Mark Joseph Foss
18 Years Old

July 20, 1973 to November 22, 1991

Mark Foss, of Alta Loma, California, was handsome, intelligent and loved life. His favorite place to go was Mount Baldy, which stands guard over his final resting place. He had his problems growing up, but was starting to get them straightened out. Thanks to the influence of his fiancée, he was going back to school to get his high school diploma and had signed up for the Marine Corps on the delay program.

Sports were very important to him, and he played basketball. His team came in first in their division, and he was awarded Most Improved Player. Mark also played baseball, football and soccer; he also loved to bowl, fish and camp.

Mark gave the world's best hugs and his special laugh and walk were his alone. He always did his best to help people and to make them happy; if he knew there was something special that would make you happy, he did everything in his power to give it to you. When he was only two years old, he made his mother a book mark (slightly lopsided, but the most beautiful and treasured bookmark in the world), because she loved to read. Living in the country as a child, dandelions proliferated and he would bring in fist fulls, which were placed in the best vases because he and mom both thought they were pretty.

One of his school assignments was to write about his greatest hero, so he did just that - he wrote about his dad, Troy. Mark's older brother misses him tremendously and dedicated his career in law enforcement to Mark's memory. Mark is sorely missed by his grandparents, sister-in-law, two nieces and his nephew, as well as by countless friends and acquaintances. A past member of the Youth Group at his church, as well as an usher, Mark was inducted into the Knights of Columbus on his death bed and a papal blessing in his honor was granted to his family. His funeral was so large it was impossible to get enough motorcycle escorts for his funeral cortege - everyone wanted to come and say good-bye to him.

After seeing the movie Uncle Buck , Mark decided that was how he wanted his brother's children to know him. His oldest niece, Raechel (the only one who can actually remember him) was firmly convinced by age two that "Uncle Buck" was in heaven. While viewing the stations of the cross at a cathedral in Washington D.C., she looked at the soldiers at the foot of Christ's cross and asked, "Are those like the bad man that killed Uncle Buck?" As she got older, she asked how her uncle had died. When asked what her daddy had told her, she said, "Daddy doesn't like to talk about it - he gets real sad." Her comments speak for all of us. Out of the mouths of babes.....

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Mark Foss, 18, of Alta Loma, California, was shot in the back of the head in his own home, from five feet away by a 15-year-old gang member he was trying to help. The murderer had been in and out of juvenile facilities for many years and had a record dating back to age five. In spite of three witnesses, who all went to court and testified that it was not an accident and that two death threats were made against Mark within one week of his murder, the murderer was allowed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter with a sentence of four years in prison, plus an additional four years for the use of a firearm.

Matthew Beck is currently serving his sentence at the Youth Training School in Chino, California, where he will remain until at least January of 1999. Thanks to 187 letters and 17,266 signatures (so far), all objecting to early parole, as well as his own steadily declining behavior, he has failed every parole review and been denied parole at every hearing.

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Mark Foss