Hope House Foundation

  • 801 Boush Street, Suite 302
  • Norfolk, VA
  • 23510
  • (757) 625-6161

Virginia Beach couple donates $30,000 to establish the Mark Koebley Fund

Posted by Gareth Trollope on May 20, 2011 11:05 AM EDT
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Virginia Beach residents, Tom and Susan Summerlin made a donation of $30,000 to Hope House Foundation to establish the Mark Koebley Fund in honor of Tom’s cousin Mark Koebley.   Mark had a developmental disability and enjoyed living in his Texas community where he died in December 2009.   The fund is available to individuals supported by Hope House Foundation for items or experiences that would enhance their quality of life.


Carlas Mack, a close friend of Mark’s said, “the best way to celebrate Mark’s life would be to promote a place where people are able to live independently in a safe, quiet place.”  The Mark Koebley Fund will do just that, providing adults with developmental disabilities supported by Hope House to purchase tickets to a show, take a trip they’ve been dreaming about or purchase their favorite book; simple things we may take for granted.

Tom and Susan Summerlin will donate annually to the fund and encourage others in the community to do the same.  The greatest gift of all is the gift of an ordinary life!

The Mark Koebley Fund received its first community donation on December 22, 2010 from the Hardcore Norfolk Rocker Chicks in the amount of $564.  When Hardcore Norfolk Rocker Chick, Debra Persons, a longtime friend of Hope House Foundation and her group of friends found out about the fund they knew exactly where they wanted the money to go. Persons said, “we were so pleased to find out about the Mark Koebley Fund, because travel, experiencing the cultural arts, attending shows and reading our favorite books are things all of us ladies truly enjoy in life, it made perfect sense.”

Meet Mark Koebley

Mark Koebley was born April 22, 1953 in Beaumont, Texas and died December 31, 2009 while a resident at Brenham State School, Brenham, Texas.  He was the son of Albert V. Koebley, Jr. and Lois Potter Koebley and had one brother, Kurt.  Both parents and his brother predeceased Mark. Mark lived at home with his parents until they could no longer offer him the support he needed.  He entered Brenham State School September 13, 1977.  He enjoyed living in Cottage C with roommates, cottage mates and the caregiver staff.

Mark was employed in Brenham assembling packets of plastic utensils and napkins for travelers.  He truly loved his work.  Mark also enjoyed National Geographics and the Houston Chronicle.  He especially liked pictures of animals.  Some of his favorite times were weekend trips into Brenham for library visits and ice cream with his advocate. He was a faithful attendee at Sunday chapel services.

Bob Armour, Mark’s longtime advocate and volunteer said, “Mark loved to read or look at pictures so every Saturday we would go to the library for two hours.  He would look at every magazine.  When he was ready to leave he would put the magazines back and just sit in the chair which was his way of telling me he was ready to leave.”  Bob said, “He enjoyed just riding so if the library was closed we rode out in to country and would get ice cream.  He always enjoyed the bag of goodies I took him each week.  One thing I remember is every Christmas after giving Mark a gift I received a Thank You card signed by him.”

Mark was always dressed nicely and he took good care of himself and the things he cherished.  One of those things was cards & letters from his family.  He kept those keepsakes in a drawer that was under his bed.

Carlas said, “I was fortunate to have worked with Mark.  If everybody was like Mark the world would be a perfect place.  He was very polite and would never invade anybody’s space but he didn’t want anyone to invade his space either.  Mark was one of the best!”


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