Passing of Mark Belsterling, Philadelphia Area Adobe Flex User Group ManagerUPDATE 09/21/07: Some of you may now be arriving at this entry automatically if you visited http://www.paflex.org/ - I have redirected requests from the paflex.org site to this entry on the Philadelphia Flash Platform group site to let people know about Mark's passing as his site will not be updated until we can solidify future plans for the group. If you would like to see Mark's site and his last update, you may visit it directly here: http://www.paflex.org/old-index.html Please read on for more information.
I am sad to report that this past Saturday, September 8th, Mark Belsterling passed away. He was the manager of our sister group, the Philadelphia Area Adobe Flex User Group.
His wife Julee wrote me Sunday morning to let me know. She said that Mark had been having health problems all this past summer, and Friday afternoon she had to admit him to the hospital. Saturday afternoon he went into cardiac arrest and passed away shortly afterwards.
An obituary entry for Mark can be found here: http://www.legacy.com/ReadingEagle/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonID=94229197
As many of you know, the group was fairly new having only started back in June, but Mark was dedicated and doing a great job so far lining up venues, speakers and meetings.
We are going to try to continue the group in on form or another, but will obviously need some time to re-group. We are going to postpone the meeting that was originally scheduled for this coming Thursday until we have a new plan in place. The website for PAFLEX - http://www.paflex.org/ - probably won't get updated for a bit either. In fact its being redirected to this entry for the time being to let members know.
I first met Mark about a year ago in December when he came to the Philadelphia Creative Guide Mega-Party to benefit toys-for-tots, and then again when he began to attend our Flash Platform user group meetings. He was generally very quiet and reserved, but really passionate and excited about Flex when you got a chance to speak with him one on one.
Mark, always wanted to learn and share as much as he could about Flex and was always taking copious notes in his notepad he carried with him. He got interested in starting a group and becoming a manager, I believe after attending one of the NY Flex UG meetings that Shlomy Gantz runs. From there things just took off and in June Mark had started the group here in Philly with a bit of help from myself, Derek Wischusen and Ed Sullivan at Adobe.
I had just been trading emails with Mark all last week up until this past Friday morning about securing the location for the meeting, which is why his death was so unexpected.
I was really only getting to know Mark myself the past few months, so besides his passions and interest in Flex and software I hadn’t had a chance to get to know to much about him personally. If you look at his resume however: http://www.belsterling.com/assetsRoot/MarkBelsterlingResume.pdf - You will see he had been around technology and software for many years with a long tenure at Lockheed Martin – going all the way back to having worked on the software guidance/navigation system for the Trident II missile defense system.
I would like to share a little bit that his wife Julee shared with me. I just met Julee a couple weeks ago at the recent Adobe AIR Bus event tour that many of you also attended - here is what Julee shared with me:
“...all Mark would talk about was Flex and the people he had worked with. He spoke very often about the quality of people he was meeting. It was almost the only thing he talked about.”
“As far as what to post/share with the User Group, I can tell you that his passing was very unexpected. The doctor’s and nurses had no indication as to what to be prepared for, as was I. He went very quietly after a few labored breaths, so I don’t believe that he knew what was happening. Mark will be cremated on Tuesday, and plans for an informal gathering of friends and family will be held here, in the mountains he loved. I have not had time to think about when this gathering will take place. I can share with you that the only things he wanted to take with him to the hospital, were 3 Flex books, 3 sizes of sticky-notes, 2 pens and one highlighter.”
I wish I was able to share more about Mark with everyone, I simply didn’t know him long enough to learn much more than his passion for Flex and software development and his desire to share his knowledge with other likeminded individuals.
If anyone else on the list knew Mark a bit better, or would like to share anything, stories, notes, condolences, etc. with his wife Julee, you may pass them on to me via our contact form and I will make sure they get to his wife Julee.
I am sure she would be pleased and comforted to hear from anyone who might have known Mark.
I don’t have any further information right now as to arrangements, donations, etc. but I will share whatever further info I receive with anyone who is interested, please feel free to drop me a note.
Finally – I wanted to share with everyone a picture of Mark and his wife, that I took at the Adobe AIR Bus Tour event here in Philly a few weeks ago:
Julee is all the way to the right, and Mark is seated next to her on her right side. Mark was doing what he loved, writing code.
UPDATE: Julee shared with me that Mark's father was a researcher with the Franklin Institute and a multi-patent holder. As a result the Belsterling family has life-time passes to the Franklin Institute. The recent AIR Bus Tour event that was held there was a real highlight for Mark, so Julee has asked that any if anyone wants to make a contribution in his name, that it go to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. More information can be found at this specific page: http://www2.fi.edu/join/giving/individual/tribute_gifts.php
I did not know Mark, but it\’s a very sad news. My condolences to his family and friends.
When PAFlex will regroup, I\’ll be happy to come in and present on Flex.
Yakov Fain (URL) - 09.10.2007 - 4:31pm
I too didnt know Mark but any man who says:
\”the only things he wanted to take with him to the hospital, were 3 Flex books, 3 sizes of sticky-notes, 2 pens and one highlighter.\” is someone I wished I had met.
Best wishes to his family and friends.
Campbell (URL) - 09.10.2007 - 8:42pm
Very sorry to learn this sad news. God bless Mark and my condolences to his friends and family.
Peter Tilbrook () (URL) - 09.10.2007 - 9:58pm
This is really sad. I had just met Mark while on the bus tour. I don\’t know him well but he seemed like a great person.
Chafic Kazoun () (URL) - 09.11.2007 - 11:38am