Neil Marks OAM 1938-2024

 

The School is saddened to inform you that one of our beloved elder statemen of Barker College, Neil Marks OAM, passed away on 27 January. He was 85 years of age. Neil’s passing is a significant moment in the history of the School.

Thanksgiving Service

Saturday 10 February at 3pm
Barker Chapel
Barker College
91 Pacific Hwy Hornsby

Please see map of Barker College for parking and pedestrian access.

The service will be live-streamed and can be viewed at https://youtube.com/live/I7sE-S6rn9k?feature=share

Neil was a long-serving OBA member and the OBA Representative to School Council from 1979 to 2007, Barker representative on the CAS General Committee and a raconteur of the first order, as well the author of three books of tales.

Neil Marks attended Barker from 1951 to 1956. An extraordinarily gifted sportsman from an equally gifted sporting family, Neil represented Barker across all sports but particularly in Cricket and Rugby. He earned his first Cricket Colours in 1953 and in that same year was the sole CAS Cricket Representative. In 1954 he captained the 1st XI Cricket team, a position he held for an impressive three years. His talents and achievements were not limited to the sports field. In 1955 he played the role of Marullus in the Julius Caesar Senior Class Performance and was a member of the School’s Debating Teams from 1955 to 1956. In his final year he became a School Prefect. 

After graduating from Barker in 1956, he took up a career as a partner in Warren Saunders and Associates Insurance Brokers where he honed his practical wisdom in management and planning, which were used to good effect when he joined the Barker Council as an OBA Representative, supporting three Headmasters during their tenure. Neil was also the author of ‘The Tales of the Centenary’, a publication sponsored by the OBA as part of the celebration for the centenary of the Association in 2008.

It was in Cricket that Neil Marks was best remembered by his beloved NSW and throughout the land until ill-health denied him from the widely anticipated selection as a Test Cricketer for Australia. Playing for three seasons for NSW, Neil’s highest score of 180 was widely judged as an innings of sparkling quality. A serious heart disease that required life-saving surgery in the United States cut short a potentially significant career in Cricket.

Passionate about supporting sports at the local level, Neil remained closely linked to the Northern Districts Cricket Club and Pennant Hills Golf Club where he and his brother Lynn (OBA 1959) were renowned leaders, nicknamed the Marks Brothers.  Neil also coached numerous Barker teams, making an indelible impact on players and parents alike.

Neil Marks had a lively sense of humour. Known by many simply as Harpo, his witty stories regaled many an OBA event and were highly sought after. His books recount many of these stories for posterity. Beneath the wit, however, was an incisive sense of fair play and good judgement that enriched the School. The contribution of Neil Marks to the life and culture of Barker College cannot be overstated. To mark his support for the School, in 2001 the newly completed pavilion adjacent overlooking his beloved War Memorial Oval wicket was named The Marks Pavilion in his honour. It remains a cherished part of our landscape and proudly hosts hospitality for cricket and rugby matches hosted by Barker.

Neil is survived by his wife of 63 years, Kay, daughters Sue (Class of 1982 and an outstanding former teacher of English at the School), Sandra (Class of 1985), Vicki (Class of 1988). Our loving prayers are extended to all the family but especially to his wonderful lifelong partner, Kay, who was gracious enough to share him with our community throughout their lives together.