By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
In his 31 years, Marcus Grau built a successful business and had a short college basketball career.
However, his proudest accomplishments weren’t the points he scored or the sales he made, but the wife and children he came home to every day.
“His family always came first,” said Marty Berry, a coworker and friend of Grau. “He was a wonderful husband and a wonderful father and a very good friend.”
Grau died Saturday, living well past doctor estimates after being diagnosed with cancer in 2003.
Grau was born Oct. 24, 1975, in Grady, and was raised on the family ranch. He lived most of his life in Grady, where he excelled in basketball and FFA competitions, and met his future wife.
“I really fell in love with him when I first saw him, and he said the same thing (about me),” Mandi Grau said. “He told my cousin, ‘I want to marry her.’”
The two were married when Marcus Grau was a freshman basketball player at Lamar Junior College, and he returned to Clovis to work as a salesman.
“You gain trust as a salesperson,” said Berry, who worked with Grau at a car dealership in Portales and at Freedom Wireless in Clovis. “People have to trust you. The 1300 or so people (at his memorial service Wednesday) was a tribute to that.”
Freedom Wireless is a network of nine stores in New Mexico, Texas and Missouri started by Grau and longtime friend Jeff Burnett.
Burnett said he and Grau started every year with a day of prayer and planning, believing God was in control of their success.
Grau took the same approach when he was diagnosed with myxoid chondrosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue, doctors found in his leg. Mandi Grau said doctors told her on average the cancer is diagnosed less than three times annually in the United States.
With a cancer that rare, Burnett said most of the treatment options were “guesswork” except for God.
Relying on God was a standard for the family, Mandi Grau said, and it still is.
“That’s the only that got us through,” she said, “and that’s the only thing that will get us through anything.”
Even though Grau lost his battle with cancer, Burnett felt his friend had performed a miracle in the way he made other people better.
“As a husband and as a dad, he set the bar so high that he made me a better dad and a better husband,” Burnett said. “Marcus set the bar pretty high in every area of his life.”
In Tribute is a regular feature. To suggest an honoree, contact CNJ managing editor Rick White at 763-6991 or by e-mail: