UPDATED: 2:50 p.m., Tuesday, May 3
Monday, Parkway South High School students and staff are mourning the loss of Mark Wade who died Saturday of an apparent heart attack.
Chip Allison, Parkway South's athletic director and Wade's close friend, said he found out about the death when he returned home Saturday evening from a girls track meet. Allison said he was stunned by the news.
"You just can't believe it. There has to be a mistake. This guy walks the golf course all the time. He's in great shape," Allison said.
Wade was just two weeks away from his 60th birthday.
Allison said he and Wade both came to Parkway 30 years ago together, and he's known Wade even longer. In fact, Allison said Wade used to own an extermination business when they were both beginning teachers. Allison said he worked for Wade for a couple summers to make some extra money.
Since that time, Allison said Wade has made many accomplishments that have earned him the respect of his students and colleagues.
"A great man. You can't say one bad thing about him. The kids love him," Allison said. "He has turned our golf program into a public school of power. He took over a program that was pretty good and made it into a power."
Allison's teams won the 2000 state championship and seven district titles in the last 11 years.
"Scott Langley played for Mark. Now he's the defending NCAA Champion in golf and the first Parkway student athlete to ever win a NCAA Individual Championship Division," Allison said. "I think Scott would be the first to tell you that Coach Wade played a big part in his life."
Allison said Wade was also a math teacher at South and the department chair. He leaves behind a wife and three daughters who all attended South. One of his daughters is now a teacher at Parkway's Hanna Woods Elementary School. Allison said he has not spoken with Wade's family, but South's principal has been in contact with his wife. Allison said he and others are trying to give the family the privacy it needs during this time.
A tribute service to Wade will be held from 6 - 6:45 p.m. Tuesday in South's Gym A for students, parents, staff and friends.
"When you think of Mark, you think of everything positive. A great man, husband, father, teacher, coach, colleague and a good friend. Everyone is hurting," Allison said. "It's just a huge loss for us."
South staff tells Patch that a memorial scholarship is being established to honor Wade. Contributions can be directed to the "Mark Wade Scholarship Fund" and sent to Parkway South High School, 801 Hanna Road, Manchester, Missouri, 63021.
Wade's death came in the middle of the boys golf playoffs, in which South won the district team title on Wednesday. Allison said the team advanced to the sectional this coming Wednesday in Poplar Bluff, MO. Students will still play in that tournament, but Allison said he hopes to keep any additional pressure off team members as they head into the competition.
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