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Posted on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 10:26 a.m.

Dexter graduate killed in crash remembered for love of golf, winning smile

By Amy Biolchini


Jordan Marken golfs for Dexter High School in 2008. A golf scholarship has been established to Concordia University in his honor after Marken died Monday morning at the age of 22. file photo

For Jordan Marken, 22, of Dexter, there were no other sports but golf.

The game carried him from summers spent on the greens as a young boy to Dexter High School and eventually to his second semester as a senior and captain of the golf team at Concordia University in Ann Arbor.


Jordan Marken

As a tribute to his love of the game, Marken’s family has established a golf scholarship in his name to Concordia University.

Marken died Monday after a 4 a.m. rollover crash on U.S. 12 east of Freer Road just east of the Chelsea city limit.

The cause of the crash is unknown. There were no other vehicles involved. Family members didn’t know why Marken was on that road at that time of night.

“It’s rough. He was on pace to graduate. … There were so many big things ahead of him,” said Matt Distelrath, golf coach for Concordia. “He was in the spring semester of his senior year. … It makes you realize how valuable your time is here.”

In honor of Marken’s importance to the team, the golf team will be playing one member down for the 2013 season, Distelrath said. They also will wear Marken’s initials on their shirt collars, Distelrath said.

Marken was planning on pursuing a career in pharmacy after graduation.

“He had the biggest smile,” said Marken’s mother, Linda Kukola of Dexter. “It took him a long way.”

Marken started golfing before the age of 10 at a golf course his grandparents own in Hillsdale.

“He was out golfing every chance he got,” Kukola said.

He attended junior and senior high school in Dexter, where he joined the golf team.

“While he was at Dexter, I loved having him on the team because he worked hard,” said former Dexter High School golf coach Frank McAuliffe. “He wanted to play good golf; he always asked questions.”

Marken played on the Dexter High School golf team all four years, and helped propel the team to some regional wins, McAuliffe said.


Jordan Marken golfs for Dexter High School in 2008. file photo

“He was a big part of the team and we had some pretty good success with him on it,” McAuliffe said.

The Pierce Lake Golf Course in Chelsea was his favorite course, Kukola said.

After graduating from Dexter High School in 2009, Marken went straight to Concordia University in Ann Arbor.

In his freshman year on the team, he quickly became a standout as the top golfer. He’s the second-best golfer in the history of Concordia’s program, which was started in 2005, Distelrath said.

“He was very dedicated to it,” Distelrath said. “He was very, very serious about his golf game.”

After living in the dorms for his first two years of college, Marken moved back home to live with his mother and stepfather, Kevin Kukola, and commuted to school. During his summers and time off, he worked for his uncle at Elite Moving Company.

Marken liked to fish, hunt, canoe and play Frisbee golf. He leaves behind a large family in the Dexter community, Linda Kukola said.

Marken was Linda Kukola’s middle child and her only boy. Marken’s father, Richard Marken, lives in Chicago.

“He’s very outgoing, and always joking around; a very lighthearted guy,” Distelrath said. “He’s just a fun guy to be around. Everyone enjoyed his company.”

Marken’s family has requested that instead of flowers that a donation be made to a golf scholarship started at Concordia University. In the memo line of the check, write “In memory of Jordan Marken.”

Linda Kukola said the scholarship would be used to help students that don’t have access to the resources they need to succeed in golf. Marken himself was on a golf scholarship to Concordia.

“(The scholarship) helped him, and so we’d like to help someone else,” Linda Kukola said. “Jordan would have wanted that.”

Visitation will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Hosmer-Muehlig Funeral Chapel at 3410 Broad St. in Dexter, and from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday prior to the 11 a.m. funeral service.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 10:52 p.m.

One of the best guys to ever walk on earth! His smile will be missed by so many.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

I had the privilege to share the golf course with Jordan in High School. I always had a wonderful time when I was paired with him. That smile of his was really contagious and he always knew how to keep things loose when in competition. Jordan is a class act and my prayers go out to his family.

Jim Osborn

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

A tragic loss, and a shame for all who knew and loved him. What a fantastic action photo of him from high school! It even has the ball leaving. How I wish I'd seen the picture under different circumstances.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to this young man's family and friends!


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

My condolences to Jordans family friends and all who loved him. Gone too soon.

Dirty Mouth

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.



Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

Although I never met the young man, my thoughts and prayers also for his family. The death of any young person, especially one so talented and with so much potential is always tragic. RIP, Jordan.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

As all of us that have lost a loved one at a young age know, words just can't describe the feelings the family and friend are going through. For those that know the family, offers to help may go unanswered now.But do not quit trying to help and do not quit asking how they are doing.It is hard to see the rest of the world going on when yours has been torn apart. My deepest sympathies.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

Well said! Nobody should ever feel the pain that comes with the death of their precious child...


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 3 p.m.

My thoughts and prayers to the family at this most difficult time. Reading this article I know that family and friends grieving now will be comforted later by the good memories of this fine young man.

Sam S Smith

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Special thoughts and prayers for Jordan Marken, his family and friends. That is very nice of you to set up a scholarship to help others!