Ryan Markle's friends helping fund scholarship as a memorial

April 09, 2006|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL


Ryan Markle had a lot of friends.

They gathered at Sunshine Lanes on Saturday, 16 months after he died in a car crash at age 17, to remember him and to raise funds for the Ryan Markle Memorial Education Fund.

A senior at Smithsburg High School at the time of his death, Ryan was a popular boy who was good with computers, said his mother, Diana Markle.

"We were encouraging him to go to Hagerstown Community College for computers," she said.

More than 70 friends, family members and others bowled three games for $10, $7 of which went to the scholarship fund, Markle said.


"We'll be able to give one $1,000 scholarship, and maybe two," to a Smithsburg High School senior, she said.

Some friends and family members bowled two sets of games, and some had solicited donations before the event.

At the entrance to the bowling alley was a table with a collection of memorabilia from Ryan's life - his license plate, yearbook, photos, his hard hat from work and his diploma from Smithsburg High School, awarded posthumously. A DVD played with scenes of his life.

Ryan's sister, Jillian, 12, a student at Smithsburg Middle School, bowled three games with her friends.

"He was funny," Jillian said of her brother. He teased her sometimes, and they went swimming together on vacations, she said.

"This is wonderful, that so many friends and neighbors want to help out," Markle said. "This helps us keep Ryan's memory alive. We don't want people to forget him. This is a time to think about Ryan, and we're doing this for a good cause."

Michael Markle, Ryan's father, said that his son had worked with him at Warner Industries in Frederick, Md., the summer before his death, and on a work-study program during the school year.

Ryan enjoyed cars and Stephen King novels. He had 28 of King's books, some of them autographed, his father said.

Mike Fox Jr., 18, of Cascade, said he had known Ryan for three years.

"We hung out at my house and we went bowling together," he said. "Ryan was a decent bowler." They also were classmates at Smithsburg.

James Whipp, 18, said he and Ryan "did everything together. We were always together. We went on camping trips with his family." He and Ryan had been in school together for seven years, Whipp said.

Clinton Lantz, 19, of Cascade, said he remembered "the funny and crazy stuff Ryan did. In chemistry class one time, he made the teacher mad, and then said, 'Don't worry, sweetheart, it'll be all right.'"

Even though Jenny Jones, 16, of Smithsburg, was two years behind Ryan in school, they were "really close," she said. "We went to homecoming together. We'd go to the movies, and I had pillow fights with him and his dad."

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