Submitted by his wife
So many words could be used to describe Mark as an individual‚ firefighter‚ loving husband‚ father‚ and friend.
His facial smile‚ that crazy grin‚ always served to light up his surroundings‚ infecting those who were so fortunate as to know and meet him.
You could use words like love‚ loyalty‚ inspiration‚ devotion‚ compassion and humor. Certainly he possessed all of those.
His sincere love for his wife Gayle and daughters Shauna‚ Alyson & Kelsey.
His love of life‚ family and friends. His fondness for all of his pets.
His loyalty and dedication to his department during his 17 years of work.
His inspiration to all of the students in local schools.
His devotion to his peers‚ family and friends as well as to his department.
His compassion as an EMT providing care and comfort to those he transported by ambulance.
Possessing all those attributes does describe Mark‚ but he can only be fully described when you add and combine humor to those qualities. For that combination is what set him apart and made him so very special.
His wife‚ Gayle‚ recently accepted a citation in his honor‚ awarded by the state’s largest newspaper‚ the Manchester Union Leader‚ for his part in rescuing an individual who had gone through the ice on Lake Winnisquam. In 1989‚ he was honored as the ‘Firefighter of the Year’. This was awarded for the action taken by him‚ while assisting in a life saving rescue of an accident victim from the waters of Paugus Bay.
He loved life‚ he loved his work and he lived both to the fullest. He was not one to stand idle. He enjoyed family outings‚ his daughters’ athletic competitions‚ cooking‚ fishing‚ using his snow machine‚ hunting‚ scuba diving‚ and construction projects large or small. Construction like putting a new roof on his house to getting a car ready for a demolition derby.
He worked with the local high school Vocational Media program producing films on safety.
He was the driving force behind fund raising activities‚ hoping that one day the Laconia Fire Department‚ ‘the city on the lakes’‚ would have a properly equipped dive team and water rescue boat‚ capable of offering life saving assistance to local individuals as well as the thousands of tourists who use our lakes for winter and summer recreation.
That was his dream‚ and through the generosity of national companies such as Edgewater Boats‚ Ray Marine (the marine division of Raytheon Corp)‚ Mercury‚ EZ Loader and local companies such as Irwin Marine‚ Lakeport Landing‚ Laconia Savings Bank‚ and so many individuals‚ such as Fire Chief Ken Erickson‚ Alan Lydiard‚ his dream has become reality. Through their work and financial support the Laconia Fire Department now has a dive team and recently commissioned a water rescue boat in Mark’s memory. Corporate sponsors too numerous to mention have stepped forward with yearly donations to support this dream.
A Mark Miller Life Saving Fund has been created with the Laconia Fire Department. A memorial scholarship has been created in his honor with the Lakes Region Scholarship foundation. It has been awarded in his memory at graduation festivities the last two years.
Mark is survived by his mother Carmen and sister Debbie who reside in Clearwater‚ Florida. Shortly after his tragic death on March 11‚ 2004‚ another firefighter said ‘Mark always brought a sense of joy and happiness. I was fortunate to have known him because he made me a better person’. The greatest tribute you can pay an individual is the reality and knowledge that their life made a difference. It is said that nothing that is loved is ever lost‚ and no one who has ever touched a heart can really pass away‚ because some beauty lingers in each memory of which they have been a part. Mark left such beauty in our memories and his legacy will forever be etched in our minds and in our hearts. We are extremely fortunate that Mark Miller shared his crazy grin with this community.