One of Harlan County's best-known and longest-serving doctors died Wednesday at Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital after a short illness.
Dr. Robert C. Marks Jr., 91, had served as a practicing optometrist in the Harlan area since 1939.
Ed Gibson said Marks' loss would leave a hole in the local community.
"I don't guess anybody but Dr. Marks would know how many pairs of glasses he provided for people who couldn't see and couldn't afford them. As far as professionally, he was one of the best optometrists that's been in this part of the country," said Gibson, who was a member of the Masonic Lodge with Marks.
"We've shared many a bowls and many a cup, and I'm going to miss that."
Marks graduated from Harlan High School in 1931 and Centre College in 1936. He also graduated from the Northern Illinois School of Optometry in 1939.
He was a 70-year member of the Harlan Masonic Lodge No. 879 where he had served as master. In 1957, he was District 40 deputy grandmaster. He also was a charter member of the lodge's "Demolay Organization." He was a 60-year member of the York Rite Bodies, where he served as commander in the Duffield Commandery No. 42. He was a former member of the Eastern Star and the Lions Club, and served as chairman of the disaster services for the American Red Cross in Harlan.
A native of Springfield, he had resided in Harlan for almost 80 years. He was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church, where he had served as an elder and in the church choir.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert Marks Sr. and Catherine Russell Marks; his first wife, Leota Burley Marks; his second wife, Bette Guy Marks; a son, Billy Marks; and a daughter, Lynn Marks Pittman.
Survivors include two sons: Robert Marks III, Lenoir City, Tenn.; and William Marks and wife, Jo, Burgin; three grandchildren: Laura C. Parker and husband, Michael, Rutledge, Tenn.; Allison Seals and husband, Brian, Tazewell, Tenn.; and Shannon Hopper and husband, Fred, Tazewell, Tenn.; five great-grandchildren: Cody Jacob, Olivia and Aden Seals, Sarah Catlin and Emily Parker; and several other nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Visitation is today from 5 to 8 p.m. at Anderson & Laws Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be conducted 1 p.m. on Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church of Harlan with the Rev. Fred Griffie and the Rev. Elizabeth Guy Forester officiating.
Burial will follow at Resthaven Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Sam Guy, Mike Forester, John Forester, Dr. Homer Fortney, Glen Muncy, Ronnie Bingham, Sid Douglas, Tommy Pope, Dan Forester and Jack Sterling.
Honorary pallbearers will be N.P. Bingham, Wix Unthank, Danny Castle, Bill Forester and Charlie Stephenson.
Masonic rites will performed at the cemetery by Harlan Lodge No. 879, F. & A.M.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made the American Cancer Society or to the Harlan County Rescue Squad.
Anderson & Laws Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.