Chris Marker, former JSU department head, dies at 49

Chris Marker, pictured, was a former head of the Department of Applied Engineering at Jacksonville State University. Marker died on March 9 at the age of 49. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)Chris Marker, pictured, was a former head of the Department of Applied Engineering at Jacksonville State University. Marker died on March 9 at the age of 49. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Dacey Dunaway, Correspondent

Chris Marker, former head of Jacksonville State University’s Department of Applied Engineering, died on March 9 due to a long illness.

Marker was a JSU alumnus, earning both his bachelor’s degree in electronics technology and his master’s degree in manufacturing systems technology at JSU. In 2015, he joined the Center for Manufacturing Support as an engineer at JSU. 

In 2017, he became the head of the Department of Applied Engineering, and continued in this role until 2019.

Marker had a 25-year long career as an engineer, working with a plethora of engineering designs such as microwave systems, high power induction heating, industrial/automotive equipment, automotive race chassis and robotic laser work cell designs. 

Not only did Marker have a successful career as an engineer, but he also had a resounding impact on his family, friends, colleagues and students.

Dana Ingalsbe, the current head of the Department of Applied Engineering, lauded Marker as “a talented manufacturing engineer who brought a wealth of experience to the Department of Applied Engineering.”

“His mechanical design expertise was invaluable to countless students over the years as they prepared for successful careers in manufacturing engineering,” said Ingalsbe. “Not only this, but Chris was a mentor and friend to many students and colleagues.”

Don Killingsworth, JSU’s president, also expressed his condolences following the news of Marker’s death.

“I am saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Marker, whose contributions and innovations as a gifted engineer will long be remembered,” said Killingsworth. “On behalf of the entire JSU family, I extend our deepest condolences to the Marker family, whose connection to JSU goes back decades.”

The connection of the Marker family to JSU began with Chris Marker’s father, Dr. Michael Marker, who taught in JSU’s School of Business for 44 years and is now a professor emeritus. His sister, Mica Marker Mecham, is an English instructor and his daughter, Anna Marker, is a current student. 

“For as long as I can remember, Chris loved working with electronics,” Mecham reminisced when asked to share memories of her brother. “He had a curious mind and wanted to know how things worked and why they did what they did.”

Mecham also shared memories of her brother’s dedication to his role at JSU. 

“He was so proud of the work he did at JSU, and he loved teaching what he knew to the students in the Applied Engineering program,” said Mecham. “We cannot thank the University enough for all of the love and support that our family has received during this difficult time.”

Chris’s daughter, Anna Marker, also had special memories to share of her father. She, too, had witnessed the love he had for his job and the people he worked with. 

“He was a mentor to many, and I think that’s what he loved about the job. He was a hard-worker and a fighter,” she said. 

As a student at JSU, Anna Marker had the opportunity to meet her father for lunch, go to his office to talk with him and learn about his work. She said that she is thankful for these experiences. 

“My coming to JSU strengthened our bond,” she said. “I probably learned more about my dad in the almost 5 years I’ve studied at JSU than I have in my entire life.”

Her fondest memory of her father was their 2017 trip to Disney World. 

“At the time, Stitch’s Great Escape was in Disney’s Magic Kingdom,” she said. “None of us wanted to do that attraction, but my Dad practically begged me to do it. It was just really funny to hear my Dad beg me to watch Stitch’s Great Escape with him, and the memory of us on that attraction will always be fond because of it.”

“My Dad has left me with a hole no one else can fill. There was so much more to learn from him, and I am so sad that I can’t pick his brain anymore to learn more,” she continued. “He made me the strong-willed, dedicated, and faithful woman I am today.”

Anna Marker graduates next fall and Mecham expressed that she wishes “Chris would have been able to see Anna graduate next fall.”

“Even though he will not be there to watch her, she will be surrounded by her immediate family, as well as her extended JSU family ready to cheer her on and support her,” said Mecham.

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