Major: Studio Art
Residence: El Dorado
Deceased: March 28, 2018
Alumni survivors: Mario L. Small, Ph.D. ’96 (Child)
I received a note from Mario Small’s son last evening that Mario passed away on WED morning in Panama City, Panama. His son had been relaying messages for me the last week or so. I had talked to Mario on the phone a couple of times during the past few months. He had intended to be at the reunion. Mario and I connected at 4 Carleton reunions. When I talked to Mario about 7 weeks ago, I knew he was very sick – and was probably not going to be able to attend. He was in the hospital last week but released to go home on SUN and passed away quietly on WED morning. His son has the same name and also went to Carleton.
Steve Bayne ’68
I spent the first two trimesters of my freshman year at Cuttington College in Liberia with my father, and returned late to Carleton for the spring trimester 1965. I lived in the stadium, and my roommate was Mario Small. Gary Zempel and Rodger Poore were in the next room. I remember playing some 45 rpm Liberian popular music and meaning to show Mario the High Life dance step. The demonstration was not necessary, Mario immediately began to dance with a big smile on his face, saying “that’s my music”. Clearly the Atlantic ocean was no barrier preventing those West African rhythms from making it to Panama. I have seen him at a couple of reunions since, and always enjoyed catching up. I vividly remember his broad smile.
Tim Wegner ’68
So sorry to hear of Mario’s passing. At our last reunion I told Mario that my daughter’s family would be moving to Panama that summer, for my son-in-law’s job. He asked me to have them contact him when they arrived, which they did, at which time my wife Jean was also with them, assisting with the move. Mario invited them all to his home for a lovely dinner. They reported on a wonderful evening with Mario and his wife in a beautiful home which Mario himself had designed. Mario was extremely generous and gracious to my family, which is entirely consistent with the friend whom I knew well during our years at Carleton. He was a very good man, who I am sure will be dearly missed in Panama, as he will be at our reunion.
Tom Fabel ’68
Mario Small was one of the students of color among the eight in our class and a good friend of mine. Initially I got to know Mario through this cultural connection. We were roommates in an apartment in Minneapolis the summer of 1966 where we both had two summer jobs each, worked hard saving for the next academic year but found plenty of time over weekends for parties, other social activities and ultimately, recovery before heading back to work that next Monday morning. At that time, rum & coke was Mario’s drink of choice which he introduced me to and I had the first alcoholic drink of my life with Mario that summer.
I am not certain as to what Mario’s major was at Carleton but his passion was for design and architecture. After graduating from Carleton, I do know that he enrolled at the School of Design at Harvard. In September, 1968 we drove to the East coast together as I was headed to Cornell University in pursuit of an advanced degree in economics. Ithaca, New York was not the most exciting place I had ever been, and like Carleton, a remote location, so consequently I spent a lot of weekends in Boston where Mario was always a very gracious host. This is how I discovered Harvard Business School and for the next two years, while not roommates, Mario and I spent a reasonable amount of time together at social, cultural and sports events throughout the Boston area.
Mario was in attendance at my wedding in June 1971 in New Haven, Connecticut. Over the years, we kept in touch through holiday card greetings, and less frequent phone calls, but Mario and his family did visit with us in Texas in the early 90s and I had the opportunity to meet and visit with him and his three sons; three fine young men. Mario was very proud of his family and like all dedicated Fathers was totally committed to their future wellbeing. Given his expertise in Design and Architecture, and mine in housing and real estate, we often discussed and dreamed about the prospects of teaming up together to produce some unique, signature develop in either Panama or Texas. However, the realities time, distance and the daily demands of rearing three boys each were quick to regain our focus.
Today I still have some of the works of the artist, Mario Small, hanging proudly on our family room wall here in Dallas; “Centennial Eagle” one of his paintings, as well as two hand-stitched, colorful Molas , one of which depicts the championship prize fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran (see attached ). I will never forget my first meeting with Mario; his pointed toe shoes and colorful ascot. And Mario was insistent that this guy named Pele’, whom I had never heard of at the time, was the greatest athlete in the world! And soccer, a bigger world sport than football?? Mario added a diverse cultural experience to the Carleton community which served to benefit all of us.
Mario Small was a good friend of mine.
Printice Gary ’68
Mario and I were friends at Carleton, an acquaintance struck up on the dance floor, because he and I LOVED to dance. In 1969, I moved to Cambridge after a stint working in the Twin Cities and we met up again. We hung out together a lot, as both of us were jazz and R&B fans. What type of music did Mario NOT appreciate? He always reached out to me prior to reunions, but we never did manage to be at the same ones. He was a prime example of a man who enjoyed life. I was still gnashing my teeth on the unfairness of society when he was already into ‘life is good.’ What a great guy.
Meryl Moritz ’68