we will miss him.”

According to Mimi Koral, director of Alumni Communications, “Mark and I became buddies when he started working on the same floor where I was. People who didn’t know him would see the tough exterior. But, when I had to have surgery last year he sat waiting with my husband until I came out of surgery. That’s the kind of guy he was.”

Novak said, “Mark was very intense about everything. I got to know him when we started working out together. He was a martial arts instructor and practitioner. Since I was interested in that, he offered to teach me. I learned to never get in a fight with a martial arts expert.”

McKiel had several hobbies, Novak said. “He gardened, and he didn’t just grow a couple heads of lettuce; he cultivated peppers, the hot kind, and grew bucket loads of tomatoes. He also had a massive aquarium. He skied,” Novak said. “And when he skied, he didn’t take the easy paths; he didn’t just go straight down hill. He went full blast. It was the way he did everything. He cooked, and I mean he really cooked.”

Koral recalled: “We used to rotate bringing in Friday breakfasts. Most people brought in sweet rolls or doughnuts. When it was Mark’s turn, he made us all omelets.”

An Oakland resident, McKiel earned a B.A. in information science at the School of Information Sciences in December 2001.

McKiel is survived by his father, Paul of Bridgeton, N.C.; his mother, Carol Larson of the Allentown area; and brothers Bruce, also of Allentown, and Colin, who is in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Dix.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Mark F. McKiel Youth Karate Sponsorship Fund, c/o Colin A. McKiel, 1296-B Fir Street, Fort Dix, NJ 08640.

—Peter Hart

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