- Rick McCrabb Staff Writer
A fund has been opened at the Middletown Community Foundation to benefit St. John XXIII Elementary School in memory of Middletown Municipal Court Judge Mark Wall, who died Feb. 11. He was 70.
Wall’s wife of 45 years, Linda, said the endowment was funded by memorial donations made at his funeral. She said St. John XXIII was selected because of the “religious foundation” taught there. She was unsure how the endowment will be used and didn’t want to disclose its amount. Wall graduated from Bishop Fenwick High School in 1964 and was inducted into the Fenwick Hall of Achievement.
This also will be the first Memorial Day celebration at Woodside Cemetery without Wall, a Vietnam veteran who for years served as master of ceremonies and emcee. He also served as emcee at several Veterans Day events.
Wall gave the keynote speech last year during the Memorial Day observance at Woodside Cemetery.
For the last several years, the master of ceremonies for the Memorial Day event has been T. Duane Gordon, executive director of the Middletown Community Foundation. To prepare, Gordon said he watched tapes of Wall, whom he called the “master.”
“His love for country was inspiring, and his respect for those who had served was unconditional,” Gordon said. “I was genuinely moved by his remarks that day.”
Other organizations have also decided to honor Wall.
The ninth annual Veterans Memorial Scholarship Golf Event, set for Aug. 19, will honor Wall. The board of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati is trying to identify local veterans to assist with their housing needs, said Carl Bergman, one of Wall’s close friends and board member.
Wall is being recognized for his “longstanding support of veterans,” Bergman said.
He said Habitat For Humanity has a program that will make repairs to a veterans home, free of charge, up to $15,000 for qualifying veterans.
Linda Wall said she always understood the impact her husband had on the community. But after greeting mourners at Wall’s visitation and listening to the eulogies at his funeral, that understanding grew.
“When everything was on full display it was overwhelming,” she said. “Someone in the Journal wrote that Mark may have been the most powerful man in Middletown. I said that before, and now I really believe it. He loved the city and the community. He was a go-to guy.”
Those lessons, his wife said, came from his parents, Robert and Dorothy Wall, and from his family’s lengthy military history.
“Early on, it was instilled in him to help people,” she said. “He lived it with his relatives. He was very devoted to veterans. He always honored veterans. He never stopped helping.”