Monday, March 16, 2009

Shalom and amen

He was known for his trademark ending to the prayers he said before every Daytona 500 for 46 years. Rev. Hal Marchman was known to every race car driver and to hundreds of thousands of fans. On Sunday, after fighting years of dementia and memory loss, Rev. Hal Marchman passed away. According to his daughter Anne Marchman-Jones. it was a sudden bout of illness that ended his life. Marchman was a Georgia native who moved to Daytona Beach to run a grocery store after World War II. In 1959, after returning from Seminary school, that Bill France asked Rev. Hal to deliver the invocation before the inaugural Daytona 500. He became the unofficial chaplain through 2004.Robin Braig, president of DIS said on Sunday evening that Hal was a true friend to the speedway and will be missed. After giving the invocation, Hal would always stay at the hospital area to be available for drivers’ families if anyone was hurt. Darrell Waltrip broke into tears when he received the news of Hal’s death. He says he imagines “Marchman in heaven with Bill.” Marchman’s death affected many, but his contributions will live on in the Daytona Beach area. Marchman will always be known in the religious community for inviting divorced people into his congregation, while other spiritual leaders were shocked. In politics, he’ll be remembered as the man who worked hard on important issues such as education, substance abuse treatment, or just encouraging involvement in the community.

God, I ask that you would be with the family of Rev. Hal Marchman. I ask that you grant them peace and comfort in this time of grief. I thank you for Hal's life and for all the work you did through him. May his life story ever be a testimony to your glory. In Jesus' name I pray...