Mark Stinson Dies June 20, 2005
By Ismail Turay Jr.
Dayton Daily News
FAIRBORN | In the end, Mark Stinson, a Fairborn school board member, had had enough of the pain, the doctor visits and the chemotherapy.
No one has ever beaten angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that begins in the blood vessels, and doctors couldn't do much more for him, his family said. His only wish before going to join his dad and a former classmate was that he get his family's blessings.
Stinson died June 20. He was 45.
He was nearing his second full year on the school board.
"He brought a great deal of common sense to the board," Superintendent Dave Scarberry said, adding that Stinson attended the district's sporting events even during chemotherapy.
"He loved this town. He loved the school district. Whenever you saw Mark, he had on a Fairborn shirt."
His love for the district and his desire to make a difference in young people's lives are what compelled him to run for school board, his wife and friends said. The district has been facing financial problems the past several years, and he wanted to help turn things around, his wife, Jackie Stinson said.
"He was very serious about his work on the school board," fellow board member Gregory Spahr said. "He was an important part of the team. He helped make tough decisions to get us back on tract."
School board president Don Pugh agreed.
"Mark Stinson was a man who was focused on service to his church, his family, his community," Pugh said. "He's going to be greatly missed."
Mark Stinson, a three-sport athlete at then Fairborn Park Hills High School, had been a coach at Fairborn schools for several years.
Months before he was diagnosed with cancer, Stinson had a lot of pain near his bladder but did not go to a doctor until he saw blood in his urine. Doctors found a tumor the size of an egg. Two weeks later, it had expanded to the size of a baseball.
"Doctors said we may not have a happy ending," Jackie Stinson said.
Mark Stinson reacted so well to chemotherapy that doctors thought he beat the cancer when they did a CAT scan and did not see the tumor, his wife said.
But a few months later, the cancer returned and he had to go through chemotherapy again.
His former Fairborn Park Hills classmates raised money to help pay for his medical bills by hosting a spaghetti dinner and silent auction, said former classmate and longtime friend Tim Thompson, who now works for the Dayton Daily News.
Half of the money collected went to another classmate who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Shortly after the fund-raiser, Stinson's cancer spread to his lungs. Doctors told him they weren't sure if they could do anything about it. Stinson asked that he be taken home to die in his own bed.
"That's the way he wanted it; he wanted to be home," Jackie Stinson said. "He told me, 'If I get into trouble again, I don't want to be resuscitated. I don't want to be brought back. I'm really tired of fighting.'"
Before he died, Stinson talked with his wife, two children, his mother and three brothers, Thompson said. He wanted to make sure they were all at peace with his death. With that, Stinson took his last breath, ending his yearlong fight.
The school district has 30 days to name a replacement.