A Life Well Lived

When I worked at the L.A. Times’ Ventura County Bureau, every Sunday the reporter on duty was required to scour the death notices, call a relative of the deceased and write an obituary about a “regular” human being.

It was a twist on the old journalism class assignment of interviewing a person at random and writing a profile of them on the theory that everyone has a story that needs to be told. If memory serves, it was based/ripped off from the N.Y. Times, which at one time ran a regular, similar feature called “A Life Well Lived.”

I was reminded of this Saturday when my wife read an unusually long paid obituary in the Daily Breeze about 28-year-old Devon Markert, a Long Beach resident and teacher at Torrance Adult School who died earlier this month of brain cancer after her fourth surgery.

Her obituary read in part:

“She was an avid soccer player throughout her childhood and adolescence, playing on competitive traveling teams and on the 1996 Central California State Championship Buchanan High School team. She credited soccer with giving her an identity, the opportunity to develop and sustain close relations, and the strength to face tough situations with hope and confidence. She stated in a draft of her memoirs: Joining the soccer team was the single most important decision of my life. Soccer helped me forge my identity as a scholar-athlete and kept me distracted when I needed a distraction. I don’t know if I was always good, but I turned into a solid player. The lessons I learned through my various soccer teams and the relationships I made on and off the soccer field were important character-building experiences that continue to carry me through the tough times of today.”

A life well lived indeed.

Devon Markert’s obituary is here.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • http://www.susangaer.com Susan Gaer

    Thank you! Devon was my friend.

  • dpendley

    I am Devon’s mom and am so pleased that you wrote about her love for soccer and how it shaped her life. I was the one who insisted that she play soccer at age 5 as she was so hyperactive and competitive. I took her to all of her practices and stayed and watched. Later I took her to her games and stayed in the hotels with her at the away games as much as I could. I was so proud of her when her team went to the quarter finals of the State Cup. I wanted her to play soccer to learn how to compete and win and lose and stay tough. She learned that first on the soccer field in Fresno. After the first surgery she had to learn how to sit up, stand and walk. She credited the soccer experience for the ability to go through the rehab so fast and well. She was a tough minded person who knew how to win and in the end showed us all how to lose her battle for life with grace, dignity and a positive spirit. She never gave up. My daughter is my hero.