My deepest Sympathy to the Kark Family.
Neil Kark was my dear, dear lifelong friend.
As older adults we might not speak for weeks, living in distant cities, then call on the telephone and pick up the conversation as if we had seen each other that morning. Neil could help you analyze a difficult subject, sort it all out very well, and then turn it all over at the end with his clever original joke and his shy laugh!
As teenagers, Neil was my best friend. In Junior High we met and walked home together to defend ourselves against a gang that often waited in the cemetery near our homes in Pueblo. We were both in the orchestra and partners on the debate team that competed successfully all over the Rocky Mountain Conference. We were both in Centennial Rocket Club when an explosion nearly killed him, melting his glasses and seriously burning his face and arms.
Neil always dove whole heartedly into a new project. Once he casually asked his Mom if he could dig out a new room for himself in the crawlspace under Joe and Ruthie's home; not objecting clearly, Neil quickly called me to come help him shovel! We were the only kids who drug Main Street after football games in the Kark Furniture delivery truck. We learned how to crawl up through the ladder behind the stage and climb out onto the roof of the old Centennial High School. We'd lower an object by string to tap on windows below, much to the teachers' confusion. We figured out how to set off firecrackers in the hallway while we were sitting innocently in class. There's much more teenage boy mischief, too many to tell. . The Statute of Limitations has passed hasn't it?
Our gang were the good students and we took our studies seriously. Study groups and homework were essential.
Neil was a great intellect who always had the desire to try hard and to learn new things. His BA was in Anthropology from the University of Colorado. He loved to read science fiction and he frequently thought outside the box; who else would build his first home as an amateur builder as a geodesic dome on the sloping hillside above Boulder, Colorado?
And Neil was always devoted and very serious about his faith; he often took the time to teach me a lot about Judaism.
Much that Neil taught me about his Jewish faith remain today in understanding my Christian faith. I will always be grateful.
The main thing you would notice right away about Neil is his kindness and genuine compassion for others. His radar was always up on how to be kind to those around him. He constantly loaned money to people at work he knew would never pay him back. He stored toys and treats at his house to give to any kid visiting. He found ways to help others. He was always helping his family and friends. Neil was generous and had a quiet way of giving. Neil was loyal. If he was your friend you could always count on him.
Neil was frugal. We often drove miles to go out for dinner where he had a "two for one" coupon. He was humble, not flashy, and drove cars for transportation not looks. He loved to find a bargain.
Finally, Neil Kark had a great sense of humor. He often told a very subtle joke with just the slightest hint of a smile on the corner if his mouth and a twinkle in his eye. As his good friend I was often the object of a practical joke. My feet hurt when we walked through DisneyWorld only to discover Neil had stuffed orange peels into the toes of my shoes. Or letting me know after I had lost the coin toss every night all week and had slept on the worst ever roll-away-bed, that he had glued four coins together to head-head and tail-tail before he called the toss. There are too many to tell here.
As a friend, I loved Neil. In tears I close knowing my life would have been very much less without Mr. Neil Kark and his family, and also knowing my final trail here will be lonely without him.
God bless you, Neil.