Mark was an extremely loyal and dedicated man to both his family and the fire service. He died on Saturday, January 11, 2020, in a line-of-duty accident at age 51. Mark’s fire service career began shortly after 9/11 when he joined Boys Town Fire Department in Boys Town, Nebraska. When asked why he wanted to be a firefighter, he stated that after the terror attacks, he wanted a way to give back to his community and be of service. In his almost 19 years in the fire service, he most certainly accomplished that goal.
Mark was recognized as Firefighter of the Year in 2004 and again in 2008 and promoted to captain with the Boys Town Fire Department in the summer of 2009. He moved to West Virginia in December 2015, becoming a member of the Spencer-Roane Volunteer Fire Department in January 2016 and the Clover-Roane Volunteer Fire Department in September 2017. He served as training officer at both West Virginia departments and held many certifications. He had just completed the exam for Fire Officer II the morning of his death and received a passing score the next day.
Mark was truly a self-made man. He paid his own way through college and, in 1996, discovered his passion, which was software. He taught himself to write code and, in 2010, married his two passions by creating a recordkeeping software product for fire departments.
Mark took great pride in his accomplishments, yet he was never boastful. He had a true servant’s heart. He once stopped to help an elderly man who had fallen in his yard while taking out the trash. That is the type of thing Mark did without hesitation. If you needed something done, you only had to ask Mark once and he did it. This unique quality was appreciated by those who knew him.
Mark was a Stephen King fan and read every novel the author published. Mark enjoyed music and was adamant that grunge killed the era of good music. He loved keeping up on current events and was a history buff. He was a whiz at computers and math. Mark could work a Rubik’s Cube in seconds despite being colorblind! He loved hiking, especially in Colorado. Mark enjoyed making others laugh and had the ability to carry on entire conversations by speaking only in movie quotes.
Family and many friends who had known Mark for much of his life commented that in the months leading up to his death he seemed the happiest and more at peace than ever before. This was true. Mark departed this life on a high note and while in the act of serving others. This has provided much-needed comfort to his wife, Sarah; his son, Pierce; daughters, Leven and Genevieve; his mother, Deanna; and many other family and friends.
When I think of my son Mark, I immediately flashback through the years of him going from toddler to adult, and the thing I will always remember was his willingness to help others. Mark had my heart and I miss him so much. He left us way too soon. Love you, my son.– Deanna Caniglia
Mark and I lost touch decades ago but I have fond memories of his gentle nature and sense of humor. I was so sad to hear about his untimely death. His youngest daughter is a spitting image. May his Memory be for a Blessing.– Corey Kaplan