I am one of those old-timers, heartbroken when I learned that it was our Mark Hummels. The first time I spoke with Mark I was a sophomore in high school, calling the offices of The Independent inquiring about a tour of the paper to meet a class requirement. The paper had only been publishing a short time, and when he answered the phone he told me to come by the office Tuesday after school. Mark showed me the basics of getting the paper ready for press that week, and found myself there every week for two more years. The Independent in those early days was my home away from home, and was like a family to me. Mark was the big brother I looked up to as a role model. He was funny and eccentric and the smartest guy in the room. I went that week in January 1994 to volunteer and learn about newspapers, I went every subsequent week because I was learning about life. To me, it felt like home, largely due to Mark’s guidance. He was fun and easygoing and got along with everyone. I wasn’t surprised to learn he graduated top of his class or that he was beloved by all who met him. Mark was an all-around great guy, and will always be regarded as an influential character in my life’s narrative. I am fortunate to have had the time I did with him, and value his impact on me.
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