Mark McVey with his scooter purchased by donations collected by folks at Cayucos Coffee.
Mark McVey was born November 13, 1958, and passed of health complications on March 4, 2022. He is survived by his four sisters, Kelly Curry, Cindy Turner, Mandy Gonzeles, a brother, Matt McVey and many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Mark, forever remembered as a local legend, was a friend to all. Daily routes from his home in the Bella Vista RV Park, across the bridge and on to the streets of downtown Cayucos, made Mark one of the town’s most recognizable citizens, and his acts of kindness, a most cherished one. His tall flag waving high from his mobile chair signaled to every dog and person who knew him that he was on his way to deliver a treat, or a paper, and always a smile.
Mark began life in Cayucos in 1998 when he moved to Bella Vista to be with his mother. “Life for Mark began in Cayucos,” says his sister Kelly and judging by his genuine good nature towards everyone he met, Cayucos was made a better town with his arrival.
In his youth, Mark was an avid motorcyclist and water skier. But at the age of 35 he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder, Guillain-Barré, which attacked his own immune system damaging nerves and leading to his muscle weakness and eventually, partial paralysis.
He made his home at Bella Vista with adoring neighbors and visiting friends. Along with the residents, there were the RV visitors, like me, who came to know and love Mark with every visit. The sound of his chair, or the site of his flag, was picked up yards away by my dog sending him running as fast as he could to get his giant Milk-Bone by the kind man in the chair.
Mark delivered more than Milk-Bones to the town dogs. Rising early in the morning, often before sunrise, he traveled to Cayucos Coffee, delivering candy and Super Lotto tickets in the tip jar to the staff. Then he’d motor up to the bank, the Brown Butter Cookie Company, and the shops along the way arriving at the Sea Shanty, everyone getting their treats for the day. Mark would then be sure to stop at the local paper dispenser, depositing one quarter at a time into the machine for each paper he withdrew, even if that meant a dozen or more papers. He’d deliver the news to friends in those early hours, quietly placing them at the end of a driveway held down with a rock, never seeking attention or gain in his generosity.
Mark had circles of friends throughout Cayucos, each representing a facet of the town, unique in their offerings of conversations, experiences, and exchanges. Most notable, but only for this story, is Cayucos Coffee. Perry and his staff played an instrumental role in helping Mark get a new mobile chair, donated by the shops, surfers and patrons of Cayucos.
Mark’s friendly smile was a diversion to his twisted body in a snug chair, a right foot out on the footrest with a black slipper shoe barely hanging on. He could not have been comfortable, but he never complained, even when his chairs weren’t working at their best.
“Ah, it’s okay!” “Don’t worry about it,” he’d shout out to anyone asking if they could help. But one day, Perry and the staff decided to help in a way that Mark would have done: they quietly, unassumingly found a way to get him a new chair.
With a regular manilla envelope, the words, “Donate to a Local Legend” written on it, the staff at Cayucos Coffee walked around town, asking surfers and shop owners if they’d like to help. Of course, the answer was a resounding, “yes!” Soon with hundreds of small donations and a few special extra dollars from a local eatery, Perry ordered the chair online, put it together at the shop and waited for Mark to arrive. With one staff member distracting Mark, another came around the corner riding in the brand-new mobile chair. Mark said, “What is this?” and “Why?” and “How much do I owe you?” Then silence and a shake of his head; his heart filled with grace and gratitude.
Mark, once a towering athletic young man, was physically compromised by Guillain-Barré. But his condition never once stunted or diminished his giant bright light of joy and happiness for his life, his friends, his family and for the town of Cayucos. Mark McVey will forever be a Cayucos local legend.
A memorial will be held in Cayucos on Saturday, March 26 at Hardy Park 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.. Dogs are welcome.