Mark E. Gise died in his home on Oct. 12 from a blood clot in the heart. He had been complaining of chest pain the day before he was found dead, but couldn’t afford to seek medical treatment because of his lack of insurance.
A Palo Alto native, Gise enjoyed fishing, dirt biking and Nascar. His favorite Nascar driver was Dale Earnhardt.
He was the father of Amber and Shannon, and ex-husband of Deborah.
Gise was a union plumber by trade, a career that lead him down a prospering path, until the 2007 recession impacted his livelihood so badly that he was pushed into homelessness, and eventually depression.
With the help of members from the Gilroy Compassion Center, particularly that of Tom Chargin and Jan Bernstein Chargin, Gise’s life and attitude began improving. He had a job installing the plumbing for the compassion center, where he also volunteered his time. He was able to move into a trailer, and began taking medication for his depression.
“A year and half ago, he was in a suicidal state, and then, before he died, he was singing at work. He perked up, laughed and joked,” said Cheri Appleby, board member and secretary for the Gilroy Compassion Center.
As Gise’s circumstances improved, he began smiling, laughing and singing. Then, his life was unexpectedly cut short.
“What really stood out about him among his friends was that he brought himself back up and was really happy,” Appleby said. “It kind of makes you wonder if God's playing some kind of funny joke—when something like that happens.”
Services to celebrate Gise's life will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 8425 Monterey Rd. at 11 a.m. There will be a barbecue, and all attendees are welcome to speak at the service.
Cherie Appleby of the Gilroy Compassion Center contributed to this report.