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Mark Cuyjet

Mark Cuyjet

Thursday, November 5th, 1953 - Friday, October 23rd, 2020
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Obituary

Mark Francis Durham Cuyjet, of Mount Laurel, NJ, originally of Philadelphia, PA, passed away on October 23, 2020, age 66. Beloved husband of Michele Cuyjet. Loving father of Reyna O’Connor (Ryan), loving step father of Monica Smith (Gregory). Caring Pop Pop of Isabella Rose, Ryan Jr., Mackenzie Leigh, Blake Lillian, Shane and Logan. Dear brother of Judith Cuyjet and the late Stephen Cuyjet, Jr. (Carol). Mark had a special relationship with his niece, Kearsten and nephew, Eric. He is also survived by many other nieces, nephews, family, friends, and his loved gymnastics family, including his life long friend, Doug.

Mark was a pioneer in the sport of gymnastics, becoming the first African American all around regional gymnastics champion at Overbrook High School, and paving the way for other young African American gymnasts to follow suit.

He went on to coach gymnastics at various locations in the area, including Will-Moore School of Gymnastics, Central High School, and Cherry Hill High School West. He was highly sought after to judge gymnastics meets in several states along the east coast, making many friends and touching countless lives along the way.

After earning a degree of science in physical education from Temple University, Mark went on to teach at Benjamin Rush Middle School for 26 dedicated years of service in public education.

Mark was quite the lover of good music, traveling, playing tennis, golf, and spending time with his family who take great pride in his legacy and will miss him dearly.

A loving message from Michele to Mark:
Dear Mark,
Although, I was not apart of your earlier adult life, I’m glad I was able to share in the later years of your life’s journey. I’ll Love you Forever. ~Me and You, Just Us Two~
Love,
Michele

Services for Mark will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Mark to the National Ataxia Foundation at https://ataxia.org/donate/
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Private Condolence
JR

Jeffrey W Rosenberg

Posted at 07:40pm
Mark and I were competitors during high school in the Philadelphia School District - "The Pub" - like numerous other TU gymnasts. I remember Mark's father sitting in his wheelchair along the side proudly watching his son. We were teammates and friends from '72 - '76.
Gymnastics, as most of you know, is a very special endeavor and it tends to attract very special and unique individuals. You don't just do gymnastics - you have a relationship with it. Sometimes it's obsessive-compulsive and masochistic, considering the abuse we willingly put ourselves through in seeking beautiful perfection. And we forever have kinship with other gymnasts. Mark loved gymnastics and when he did it, practice or competition, he really put on a highly spirited exuberant performance that genuinely expressed his feelings as only he could that marked his personal style and form. He was in his element and it was pure joy.
We both later became friendly rivals as we both coached in the "Pub", and occasionally got together socially afterwards.
He continued judging until he couldn't. But gymnastics and those we share the experience with never leave us, and neither will Mark.
JR
PG

Peter Graber

Posted at 06:48pm
I was a good friend of Mark's and have many memories and experiences thru over 40 years. I can remember him competing as a gymnast at Temple. Loved his PB work (back toss that flew, Arabian on FX with his fro). He was pretty good on PH, too. Then watching him coach and become a gymnastic judge. We did many meets together, travelling together, rooming, judging, dining, drinking. We even played some tennis between sessions, and sometimes find a golf driving range to hit some balls. We managed to get him onto the golf course and it was cool. He could light up with his smile. He and I also enjoyed his smooth jazz together sharing cassette tapes. He served as our EGJA President and our PA assigner. I was happy to convince him to continue assigning as his health was declining. I'm sure it kept him busy and his mind still in the sport we all love, gymnastics. Mark will be missed but not forgotten. I was glad to have had the time/experiences together with him. Mark, Rest in Pease. Pete
FT

Fred Turoff

Posted at 03:07pm
From Adam Al-Rokh:

Please share this in honor of Mark Cuyjet.

Mr Cuyjet was a judge in gymnastics when I was in my teen years. Even though I was so young, I noticed that he was a very positive force to bump into (sometimes, literally) during a competition. He was extremely gracious, kind, and well-mannered, thus making him very comfortable to be performing in front of. As a judge, I liked how he scored because he gave higher numbers because he did not see a point in dabbling in low numbers that did not make performers and the audience get excited. He got guys in the right order anyway, so why not do it with scores that were nicer to look at? He always seemed very fair, and really used the rules to make sure better gymnastics was recognized and rewarded.

As a young man, I interacted with Mr Cuyjet at a Temple University competition in which we were both spectators. It was a great interaction. After all these years of encountering him as "judge," it was great because we got to interact with each other simply as...regular people. He was kind, soft-spoken, and humorous, with a great perspective in terms of how he carried himself and just about life in general. I am extremely fortunate to have been around Mr Cuyjet, and furthermore for it to be during such crucially developmental years of my life. My condolences go out to all of those close to him.
TK

Tom Kovic

Posted at 06:24pm
I had a chance to speak with Mark before he passed and I am glad I did. Mark was struggling, his voice was fading and I had a feeling he was heading down the homestretch. I remember arriving on the Temple campus in August, 1973. I walked into Pearson 143 and Mark was the first teammate I met. I had no idea what I was doing, but Mark settled me, told me to get myself together and pointed me toward my dormitory at Peabody Hall. Mark had a steady personality and a good heart, but he was also fiercely competitive. Mark was “art in motion” and the kind of guy I learned from daily…Just by watching him…Mark was simply “beautiful.” Our paths continued to cross throughout the next 40 years (teaching, coaching, judging and yes…competing as old guys in our mid-thirties). Mark knew he was dealt a difficult genealogical hand early on, but he accepted it with dignity and faced every challenge head-on. Mark put a dent in the world and he made a difference…I am fortunate and blessed that Mark was a significant part of my life.

Tom Kovic
AJ

Autumn Jackson

Posted at 08:18pm
Mr. Cuyjet was my gym teacher at Benjamin Rush Middle School between the years 1987-1988. I always thought he was such a "cool" teacher, and had to put up with a bunch of preteens. God Bless him and may he rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Mr. Cuyjet.
Sincerely,
Autumn Jackson
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