MARQUETTE - Mark Allen Small, age 59, of 805 Clark Street, Marquette, went to join his heavenly family on Monday afternoon, July 1, 2013, at home, surrounded by the loving, comforting care of his family and UP Home Health and Hospice.
Mark was born in Marquette on July 4, 1953, a beloved son of Donald and Margery (Todish) Small. At his birth, his mother's roommate remarked, "how can you have a firecracker without a fuse" and Mark turned out to be quite the firecracker growing up. He graduated from Marquette Senior High School in 1971, and soon after, he and buddy, Dick Larson, joined the US Army. Mark attended military police training in Georgia and his first assignment was at the Presidio in San Francisco where he served on the honor guard. Other duty assignments included being stationed in Japan and Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, where he served as a criminal investigator. He was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1978 after serving his country for six years. Having the desire to be in "God's Country", Mark returned to the Upper Peninsula where he attended Northern Michigan University for a short time. Realizing college was not for him, Mark took a position at the Marquette Branch Prison as a correction's officer. His career at the prison lasted five years before he relocated to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to accept a position with the Brown County Sheriff's Department, serving there seven years.
Mark was a true outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing, and all that nature had to offer. His freezer was always well stocked with venison, fish, and other wild game. He also enjoyed gardening and, while living in Green Bay, constructed a beautiful fish pond and rose garden at his home. Other interests and hobbies included woodworking and photography. One of his proudest accomplishments was the construction of the wooden boardwalk at the Chocolay Marina. Mark was a member of Jopling Post 44 of the American Legion, the North American Hunting Association, and was an avid Green Bay Packer fan.
Mark had a deep love for his parents and family. His greatest joys were his son, Erik Small and granddaughter, Rayann Small.
Survivors include his son, Erik Small of Marquette and his granddaughter, Rayann Small of Denton, TX; his mother, Margery Small of Marquette; brothers, Don (Carol Luft) of Ishpeming, Kevin (Kim) of Wixom; sisters, Mary Small Vertanen (Dennis) of Harvey; sisters-in-law, Nita Small of Marquette and Carla Small of Gwinn. He is also survived by his nephews, Brian Small (Krystyn), Matt Small (Krista) and Jerrod Small (Michelle); and his nieces, Courtney Vertanen, Kimberley Vertanen (Steven Sharlach) and Bridgett Karuzas (Dennis). Mark adored the little ones in his extended family, especially great-nephews, Tyler Small and Austin Marier and great nieces, Hayley Small, Emilee Marier, and Olivia Small.
Preceding Mark in death were his father, Colonel Donald R. Small; his niece and goddaughter, Lindsey Kay Vertanen; his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and many cousins.
The family will receive relatives and friends at the Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home on Saturday, July 6, from 10:00 am until the time of service at 11:00 am. Rev. Darryl Small, Mark's cousin, will officiate. Pallbearers will be Brian and Matthew Small, Dennis Karuzas, Stanley, Jeff, and Robert Helberg. A reception will follow in the reception room located at the funeral home. Graveside services, with veteran's honors will be held at the Park Cemetery at 1:30 pm Saturday afternoon.
The family would like to thank the staff of UP Home Health and Hospice for the loving care they provided to Mark during his final days. They would also like to thank the staff and residents of Meadowview AFC in Fife Lake for being Mark's "other family" for the past three years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Mark's memory may be made to UP Home Health and Hospice, 510 Mather Avenue, Ishpeming, MI 49849 or Bay Cliff Health Camp, P.O. Box 310, Big Bay, MI 49808.
Condolences may be expressed online at swansonlundquistfuneralhome.com.