Christopher Marks (Photo courtesy Affton Schools)
By Kay Quinn
Affton, MO (KSDK) - Tears and prayers Friday night for an Affton 12-year-old who should be getting ready to start seventh grade.
Instead, classmates and their families gathered at Rogers Middle School to honor the memory of Christopher Marks who drowned five days ago.
Christopher was a boy-scout who was always comforted by glow bracelets when camping overnight in the dark.
That's why the bracelets were handed out at the start of the vigil.
They cried and prayed and remembered.
Around 300 people gathered on the edge of the Rogers Middle School basketball court and paid tribute to Christopher. Many stepped up to the microphone.
"There was nobody that looked at my daughter the way that he did with so much love in his eyes and that's how he looked at everybody," said one mourner.
Christopher went missing Sunday on a family outing to the Pacific Palisades conservation area. His body was found in the Meramec River Tuesday afternoon.
His mother, Elizabeth Combs, was not on the trip. She tearfully spoke of not having kissed her son goodbye that day.
"Hug and kiss them goodbye, just in case," she told the crowd.
Amidst all the tears, love and gratitude.
"I'm happy that all these people showed up for the family and to show Chris that he meant a lot to them," said mourner Kori Bonham.
The Affton School District has made counselors available to Christopher's classmates and teachers all week.
That help will continue to be available right through the first day of school on Wednesday.
A Memorial Fund has been established to help the Marks/Combs family pay for funeral expenses.
Donations can be made by mail to: PNC Bank Christopher T Marks Memorial 9914 Kennerly Road St. Louis, MO 63128; or by visiting any PNC Bank.
Friends say any help would be a blessing for the family.