John Mark passed away on August 23, 2018 at age 84. Our friend and fellow Seattle Prime Timer was taken from us by cancer. He was a kind man, a friend to all he met, and an active participant in our club and community activities. One of his friends called him 'an exceptional human being.' He also enjoyed one-on-one activities with club members such as going to the Silent Movie Mondays at the Paramount Theatre and enjoying the original 1928 'Mighty Wurlitzer' organ instrument accompaniment to the movies. John owned a rather large organ which he enjoyed playing. He also was a bit of a car buff and owned a Nash Rambler that is over 50 years old and which he kept in immaculate condition.
John had worked as a Public Health Officer and as an electrician. As a young man he had been a Catholic Seminarian and he was true to those values throughout his life. From time to time he would send some of his friends mailings with clippings on topics of interest to him, which sometimes contained copies of the Catholic Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. During his last weeks he would remind visitors that in visiting him, they were performing a Corporal Work of Mercy.
The Corporal Works of Mercy are these kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs: Visit the sick; Bury the dead; Feed the hungry; Clothe the naked; Visit the imprisoned; Shelter the homeless; Give drink to the thirsty.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion, by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs: Instruct; Advise; Console; Comfort; Forgive; Bear wrongs patiently.
Responding to an article on 'Writing an Obituary by Ted Verdone' which was reprinted in our July 2014 Newsletter, John prepared his own 'In Memoriam' document which he sent to the Club and other key individuals in his life. We present it below with only a few modifications.
John Henry Mark
Born: November 16, 1933
Died: August 23, 2018
John Mark, 84, of Seattle, Washington, died Thursday, August 23rd at Covenant Care in Seattle. He was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the only child of Helen M. Gesting and John A. Mark, who have preceded him. Shortly after the death of his father in 1939, when he was five years old, he and his mother moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and then to Los Angeles, California, where they lived until the Second World War. After moving back to the East Coast, his mother re-married in 1943, and he grew up in Somerville, New Jersey, County Seat of Somerset County, where he attended public and parochial schools.
After graduation from St. Peter's High School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, he worked for Electrolux Corp., Johns-Manville Corp. and then The Englander Company. He began studies for the priesthood at Glastonbury Latin School at Glastonbury (Benedictine) Monastery in Hingham, Massachusetts, graduated from St. Jerome's College Seminary with a B.A. (Department of Philosophy) in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, attended Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and was ordained a priest in the Old Roman Catholic Church at St. Augustine's Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.
He attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he completed the Environmental Health Curriculum in the School of Public Health. His Public Health experience in several Health Departments and with The Port of New York Authority included positions of Sanitary Inspector, Registered Sanitarian, and Assistant Public Health Educator. He became a licensed Health Officer in New Jersey and moved to Seattle in 1980, leaving his public health career, which he loved, due to prejudice, bigotry and homophobia; discrimination, which he experienced in housing and employment, during the 1960's and 70's on the East Coast.
After moving to Seattle in 1980 he was employed as a manufacturers' representative for custom-made Energy Efficient Insulating Windows & Doors, as a salesman for Metro Motors specializing in Mercedes-Benz automobiles, and as a Counseling Group Manager for Associated Catholic Cemeteries for the Archdiocese of Seattle. He eventually became a self-employed Electrical Contractor which he very much enjoyed, having had over 40 years' experience doing residential electrical work since he was a young man.
John was a disciplined and health-conscious person, and never had an addiction to alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or drugs. He enjoyed home improvement projects, cars, photography, reading, housekeeping, classical music, especially organ, which he taught himself to play. He was very involved with the anti-circumcision movement in this country and was part of a nationwide network of organizations and individuals educating the public by raising consciousness about this needless and barbaric surgery performed on baby boys. He was an invited guest speak-e at The First International Symposium on Circumcision held in Anaheim, California in March 1989, and was the founder and director of the Circumcision Information Resource Center of Washington, appeared on radio and television, and presented educational programs on the subject for various groups.
He never married, had no children, and out-lived his parents, relatives, and most of his cousins. He is survived by many friends and acquaintances in Seattle, San Diego, and throughout the country, due to various organizations that he was involved with over the years. He had been a member of the Seattle Men's Chorus, Ethyl Forever Car Club, AMC Rambler Club, Seattle Electric Vehicle Association, and Seattle Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Secular Humanists of Washington, Spreckels Organ Society, FOG (Fellowship of Older Gays) in San Diego, Seattle Prime Timers, and Ageless Men's Support Group in Seattle.
A memorial for John is being planned. If you would like to be involved or attend, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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