Mark was born August 22‚ 1955‚ in Mandan‚ North Dakota. When he was a child‚ his family moved to Willowbrook‚ Illinois. Mark proudly grew up with his parents‚ Carol and Phil‚ and his siblings‚ Eric‚ Hope‚ Joyce‚ and Leif.
Mark met his wife‚ Cheryl‚ in 1976. They married in May 1978 and celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary in 2010. Their son‚ Matt‚ was born in July 1979. Mark loved being a father and best friend to Matt. He was very proud and enjoyed watching Matt grow up. Mark was Matt’s #1 fan and was always there supporting Matt – with a SMILE!
Mark loved to sing‚ hum‚ whistle‚ and play his guitar. He made the best chocolate chip cookies‚ enjoyed watching sports‚ and loved playing in softball leagues and pick-up football games. He rarely missed an episode of JEOPARDY! or Seinfeld. During the summer you could always find him outside baking in the sun‚ especially during his annual vacation to South Haven‚ Michigan.
Mark loved to learn. He was always learning new things and teaching others. After graduating from Hinsdale South High School‚ Mark lived at home‚ went to college‚ and worked at Soukup Hardware in Hinsdale. In 1977‚ he graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Mark later earned an associate’s degree in fire science from the College of DuPage and a bachelor’s degree in fire science from Southern Illinois University.
In January 1981‚ Mark joined Tri-State Fire Department. After moving to LaGrange Park‚ Mark joined their fire department as a paid-on-call member in September 1981and worked there for almost 15 years.
In 1986‚ he joined the Hinsdale Fire Department as a full-time member. For over 24 years‚ Mark served the Hinsdale Fire Department in many capacities‚ including firefighter‚ paramedic‚ hazmat tech‚ inspector‚ lieutenant‚ training officer‚ captain‚ and deputy chief. Mark’s former lieutenant noted‚ Mark worked tirelessly to make sure the training of our members was at the highest level.
Mark’s SMILE was well known around the fire house. Some of the members noted‚ Mark had a knack for teasing people without coming across as mean spirited. Even his bad jokes produced a smile‚ because he was always wearing one himself. He took his job very seriously‚ but never took himself too seriously. Around the fire house he was a jungle gym for all the kids – young and old! Mark made us all SMILE!
He had a way of letting you know that everything was going to be alright. From a letter Mark once wrote to his Dad‚ I am not worried about facing the future because you have already given me everything I need to face it. Your strength and your love.