My name is Marlene Richey. On the 4th of August, 1997, I suffered a slight brain stem embolism, but that is not what this is about. The following article is about my son, Mark who was in the Army in Heidelberg, Germany. Mark was Major Doctor, Chief of Staff of OBGYN at the Army base in Heidelberg. The following article is taken from "The European Stars and Stripes", August 30, 1997 edition . Though they first thought it was a heart attack, it was a cerebral aneurysm.
Popular Heidelberg doctor dies after heart attack
by Effie Bathen
Heidelberg, Germany--Dr. (Maj) Mark L. McDowell, chief of the obstetrics and gynecology clinic at the U.S. Army hospital in Heidelberg, died Thursday as the result of a cerebral hemorrhage suffered Wednesday at Patton Barracks. He was 41.
Friends said that he loved to play basketball, and he was on the court nearly every day. It was during one of those games with friends that he collapsed, medical officials said. Their efforts to revive him failed, and they called an ambulance. He was taken to the Heidelberg University heart clinic, then to the neurology clinic across town.
His death was "like a bolt out of the blue," sudden and unpreventable, said the hospital commander, Col. Edward Huycke. Despite his recruiting-poster good looks, "he was a kind of old Dr. Welby," said Col. Iris West, the hospital's chief nurse, referring to the TV series doctor who knew everybody in town and solved his or her problems.
He called each of his patients "young lady" and kept the front desk staff hopping, always asking the workers to schedule patients who would call on short notice. "He had the people on his regular schedule and an equal number of people who would walk in, said Huycke, half joking.
"Oh, my God, I feel so devastated," said Tracy Kyriakeas, a longtime patient. Like many of his patients, she said she grieved for him not only as a medical adviser, but also as a friend. "I have this picture of a young, vibrant man who made me feel so comfortable in a scary situation," said Kyriakeas, who had major surgery last year.
McDowell openly expressed concern that the Army did not have enough resources for the long lines of patients. "We're turning them away," he would complain, most worried about young women who were not seen for checkups. He and four other doctors delivered as many as 60 babies a month, West said. His clinic served women in nine military communities. They came from as far North as Friedberg and as far East as Stuttgart.
The Doctor was also an elder at the Calvary Baptist Church, a second-story room with plastic chairs in the light industrial section of town behind Campbell Barracks. He had two undergraduate degrees in Theology, one from Oral Roberts University . McDowell was scheduled to give the sermon Sunday. A memorial service is scheduled for 4 P M Wednesday in the Wilson Theater, next to the clinic where he worked since 1994--his first assignment following completion of his residency at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center. He will be interred in Denver. The theater building is the only one on Nachrichten Casern large enough to hold the more than 300 people expected to attend.
Marks main goal in his life was to tell people about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. I thank God for the years that he let me be Marks' Mom, here on earth. I think there are not words to describe how a shock like this hits us, but many of you on this support group, know what I mean.
Mark left a young wife and 5 children, me, his Mom and his stepdad, one brother and two sisters. We miss him so very much. My grief is quite heavy, but God has given me many blessings and enabled me to attend the funeral. Mark, truly was a soldier, for our Lord. The many people at his Memorial in Heidelberg and his funeral in Denver, were testimony to that. Because Mark knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour and all of us in immediate family do know Jesus also, we know that we shall be with him again one day. None of us in the family know of any previous signs that this aneurysm was there. Mark died the day after I got the message that he had collapsed.
We loved Mark so much, he was so special to us.
We miss you Mark. Mom
My Son Mark
Marlene Richey is mother to Mark L. McDowell who died August 28, 1997. Marlene and her husband David still live at Sidney, MT. Mark's family is in Colorado. Brother Montie is a Medical Technologist and lives in Montana as does sister, Kathy. Kim a sister to Mark lives in Missouri. Life goes on, we trust God and do our best, with His comfort and strength to go on with our lives and God's plan for us. Montie wrote "Soldier In Christ" in memory of His brother, Mark. It has been four years ago today (May 31, 1994) that the families met down at Sheridan, Wyoming to tell Mark and family goodbye. Little did we know, that it was to Heaven from Germany.
Soldier In Christ
We bid you not farewell,
but only for a little while 'good-night'
Yet the good-night is not ours to bid,
but yours, it is we who linger in the darkness,
you are in Gods' holy light.
Our night shall soon be passed and with it all our weeping.
We praise God for you and hope and expect to praise God with you.
Defender of the faith, there is not doubt, Jesus answered your hearts
desire, 'the words you hoped to hear, with a pat on the back'
"Well done! My faithful servant."