Peggy and I attended Mark's memorial celebration this morning and were reminded time and again how much we loved and admired Mark....and Tina. Fred Bidwell, Dave Bergholz, Greg Oznowich, Toby Lewis, Olivia Chartier, and Scott Chaikin spoke beautifully for all of us. "He filled the frame.....we experienced his loyalty and generosity.....he set the bar higher...perfectly imperfect....excellence without compromise.....uncompromisingly human....master of big fat ideas....always working toward smart.....master of the grand and little gesture.... underdog supporter....passion for social justice.....lived life with gusto, died with grace...." Mark supported me in all my campaigns for public office, but more than that, he and Tina always were, in his words, "all in." Although he and Tina always made the maximum possible contribution, he always did it in unforgettable pieces. A contribution of $3,690.80, followed weeks later by $2,459.75, followed by another equally odd and seemingly random amount; and always on his credit card so it was quick, efficient, and he could get his airline miles. As was said so well in the memorial service, Mark taught us to laugh louder, swear more, say what we think, and live without compromise. Mark, thank you for dazzling us with your life, love, example, and friendship.
Lee Fisher, 08.03.14
Mark and Tina were among the first couples we met prior to our arrival in Cleveland. Our first meeting was a formal interview dinner, where Mark and Tina were one couple among five, who had assembled to interview candidates for the position of Chief Curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art. We were seated with Mark and Tina. They were genuine, curious, smart, and clearly committed to seeing the museum succeed. For them, support of the museum was driven not by social status, but by a conviction that art mattered. What I remember most from that first encounter with Mark was how refreshingly open, bombastic, and ambitious he was as a trustee. Mark believed in the power of art to open our eyes to the world around us, he believed that Cleveland could distinguish itself through its cultural organizations, and he and Tina used their philanthropy to make the things they cared about happen. Mark was also a believer in the importance of passion and vision, a supporter of living artists, and curious about the world. Mark took an interest in you, your work, your family, he was fully engaged. There was nothing half-assed about Mark. He would call you on it if he felt you were dialing it in, because he believed that if something was worth doing, you should give it everything you had. He felt the same way about organizations. Mark was demanding in the best possible way. We will miss Mark, and will we carry his passions and convictions out into the world, holding closely the lessons he taught us.
Griffith and Amanda Mann, 08.03.14
My favorite memories of Mark are centered on when he would tease me about all things Jewish. That was part of the way he showed his love. But he took a special joy, it seemed, when he could mock some religious observance that I followed.
Years ago, we were flying to New York on a 6:30 am flight and had been upgraded to first class. The flight attendants set about serving the meal. Mark was enjoying a mimosa and a fluffy mini croissant when they brought my kosher meal -- a frozen salami sandwich. He nearly choked from laughing so hard.
More than 20 years later, when we hadn't seen each other for a long time, I was standing in the Continental lounge at Hopkins. As the bartender was asking for my order, a voice came over my shoulder, "He's having a frozen deli sandwich." It was wonderful to see him.
Robert Lakin, Friend, admirer, butt of Mark's joking, 08.02.14
When I met Mark for my interview, I experienced his bold and direct approach for the very first time. I knew immediately that this wasn’t going to be any “ordinary” job.
After 9 years of working together, I’ve seen him in a room as the center of attention at his best—and when his Apple devices were not cooperating—at his worst. Sometimes I wonder why we put up with each other, but then I realize we were always fighting for the best solution. He was always willing to go to the mat for his ideas. I would inevitably tap out, but each time we learned a little more from each other and eventually we started to wrestle problems together. Underneath the ass aches was a lot of respect. He told me we made a good team because “I remember everything, and Shawn forgets everything.”
The only way I can describe losing Mark is like living in a world without gravity. He was a force in every room he entered. His energy and passion was palpable and constant. I can’t believe he’s really gone. Somehow we will move forward and find a new way of doing things in this world without gravity.
