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To the nines

Marc Ricks turned 99 on 09/09/09, and he reads daily from his autobiography to stoke fading memories.

Marc Ricks' 99th birthday fell on Sept. 9, the ninth day of the ninth month of 2009.

After serving a mission to French-speaking Europe, Brother Ricks earned a medical degree from the University of San Francisco. He subsequently practiced medicine in the Bay Area for 35 years. He and his wife Jane had five children.

Marc Ricks of Provo, Utah, champions journal writing and enjoys outings to his favorite restaurant, Chuck-A-Rama.
Marc Ricks of Provo, Utah, champions journal writing and enjoys outings to his favorite restaurant, Chuck-A-Rama. Photo: Courtesy of Robert Ricks

Sister Ricks passed away in 2005, and since September 2008 Brother Ricks has lived with his son and daughter-in-law in Provo. Both his hearing and memory are significantly impaired, and he generally only leaves the house on Sundays in order to attend Church services. But two things about him remain unaffected by the passage of time — his eating patterns and zest for written personal histories.

"He loves Chuck-A-Rama," granddaughter Jennifer Crafts reports. "We're taking him there (the night before) his birthday. Those are his two outings — Chuck-A-Rama and Church."

His enthusiasm for journal writing frequently manifests itself in his conversations with others.

"Without fail, each time I visit Grandpa will ask me if I'm writing my own history," grandson Robert Ricks said. " 'You need to do it,' he says, holding my hands firmly and smiling. 'It will remind you what a great person you are.' "

The elder Brother Ricks knows firsthand the importance of writing a personal history. He often sits in the living room and reads from his autobiography in order to supplement his own fading memory.

"One of the things he does on a daily basis is to read from his autobiography which he wrote several years ago," daughter-in-law Shirley Ricks said in an e-mail. "It helps him remember who he is."

His grandson Robert added: "He has so many stories from his years of medical practice that he compiled a separate, smaller book with some of his interesting medical stories that are in the autobiography. … When we visit for dinner, one or another of those stories will come up and we'll know what Grandpa has been reading that day."

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