The Grant Markfield Memorial Scholarship was created to honor the memory of Grant Markfield. Grant was pursing his love for the culinary arts at the Florida Culinary Institute when he passed away.
Alan Markfield recited this eulogy for his son Grant at a memorial/funeral service on Thursday, November 21st.
Grant was my hero. I told him that repeatedly this year. His quiet courage was an inspiration.
Grant was fearless. We went each year on his birthday to Disney World when he was a youngster. I remember when they opened the roller coaster ride, ‘Space Mountain’, which Grant was desperate to try. I wasn’t. We sat on a rocket, climbed an impossibly steep incline in total darkness, only to hurtle down with flashing lights and screaming curves. Upon exiting, my legs shaking, fighting nausea, Grant pleaded, ‘can we go again dad?’
We went skiing for the first time at Mike and Loretta’s mountainside condo in Pennsylvania. Grant never could get the hang of how it all worked, but didn’t care. He traded in his skis for a toboggan and spent the rest of the day sliding down Camelback Mountain screaming, “I can fly!!!”
He may have fallen when on skis, but Grant’s feet were always planted on solid ground.
In passing an airport once, he saw a 747 parked on the tarmac and remarked, ‘That’s my dad’s office!’ Grant often visited my office.
The first movie set he came to visit with me was in Palm Beach – a mini series on JFK. He could care less about the stars, he just wanted to hang with the stuntmen and inspect the sticks of prop dynamite that were in use that day.
When he visited the set of ‘Let it Ride’ in Miami, he loved Richard Dreyfuss. Not because of celebrity, but because Richard threw him a glove and they played catch between breaks in filming.
On the set of ‘Robo Cop’ in Atlanta he made friends with the special effects crew, peppering them with questions about how they blow things up. And it was in Toronto in the production of ‘Car 54 Where Are You?’ that Grant appeared in his first film. Dressed as a gang member, the director gave Grant a special perk – he got to throw a rock thru a storefront window. But he kept asking, “Is it okay dad…is it okay?” Assured that it was, he let one rip. He liked that a lot.
He next appeared in the movie ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’, shot in South Carolina and New York City. Typecast again as a gang member, photos of Grant also appeared in ‘making of’ books and stories from ‘behind-the-scenes’. The Boca Raton News did a story about Grant, their hometown Florida celebrity. He was embarrassed by the attention.
Even when Lucy Liu and the director of ‘Ecks vs. Sever’ sent Grant a video get well card last year, he was embarrassed by all the attention from the nurses at Sylvester Cancer Hospital.
Grant loved adventure. My friend Jamie, a US marine pilot, took Grant into the cockpit of an F-15 attack jet and let him hang with the pilots in their ready room at Homestead air force base. My friend Al, took him deep sea fishing in Key West. And when Grant and I drove from Florida to Los Angeles, we shunned hotels in favor of camping out under the stars everywhere we stopped.
He loved sports, wow, how he loved sports. The Buffalo Bills and Michigan State were special passions. And two years ago when we toured the World Wrestling Federation museum in New York City, his knowledge was encyclopedic. “The Rock” was his idol. One of Grant’s prized possessions was a scrapbook of autographs and celebrity mementos – many of them given after patiently waiting for hours at a Miami sporting event.
It was his mother Pearl who suggested that Grant give Publix supermarkets a try and it was an inspired idea. He started working for Publix when he was just 13, and it was love at first sight. By the time he made it to Asst. Manager at the deli department he was evangelical about the virtues of Publix. I knew they had the best barbecue chickens, made the best subs and I learned more about Boars Head meats than I ever thought I’d know.
Grant began an 18-month program at the Florida Culinary Institute in 1996. It reinforced once again that the business of food was his calling. He’d discuss recipes and baking with my wife Christine, and delighted in showing off new dishes at the dinners he created for friends and family. And when he was picked to be on the elite team of students to assist at the Washington, DC wedding of the daughter of House Speaker Newt Gingrich,
Grant was delighted.
Why do bad things happen to good people, a Rabbi once asked in a best selling book about grief? I don’t know. But it was my friend Roxanne who
urged me to focus on the wonder of what Grant was able to cram into his 26 years and be grateful for the time we had together. I think she has it just right.
I’m grateful for my special son with all his wonderful and special qualities. I’m grateful for the love, support and friendship of family and friends who
allowed us into their lives and support us now.
By next week, I hope that we’ll be able to announce a Grant Markfield Scholarship fund that will assist promising students in following the same path that Grant did at the Florida Culinary Institute. In that way, future generations will also come to know my hero, my son Grant.