I’m going to miss our lunches at Slymans, and even our occasional “come to Jesus” meetings. Thanks for making the last 9 years extraordinary.
Shawn Beatty, 07.30.14
Because Mark was a lover of the arts, I was introduced to the Cleveland Film Festival. His generosity allowed my husband and me to go from mainstream Hollywood flicks to independent, subtitled, Chinese movies about a man and his cow. For this…I will always remember and be grateful to Mark.
Patty Fracker, 07.30.14
Mark was a constant presence in our life in Cleveland for eight years. He, along with Tina and Emma and Sophie were a part of our "Cleveland family." Tina and I were pregnant at the same time - she with Emma and me with Leo and our kids all grew up together in the early years. Mark was always teasing Sophie, Emma and Leo, and while they protested, really enjoyed tremendously. One year we all went to Florida together, where Mark proceeded to moon us all in the pool screaming humpback whale, humpback whale. We all laughed hysterically - it was such a typical Mark moment - so funny and such an outrageous gesture - the type of humor that we always expected from Mark that made us laugh so hard, we cried. His brand of humor, fun and intelligence is such a rare combination, we will all miss him terribly.
Ileen Gallagher (and Leo and Tom too), 07.30.14
On my coffee table is a little book of photography that Mark made. Taken during his family trip last year, the photos capture the beauty in the ceilings of Italy. In his inscription to me, he penned, "Never forget to look up." I am looking up, my friend. And when I do, I will think of you, and how you touched me.
Cindy Schulz, friend, 07.29.14
They say that there is nothing more challenging than shooting an assignment for another photographer. When I worked with Mark he would offer his opinion on the best way to approach a shoot. He would critique my work during the job and he might even show up on location to “guide” me. Mark loved the process of making pictures and I knew photography would always be the most important design element for every project that we worked on. Mark knew how to push you to provide the best work possible.
Many years ago Mark asked me to provide photography for the Laurel School admissions materials and together we established a photographic style that showed off the students as intelligent and inquisitive young ladies. The view books turned into one of the most fulfilling projects of my career as we had the opportunity to photographic many of the same girls first as kindergartners, then teenagers, and finally as college graduates. Leave it to Mark to turn a commercial project into a photographic essay. We both believed in the school so much that Mark’s daughters and my daughter became Laurel students and graduates. Thank you Mark, you will be missed.
Roger Mastroianni, 07.27.14
I am lucky enough to be one of Mark's Big, Bold, Brassy Women. Tina, Sophie and Emma are not so big but they are definitely Bold and Brassy Women. And Mark loved them more than anyone or anything.
One of Mark's favorite Big, Bold, Brassy Women was Cher. Particularly the "Half-Breed" Cher astride a Pinto Horse. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mark at the Cleveland Cher concert in May. Although Cher did sing "Half-Breed" and later emerged from a Trojan Horse, the Pinto never materialized. Much to Mark's disappointment.
Mark was a legendary storyteller. He would ask you if he had ever told you the "Lois and the Cuyahoga River" or other story and you would say, yes, about a dozen times. And he would proceed to tell the story anyway, as though he had never told it before. And you would listen as though you had never heard it before. And you would wait for it—the dramatic, brilliant, hilarious payoff.
Memorial tributes invariably include a mention of the loved one arriving in Heaven. I can see Mark arriving at the Pearly Gates and exclaiming "Oh, Man! I don't even fuckin' believe in this place! Or you!" And he would give Saint Peter the finger. When the gates opened anyway, he'd announce "I'm going in to look for Arbus, Avedon and Winogrand and raise some hell. Let me know when Friedlander gets here!"
To Tina, Sophie and Emma - You Got Me, Babes.
Laura Bidwell, Gypsy, Tramp and Thief, 07.26.14
I knew of Mark through his affiliation with N + S. Amazing design, thoughtful executions. When I was in the AD business, I always looked forward to seeing his award winning work, wondering what he would do next. Sorry to hear he is gone...
Melissa Harris, professional admirer from afar..., 07.25.14