My Farewell to Marc

Update:6:00PM Mountain Time, December 12th, 2007

The Services commemorating the life of Marc Orchant where held today. It was a somber affair not a dry eye in the house. There were hundreds of people attending, overflowing the parking lot and the fixed seating. A number of people spoke: Marc’s daughter, Rebecca, gave an incredibly moving eulogy with remarkable composure. Marc, I am certain, was very proud.

I also spoke. I wanted to share the words I read to share my memories of Marc and the Friend who has left me behind. Be gentle; my heart is on my sleeve with this one.

Eulogy : Farewell, Marc.springtime.jpg
Good morning. As you may have heard, Marc used to say that I had my own time zone.

I’ve even heard that I’ll be late to my own memorial service so I’m sure Marc isn’t the least but surprised that I’m late today…

I have to tell you; I can’t imagine how Sue and Rebecca and Jason must feel right now. Marc and I were friends for only a short time – just about two years – and yet I myself feel so lost without him.

Sue sent me a text message this morning at 4AM. She told me to get some sleep. But I didn’t. I was afraid that if I fell asleep I’d be late (or even later than I already am). You see when Marc and I traveled on business he’d be my alarm clock. If I didn’t answer the phone he’d come and get me. He’d knock softly on the door; if I didn’t stir, he’d open it and in that soft voice I’m sure you all remember he’d say,

“Time to get going, Pal. We don’t want to be late.”

I’m sure he knew we were going to be late. I am always late. Of course you all know that Marc was always on time. Always. Yet in spite of this flaw of mine, Marc never once – never once lost patience with me. I don’t really know why. I don’t know what I did so right to have someone so spectacular take such a liking to me that he’d overlook a characteristic so contradictory to his own nature.

His patience never waned although he had every right to be annoyed. Typically I’d rush down to the hotel lobby and Marc would be sitting there, waiting patiently. He’d smile his broad smile, ask me if I was ready, and head for the door, his broad strides forcing me to take two steps for every one of his.

I met Marc when he joined Foldera. For me, he was the silver lining in what ended up being an otherwise bad experience. The day we met we simply clicked and that bond grew as we worked together, planned together, shared our various life experiences with one another, and grew closer and closer as time passed.

When we both left Foldera (resigning within two weeks of one another) we knew that we wanted to work together again as soon as possible. We got that chance this fall when I joined a new blog network and immediately recommended Marc as co-editor.

Although that experience didn’t quite work out as planned as you may have read on my blog- it nevertheless gave Marc and I the chance to attend another couple of events together – the highlight of which was live-blogging DEMO Fall, tag team style.
At the time of his passing, Marc and I had become so close that we spoke to each other every day. Using our respective strengths to help one another to become more successful, working through problems, making future plans and – of course – telling stories. Marc loved the title Chief Storyteller – for that’s what Marc is.

Because we spoke every day, I can tell you a few things that you might not know. Marc was just about to begin a new chapter of his career with the David Allen company. If you knew Marc at all, you knew of his passion for the Getting Things Done life-management strategy of which he was a “black belt” practitioner.

What you may not know is that Getting Things Done is the 7 Habits of tomorrow. I am convinced it is the next big thing in time management strategies.

In life there are those rare instances where all the preparation you’ve done before, all the experience you’ve accumulated, all your stored knowledge and your body of prior work intersect with an exploding trend. When this happens you get famous. You get rich. You get everything you ever wanted.

I believe with all my heart that Marc was at the precipice of just such a moment and I told him so on more than one occasion. He was so excited to finally be working with David Allen – “his guru” – the really cool thing is the David and all the executives at David’s company were just as excited to be working with Marc.

In fact, anyone that had the chance to work with Marc was excited about it. Such is Marc’s professionalism, his ethics, his obvious skills, his diplomacy and his energy that he added enormously to every single thing he touched both professionally and personally.

And anyone — and I really mean anyone — benefitted from knowing Marc. In fact, I really don’t know what I’m going to do without this man that had in such a short time become my closest and most influential friend.

When Marc was struck ill I was torn between the desire to be there at his bedside and the understanding that my presence there might distract from the things that needed to be done. Sue is such a gracious hostess that I was afraid she might be worried about me when she needed to worry about Marc and herself.

I felt I’d be more useful as a source of news and information – both because I know that’s what Marc would have done for me and because I knew that once the community learned what had happened they would be clamoring for updates about their friend. I didn’t want the Orchant Family to have to be fielding hundreds of calls so I centralized the news on a new blog I’d created with pages specifically devoted to providing updates and information about Marc’s condition.

