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History Briefs

Stewart Mark: ‘Coach’

In addition to being a brilliant oil and gas lawyer, Stewart Mark was known for his warm personality, keen sense of humor, and quick wit. So when the firm needed a host to emcee its annual party — someone they knew could make people laugh and bring a smile to everyone’s faces — they turned to Mark.

And when lawyers — particularly younger lawyers — needed someone to confide in or ask for advice, Mark was frequently the senior partner to whom they turned. Time and time again, he would welcome them into his office and take a genuine interest in their lives and careers. To many, he was not only a colleague, but also a friend, mentor and coach.

But to his grandson Mark Malone, a McAfee & Taft alumnus who worked at the firm for 20 years and was named after his grandfather, he was just “Coach.”

“Lots of people, lots of kids, have a name for their grandparents and ours was ‘Coach’ and ‘Granny,’” said Malone. “Coach was just Coach because he liked baseball and liked to give me tips and tell me what I was doing right and wrong.”

But Coach was more than a grandfather to Malone, whose own father died when he was in high school. Coach was also a mentor, friend, and lifelong role model, teaching him lessons that Malone said would help him decades later as he raised his own children.

Stewart Mark died in 1993, nine years before his grandson graduated from law school, so the two never had the opportunity to work with each other at McAfee & Taft. Nevertheless, Malone said he understands and appreciates the lasting impact his grandfather’s presence had on the firm.

“As I have come to find out from talking to lawyers and friends here at the firm, Coach was really a coach here, too. He was a mentor. He would bring younger and older lawyers together and sort of teach them what he knew,” Malone said. “And that’s hard to find in lawyers sometimes. I mean, if you can find a true mentor, you have a gift.”

“Lots of lawyers have egos, but that wasn’t him,” he said. “He would deflect the praise to others, and even though he was the brainchild behind it, someone else got the credit. That was just the way he was.”