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A View from Main Street: A booming voice, warm personality

Star Editor

It was sad to hear that Mark Lawson, a past president of the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce, had passed away. Perhaps it was his entertainer past (he was a member of the 1960s band Newbury Park), but Mark brought the gift of gab along with a booming voice when he ascended to the top of the chamber ranks. It was those traits that served Mark well as he presided over the chamber during a robust period in the mid-2000s.

Like many of us, however, Mark, too, felt the effects of the recession. Business couldn’t have been better for Mark when he was selling real estate at Oak Hills Properties. But times were tough when the bottom fell out.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t take my own advice,” Mark told me during an interview in 2008. “When I was making low six figures I was spending in the mid-six figures.”

Initially after the downturn, he wasn’t worried about making a living.

“When the real estate market was tanking, I knew I had a college degree.”

But after sending out an estimated 325 resumes he knew he was in trouble. Friends Steve and Gretchen Custer gave him a position in their FISH Window Cleaning Service franchise, and he began selling a health drink supplement. Finally, however, he and his wife Rebecca decided to move to the East Coast to be closer to their daughter Tess and her family in New Hampshire.

I didn’t hear from Mark since our chat in front of Bodacious Bundts three years ago, but I’d wonder how he and Becky were doing. Although I was completely surprised to hear he had died, I’m reminded of his grateful, hopeful words when talking about his special time in the Victor Valley.

“The Lord provided things we didn’t expect,” Mark said.

***

LAST WEEK ALSO marked the passing of Stuart Kellogg, a former longtime Daily Press writer who captured the essence of the Victor Valley through his thoughtful, well-crafted words in his “A Dry Heat” columns. Stuart, who I had the honor to know personally for 23 years, retired four years ago as the industry he helped build was struggling to redefine its mission. Stuart possessed something precious that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle as the industry widget-ifies its way to solvency and, hopefully, profitability: heart.

***

SPEAKING OF DEPARTURES, yours truly will soon be leaving the Hesperia Star and moving onto a job in the Los Angeles area. It’s going to be a good opportunity for me to shake things up a little bit and concentrate on different challenges. Meanwhile, the Star is in extremely good hands, and there are many exciting things planned for the future. I’ll share more about those next week.


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