Just days before his Father's Day story featured in the weekend issue of Parade was to appear, Lt. Col. Mark Weber passed away at his Minnesota home after battling cancer for three years. Weber was 44 when he died. The decorated military man was diagnosed with stage four gastrointestinal cancer at the age of 41.
Realizing the high chance that he would not live long into his three sons' adulthoods, he began writing letters to them to offer the advice he would have if he lived. The letters are compiled in his book "Tell My Sons: A Father's Lasts Letters." Weber also shares stories of his own childhood, his father and the life lessons he has gleaned through the years.
In the Star Tribune obituary Weber is quoted, "There are very few moments in my life that have struck me as profoundly as when I realized my parents were not perfect. I wanted my kids to see I'm not perfect. I want them to see that in my life, I've learned there is virtue in failure. Hard things are not something to be ashamed of. They are part of the deal."
After learning of his diagnosis, Weber understood that the news would spread quickly. His concern was for his sons and how this would affect them. Weber said, "When we told them, it was important for me to tell them what they needed to know and what we were going to do about it. We said they would see people crying and angry, but that I'm still here. I'm still me."
And just weeks before passing, Weber showed his sons that he was still himself as he spoke at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Memorial Day. Weber was also awarded the Legion of Merit in Aug. 2012.
An excerpt from his book, which was recently picked up by Random House, was featured in Parade the day after he passed.
In the piece Weber shares a story about his father. Weber describes how the view of his father evolved over his childhood, youth and adulthood. He expressed a hope that his own sons would learn to see the wisdom and love he was trying to share.
"I know your memories of me may be dominated by visions of the same hard hand my dad held over me, and naturally I want you to see virtue in my madness. I can only hope my stories about his actions will help you see the wisdom (and feel the love) in mine," Weber wrote.
Father, author, military man to be featured in Parade passes away
Lt. Col. Mark Weber talks about his book "Tell My Sons: A Father's Last Letters" and why he wrote it.
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