Marc Elizondo will be remembered for living through his faith, selfless outlook on life and desire to help improve the world.
A keen academic, Marc came to Texas A&M on a full scholarship to study biomedical engineering, a desire born from an illness he was diagnosed with before arriving at A&M.
“Two years ago he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis,” Clare Elizondo, Marc’s sister, said. “He never complained, and he decided that he wanted to cure the disease … not for himself but for other kids, so they wouldn’t have to go through what he did.”
Kind and considerate, Marc was not an ordinary kid, according to Arleen Elizondo, Marc’s mother.
“Marc was different,” Arleen said. “I would say he taught me more than I taught him. He was very humble, sensitive to what other people needed, just extremely kind … honestly, no matter what the person did or who the other person was, he literally never said anything bad about anyone.”
Arleen said Marc was a phenomenal athlete, excelling in tennis and reaching at least the semifinals of the state championship every year in high school. But no one could ever guess that, as he never boasted of his talents. She added that he never complained on the court, and no one could tell if he was winning or losing, as his attitude and demeanor never changed.
“Tennis can be maddening, but I never saw him angry on the tennis court one time, and I never missed a match,” Alreen said. “And sometimes, the kids he’d play were just jerks. He’d come off the court and his dad and I would say ‘Can you believe he said this or he did this?’ And Marc would just say ‘No, he was pretty nice, really.’ Nothing could get under his skin.”
Marc’s humble attitude was noticed by others, including his kindergarten teacher, according to Arleen.
“His kindergarten teacher, at the end of the year, put together a booklet with each kids picture in there and she wrote something about each kid,” Arleen said. “And by Marc’s name, she put ‘This is certainly how Jesus was as a little boy.’”
Marc’s selfless attitude was apparent in several other areas of his life. When he got his driver’s license, he became an organ donor. In typical Marc fashion, he didn’t tell anyone or brag about this, and his parents didn’t know until later, according to Arleen. This act has helped several people, as News 4 San Antonio reported. University Hospital in San Antonio said several lives have been saved, and countless more will be touched through his donation.
“He registered to donate every darn thing on the list,” Arleen said. “And as a family you can refuse to go along with that … we still could have said no, but we all knew Marc and his generosity and his kindness … it’s exactly what he would have wanted to do and we had to honor that. They said there were five people’s lives that he saved, because he donated both kidneys, his liver, his lung and his heart.”
Behind his academic demeanor, Clare said Marc was thoughtful and a bit of a prankster.
“Marc was really kind, really funny, always pulling pranks on me and my older brother,” Clare said. “He had the wittiest, driest sense of humor. But he was also really athletic, really hard working. He was super devoted to his faith … he really just went for everything.”
Clare said that while several memories of Marc stand out in her mind, one picnic she went on with him is one of her favorites.
“He would always use his meal trades on me and we would get lunch together all the time,” Clare said. “He was always just really generous, even though I’m the older one and should be taking care of him. And after his finals, we had a picnic at the Bush Pond, just the two of us. We talked about his first semester, and we just sat there. The weather was perfect and it was really fun.”
Clare said Marc came to A&M for several reasons, including academics, the Catholic community and his family.
“He wanted a good engineering program … for his disease,” Clare said. “But a few other big things were that he got the Brown scholarship, which is a full ride scholarship, and me and my older brother both went here on that scholarship. So when he got that, it kind of made sense for him. And then my dad also went to A&M. He was really into sports and his Catholic faith, and A&M was just really good in all those areas. The fact that all three of us would get to be together here is why he came.”
Marc’s favorite part of being an Aggie was the people he met, and the relationships he made through classes, church and tennis club, according to Clare. She said she has been blown away by all the people who had met Marc, and how much they cared about him.
At Marc’s visitation, Arleen said 1,000 people attended, with some showing up an hour and fifteen minutes early, and about the same number of people also attended his funeral Mass.
“He made an impact,” Arleen said. “And I think we had six priests on the altar … there were priests calling me and leaving me messages asking ‘Can we be a part of this Mass?’ There’s something about him that was just very impactful.”
Arleen said there was one encounter she had with a classmate of Marc’s at his visitation that personifies who he was.
“There was one girl … I had never heard her name; she said ‘I was in Marc’s high school class and I had to tell you if it weren’t for Marc, I would have failed calculus,’” Arleen said. “He must have been helping her … he never came home and said ‘Oh this girl needs so much help’ or ‘I don’t have time’ … he never said her name to me. I never met her.”
Arleen said Marc was a blessing, and it’s unfortunate some people do not know somebody like him.
“There are many people who are not lucky enough to have been able to know a person as good as Marc,” Arleen said. “To have a role model, such a generous, giving, kind person. I’m lucky that we had 19 years of learning from him. He just gives us all something to aspire to – be like Marc.”