I can confidently say I was the person in the newsroom who worked the most intimately with Mark Beardsley. From his interview to take on the position of newsroom clerk to the day he called me to say that he wished to resign, I saw Mark come in day in and day out with a smile and a lunch box that contained Wheat Thins and peanut butter.
He was humbler than I could ever be. He was soft spoken, but what he said, he meant. I never saw him angry. I never saw him less than joyous.
What I learned from Mark Beardsley was meekness has much more of a lasting impact than physical strength, a boisterous voice or perceived status.
For those who never met Mark Beardsley, he was the first voice you would hear when you called the newsroom. Over the last two years, he handled obituaries for our weekly publications. He organized church news and typed up police reports.
He also made sure that each person’s birthday in the room was not forgotten by personally making sure goodies, plastic ware or plates where ready for our in-office newsroom celebrations. He would listen most intently when individuals would call in to give their relative or friends’ birthdays. He would spell them back and make sure you knew the exact day of the week that name would appear in the paper.
And, he was the first person to accept an invitation to an area church or to an local program.
Even taking the most difficult calls, he was never loud. Things that could affect even the most focused person, drew little attention from him.
And to me, one of the most important takeaways from his demeanor was how his presence could be felt when he was, as well as, was not in a room. He was a part of a newsroom that is made up of an interesting mix of people. He complemented the space and will not be forgotten by anyone who has come in contact with his kind, gentle soul.
Even now as I pack my things to leave the office for the day, his empty desk sits in front of me in the same manner he left it on his last day. I want to say “Go home, Mark,” which was my normal salutation for my friend who was often the last person in the room.
For my own feelings it is hard to say, but I know Mark is home. He is at peace and that is all I could ever want from him: peace and for just a little bit of of his gentleness to have permeated to me.