By Mason Nesbitt
September marked the 25th anniversary of the heroic death of a former Master’s student.
Mark Stall, who attended what was then The Master’s College in the late 1980s, is the only officer in the history of the Boise Police Department to have been killed in the line of duty.
Stall was a committed husband, father and follower of Christ who left behind a remarkable legacy. He was 29 years old.
Arnold Rubey — Stall’s father-in-law — reflected on Mark’s legacy: “The police chief that Mark served under said, ‘There could not have been a more ideal officer as far as character than Mark Stall.’ He had that kind of reputation.”
Mark attended TMC from 1986 to 1988. There, he met Cheryl Rubey, going on to marry her at Grace Community Church in 1989. Around that time, Mark accepted a job with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
After five years, Stall decided to move his family to Boise to be near Cheryl’s family and because it was safer, according to Arnold Rubey.
On Sept. 20, 1997, Boise Police officers stopped a car for a traffic violation, according to an article on the city of Boise’s website. When the two occupants refused to comply, the article says, Stall responded as a backup officer.
The two occupants exited their vehicle and opened fire on the officers, striking Stall just above his vest, according to the city.
Stall’s sacrifice that day remains fresh on the minds of many. He has been honored with a locker that bears his name and likeness inside the police department. And in 2011, the city council named a West Boise street “Mark Stall Place.”
“Members of the Boise Police Department thank Officer Stall for his service, and his family for their sacrifice,” reads the article on Boise’s official website. “They are owed a debt this department and community can never repay.”
Arnold Rubey performed his son-in-law’s funeral, which opened the door for Rubey, a pastor, to serve as chaplain to the Boise Police Department for 17 years.
“We’ve received stories of people coming to know Christ as a result of Mark’s story impacting them,” says Rubey, who wrote a book about the incident and its aftermath, Fallen Brother in Blue. “We had one couple tell us they were headed for divorce, and Mark’s death turned them around and changed their whole relationship with each other.”
Mark and Cheryl had two daughters, Jonelle and Julia, who were 6 and 3, respectively, at the time of their father’s death. Cheryl and the girls still live in the Boise area.
“Generally speaking, they’re doing alright,” Arnold Rubey said. “This was obviously a very deep grief for Cheryl. September is a hard month for her because that’s the month her oldest daughter was born and that’s the month she lost Mark. It’s always there.”
Each May, Cheryl, her daughters, and many others gather at the Idaho Peace Officers Memorial in Meridian, Idaho, to remember fallen officers like Mark from across the state.
“It’s an emotional thing,” Rubey said. “It’s not like an ordinary death. It stays fresh because of these sorts of things.”
Students who are dependent on parent(s) currently working full-time in law enforcement or fire departments are eligible to receive $14,000 in aid, awarded as $3,500/year for up to four years.
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