MARK SEAWARD: A UNIQUE SOUL
Although long, please read this homage in its entirity.
The False Bay RFC community was rocked to the core with the sudden passing of one of its favourite sons, Mark Seaward on Wednesday 16 April 2014. He was aged 45.
Rarely does someone touch so many lives in such a positive manner as did Mark.
Educated at Norman Henshilwood High School, Mark was always a larger than life character with an innate love for his fellow man, a love which was to endure and is identified by all as his outstanding feature.
Mark joined False Bay RFC many years ago and immediately made an impact. He represented the First XV at lock with a style of play which mimicked his off the field persona. He played hard on and off the pitch and made friends of team and club mates as well as opposition.
Mark was forced to retire prematurely from the game for medical reasons but his involvement at False Bay continued.
Talk to any player of Mark’s era and a common thread of camaraderie runs through. He believed in strong team spirit and was extremely proud of his club and the Bay ethos. He contributed in no small way to perpetuating that ethos, as a player and as a non-playing member.
Stories abound of how Mark involved newcomers to the club, pulling them into the circle after practice and ensuring that they met the other players at the club. When one considers the daunting environment a newcomer, especially a young one, faces when he joins a club for the first time, Mark’s friendly, smiling face was a welcome beacon to many a new player.
Mark’s participation and support of his beloved Bay never waned after his retirement. He continued to ensure that everyone was welcome at the club and although forced to spend a lot less time there while he dedicated himself to his business and family, no one was spared his infectious energy when he attended matches or functions at the Bay.
He inadvertently introduced a custom which not only became synonymous with him, but ironically epitomised his personality and his approach to others. Mark would call out to someone “half-half”, which simply meant that the nominated person was expected to down half of Mark’s drink, and Mark the other half. It was an infectious custom and everyone, when in his company, seemed to do the same to others.
It had a deeper relevance as Mark never regarded his glass as half-empty, rather always overflowing and more importantly, he always shared what he had with others. It is then a fitting salute to Mark whenever club members employ this custom in the future.
That was the False Bay Mark Seaward and the private Mark Seaward was not much different in essence.
A dedicated family man, he loved his wife Isabelle and daughter Isabella with absolute conviction. He loved to entertain family and friends at his home and was an excellent cook.
Mark had three sisters, Tracy, Sonja and Lizl and he doted on them as well as his mom, Amanda.
Jonathan Lawrence, his brother-in-law, shared some insight on Mark:
“Mark had two passions in his life, his family and his friends. He was the glue that kept it all together. He was the one who got the family together on regular occasions, be it for a braai, a party or a weekend away.
He shared a very special bond with his nephews and nieces and was always the first to greet, squeeze, kiss and tell them how much he loved them when they walked through the gate or when he saw them.
His wife Isabelle, his mother Amanda and his precious daughter Isabella were at the top of the list and he shared a very special bond with all them, always making sure that they were loved and cared for.
Mark worked hard and played hard. He has been building his successful Electrical Contracting Company since 2000 and was starting to reap the rewards for his hard work and determination.
As with everything in his life, there was only one way and that was his way (which usually proved to be “the right way”). He was not one that took no for an answer.
There was no middle ground with Mark; he could be either extremely happy or extremely peeved off, but always quick to forgive.
Mark was compassionate and empathetic person who could not stand seeing children suffer. Whenever an opportunity arose and he was able to make a difference, he would. There is no doubt his heart was as big as he was in stature.
Mark doted on his daughter Isabella. He drew so much joy from her. Their relationship consisted of hugs, kisses, dancing, singing, laughing and many early morning trips to the beach, long drives around the Peninsula. During the week he would phone her each morning from the office to tell her that he loved her and would see her soon.
Mark lived life to the full and the only regret that he may have had is that he will not see his daughter grow up and to support his loving wife. Other than that he had “No Regrets” for the way he lived. Some say that he squeezed 100 years of living into 45 years of life. He lived life to the fullest.
Mark had the rare gift of bringing together people from all walks of life. Once a friend, always a friend. No matter where in the World you were, distance seemed to disappear. One could expect the two a clock in the morning calls just because he wanted to say “Hello” or “Half Half” you and let you know that you were on his mind and in his heart.
His smile and personality were infectious and you could not help but join in, in whatever he was up to. Spontaneity was his middle name and the more spontaneous, the better. He would invite you to lunch and when you arrived he would have invited an army of other people too, there was always room for one more at his table. Lunch would become dinner which would often become an “all-nighter”. He had a presence that could be felt (and heard) when he entered a room. He earned the respect of many, and also commanded it.
One thing Mark did not do well was be alone. The only time that he did not want to see anyone was normally when he was not feeling well. Other than that he rarely spent a weekend without having people around him and his family. He never meant to be the life and soul of the party, but somehow always became it. He drew people towards him and once entangled in his web of infectious personality and laughter there was no escaping it. Caught for life.
He just had a gift of making you feel welcome and included from the first time that you met him.
Mark had no brothers, only his three sisters. Tracy, Sonja and Lizl. They loved each other dearly and all the sisters loved, respected and admired Mark. No one could say anything bad about him or “there was going to be trouble”. They protected each other fiercely.
As brothers-in-law we were completely part of the family, not ever seen as outsiders. We got together on a regular basis. Lots of fun and laughter, but also deep conversations regarding the meaning of life and business, we often contemplated and solved the World’s problems around our family braais.
Mark always cared and showed interest in how you were and always listened intensely. He was liberal with advice and one tended to listen when it was given. Mark will always hold a special place in our hearts”.