Byron Markle loved to golf.
It became the No. 1 athletic passion in his young life.
That dream was tragically dashed nearly nine months ago when Markle was killed in a September automobile crash near State College.
He was just 20 years old.
Less than a week ago, however, a group of Markle’s family and friends got together to remember the 2014 Dallastown graduate and make sure his memory will live on.
Appropriate tribute: They considered different options to memorialize Markle before settling on a most appropriate tribute.
Saturday, during the annual Friends and Family Tournament that honors the Penn State seniors who will graduate from the PGM program, participants were greeted by the brand new “Byron’s Bridge” sign on the 12th hole at the school’s Blue Course. Money for the memorial was raised through a Go Fund Me account set up by his PGM junior class.
From this point forward, folks who walk across that bridge will be reminded of a young man who died too soon.
The sign reads:
“As Byron will stay forever in our hearts, his bridge will provide a daily reminder of his impact on our lives. Thank you to the Penn State Golf Courses and our generous donors for making this happen.”
For Byron’s mother, Dina Seifert, it was important that her son’s life would be celebrated and remembered. That is exactly what happened during the tournament and at a banquet after the event.
“Byron was a kind and giving person. He always had a smile on his face and loved life. He would teach anyone everything he knew to improve their golf game. He once wrote a paper that asked "what three things in life matter to you." His response was his mom, his meems (grandmother Sandy Seifert) and pap (grandfather Dan Seifert) and golf.
“Byron was the type of person that (people) wanted to be around … so his best friends from York became his best friends with his freshman dorm friends and those friends became best friends with his PGM friends. Byron brought so many people together and made an impact on so many people, I never knew it, and I doubt he did either.”
One of Byron’s friends, Brandon Pelfrey put it simply: “I try to live each day like Byron did.”
Love for golf and looking good: Markle’s grandfather was instrumental in developing Markle’s love for golf.
“Once his pap took him out on the golf course the very first time, he knew that was his passion,” Dina Seifert said. “If Byron wasn't out on the course — rain and snow didn't stop him — you could bet he would be watching the Golf Channel.”
For Markle, however, there might have been one other obsession that rivaled golf — looking good.
“Byron took forever to get ready and would never leave the house without being dressed to impress and his hair looking great,” Dina Seifert said. “That is why when you see a lot of golfers they have hats on, not Byron. It could have messed up his hair. His clothes and shoes always matched.”
A good golfer, a sharp dresser and a young man loved by his family and friends.
That’s a pretty fair legacy for a young man who was on this earth for just 20 years.
Now folks will be reminded of that every time they walk across Byron’s Bridge.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.