Cleanup project in memory of Mark Taylor

Friends gathered at the home of the deceased Abbotsford parks manager to complete a project and remember a friend.

Mark Taylor

At first glance, it would have looked like any other cleanup project: a group of workers power-washing the driveway, raking leaves, weeding the garden and even washing windows.

Spring cleaning is a common sight at this time of year.

But there was much more to this project than most passersby would expect.

A group of City of Abbotsford employees, managers and their family members volunteered their time during the Easter weekend to clean up the home of, and pay homage to, a co-worker – and, more importantly, a friend.

The group travelled to Langley on March 30 to tidy up the home of Mark Taylor, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture who died tragically in a skiing accident last month.

It was a shock to the city and devastating for his friends and family.

“Mark was my colleague, but he was my friend too,” said Pat Soanes, the city’s general manager of finance and corporate services, one of the people who organized the cleanup project.

“It was an act of friendship on the part of all of the people who showed up and it was really a remarkable thing to be involved in.”

She called it a chance to do something “tangible out of something that was so senseless.”

Soanes said the idea came up because during one of her final conversations with Taylor, he had commented on the state of his yard and told her it was his next project.

It seemed like a great way to do something for the family.

“It was absolutely to do what we could to help Deb (Mark’s wife),” said Soanes, adding it was an opportunity to “unburden her” of something she really didn’t need to worry about.

But it was also a chance for friends and co-workers to get “a little bit of closure.”

It also sent a message to the family, telling them how much Taylor meant to so many people.

“It was a beautiful sunny Saturday and I was with people I really like and admire and we had a good time and we celebrated Mark. It was really a positive event in that respect.”

The public will have the chance to take part in a “Celebration of Mark Taylor” on April 15 from 3-5 p.m. at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

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