It is testimony to just how special Marc is that there are hundreds upon hundreds of comments across the blog I created and the one where I first posted the news of Marc’s emergency. If you haven’t done so, you really should take a moment when you have some quiet time and take a look at this page. Marc was loved by so many people. he touched the lives of people he had never even met. He was respected by even the most elite members of the technology community and he gave of himself freely, frequently and with pleasure.

When Sue called me to give me the devastating news that Marc was not going to recover I was again torn about going to be at his bedside for those last hours. I had just been with Marc and his family right before Thanksgiving, staying at their home for a few days. We did a presentation, attended an awards banquet, saw two movies, played with many gadgets, laughed, and of course, Marc told stories…

When they dropped me off at the airport Marc gave me one of his typical great bear hugs. “Fly Safe, Pal” he said. “I’ll see you soon.”

I didn’t want the last time I saw Marc to be in a hospital bed surrounded by machines. I feel that he wasn’t there anymore anyway. I believe that our bodies are simply containers for our souls and when our time here ends our souls leave them behind.

Marc and I were even talking about something similar during my visit. I had noted that all the greatest guitar players seem to pass away just as they reached the peak of their skills. I contended that they passed because they were being drafted for a bigger gig. Only the best for the “A” team upstairs I said only half joking. Marc didn’t disagree.

I guess that someone with a lot more on his schedule needed an expert on Getting Things Done and so he called for the best there was…

I only wish he could have waited longer. Marc, my friend; thank you for all the good you brought into my life. Thank you for the great advice and for the never ending enthusiasm. Thank you for the kindness and the early morning and late evening talks. Thank you for making me a better writer and a more complete human being. Thank you for your stories and your wisdom and your love. But most of all, Thank you for being you. I will miss you always but never, ever forget you.

Love Is Stronger Than Death Lyrics
The The, Matt Johnson

Me & my friend were walking
In the cold light of mourning.
Tears may blind the eyes but the soul is not deceived
In this world even winter isn’t what it seems.

Here come the blue skies Here comes springtime.
When the rivers run high & the tears run dry.
When everything that dies.
Shall rise.

LoveLoveLove is stronger than death.
LoveLoveLove is stronger than death.

In our lives we hunger for those we cannot touch.
All the thoughts unuttered & all the feelings unexpressed
Play upon our hearts and souls and won’t ever let us rest
But, awoken by grief, our spirits speak
“How could you believe that the life within the seed
that grew arms that reached
And a heart that beat.
And lips that smiled
And eyes that cried.
Could ever die?”

Here come the blue skies Here comes springtime.
When the rivers run high & the tears run dry.
When everything that dies.
Shall rise.

Because Love is stronger than death.

About Oliver

Oliver Starr is a well known blogger, speaker and serial entrepreneur. His current blogging is focused on mobile technology and applications, green (eco-protective) technologies, and entrepreneurs and their companies. He is currently engaged as the Community Evangelist for, a new social curation tool. Oliver was also a professional cyclist and six time member of the US National Cycling Team.
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4 Responses to My Farewell to Marc

  1. Thanks for this, Oliver. I love Marc and miss him, but I know your bond was so much tighter than possibly anyone on this earth (exception: Sue and family).

    This was an amazing eulogy. Stay strong, my friend.

  2. RickGreenblatt says:


    Thanks for the words for Marc and family. I was with Marc the night before his passing. You captured what Marc is, and shared it for many.

    All the best.

    Rick Greenblatt

  3. DanB says:

    Oliver – Incredible. Thank you for sharing this. Would it be ok if made contact by email?

  4. DavidAllen says:


    Not being a regular visitor in your world, I feel a little awkward in how to frame my thoughts…so I’ll just be direct (what a concept!)

    I (and the others on our senior team in the David Allen Company) are still dazed by Marc’s passing. I was sent a link to your comments, and I feel moved to both thank you for your acknowledgement of Marc’s relationship with me/us, and to second that emotion about how excited we all were to have his focus in helping create and fill a very important position with us in the spread of GTD.

    Marc was the poster boy of the student/master timing stuff – meaning that his immediate and deep grok of GTD challenged me to a new level of awareness and subtlety. It was his love, understanding, and passion for this work that made him an instant colleague, at least informally. And to bring his talents inside, in a professional relationship, to assist us in GTD expansion – not just in the tech world but also in education – was a dream come true on our side as well.

    I go on the working hypothesis that there’s a bigger game, and Marc’s chuckling right now wherever he is, probably pulling strings and helping out even better than when he was confined in his body. But that doesn’t diminish my personal sense of loss for a consciousness and heart that was extraordinary.

    Best wishes,

    David Allen

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