John Marks, age 73 of Jordan, passed away on Sunday, March 20, 2016. A Gathering of Friends will be held on Friday, April 1, 2016 from 11AM-1PM with a Celebration of Life Service beginning at 1PM at Hope Lutheran Church, Jordan. Pastor Steve Thompson will preside. Urn bearers will be David Marks, Gregg Anderson, and JR Jones.
On August 16, 1942 Edward and Evelyn (Fagerlie) Marks celebrated the birth of their youngest son, John Robert Marks. John, along with his six siblings, was raised in Glyndon, Minnesota, a small town just east of Fargo, North Dakota. During his childhood, John would help at the family’s bar—the Log Cabin Bar and Grill. Constantly meeting new people at the bar, John quickly became a sociable, outgoing person. Working at the family’s bar made quite the impression on John and ironically, he never drank.
During John’s high school years, he met a young woman, Mary Jo Costello, from Dilworth, the rival town next to Glyndon. One day as Mary Jo was walking home, a car full of Glyndon cheerleaders and football players pulled up to her. In the car was John. They talked for a while and Mary Jo decided John was incredibly obnoxious. The two occasionally ran into each other and eventually John pestered Mary Jo enough to be his prom date. The first time John met Mary Jo’s parents for dinner, he was jokingly told to eat everything on his plate. Afraid of being rude, John did just that—eating the decorative bay leaf as well. Eventually, Mary Jo’s parents grew to like John, his big personality, and his teasing nature. The young couple exchanged wedding vows on October 20, 1961 at the Dilworth Lutheran Church.
The newlyweds began their family with the birth of their daughter, Mecque, and son, David. They moved to Carver and eventually settled in Jordan. John worked as a baker for many years to support his family. In the 70’s John injured his back and could no longer bake. He decided to attend Hennepin Vo-Tech for Culinary Arts. John went on to teach as a hospitability chef at the Carver-Scott Cooperative. When it came time to teach cake decorating, Mary Jo always stopped by to assist the class. The family worked together often, especially when they began a catering service. Along with his family’s help, John was able to meet his goals in life, such as retiring by age fifty and owning a hobby farm. In his 50’s John became a gentleman’s farmer, peddling hay at the Belle Plaine Sales Barn every Thursday, or as he called it, “Holy Day.”
John extended his hospitality to everyone he met. Often he would say, “If you’ve been to my house more than once, you’re not company anymore. You’re family.” He had an open-door policy—everyone was an equal in John’s eyes and he was always willing to lend a helping hand. If John couldn’t help, he always knew someone else who could. John was the “go-to guy” around town for those needing advice. Having always been a mentor, John was a natural grandfather. Much to Mecque’s distress, John taught his grandchildren how to drive at the age of twelve. John was also an avid outdoorsman. He was active in the Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and the Caribou Gun Club. On hunting trips, John always had Tramp, his loyal hunting dog, by his side.
John was a kind, humorous, genuine person who cared greatly for his friends and family. Simply put, he was a larger than life individual. John will be dearly missed by his wife, Mary Jo; children, Mecque (Tom Dohnansky) Leonard, David Marks; grandchildren, Sam Leonard, Jenna Leonard; brother, Donald (June) Marks; sister-in-law, Joann Marks, Norma Marks; other relatives and friends. John is greeted in heaven by his parents and siblings, Duane Marks, David Marks, Richard Marks, Edward Marks, and Doris Sagen.
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