For over 25,000 consecutive days, he fought the good fight, but no more. Jack Marquart, Bismarck, ND passed away May 18 at the age of 70 after a long battle with leukemia and lymphoma. He requested that his obituary not read like a resume. He wanted whoever read it to read between the lines about the life he lived without comparison to others, believing that no matter what, there are always people of greater and lesser wisdom and experience, and that the universe is unfolding in the way it was intended.
Jack was born August 29, 1952, in Bismarck. He was raised in Napoleon, ND, graduating from high school there in 1970 with an exceptional class. His parents, Frank and Ruby (Poverud), a German Catholic and a Norwegian Lutheran, gifted him with hybrid vigor and a fascination gene, and the community of
Napoleon nurtured it. Growing up in a 900 square foot house with five siblings, Jill (Dave Brown), Susie (deceased), Bill, Pat (Clarissa), and Scott (Teri) contributed to his patience, tolerance, sense of humor, and deep love for all of them. He learned to prefer a book and the Childcraft Encyclopedias over whatever the younger kids were watching on TV, thereby becoming a passionate reader his entire life. He particularly enjoyed the great classic novels, history, and philosophy, but read anything he could find, always searching for more information.
He considered himself fortunate to have met some exceptional people in his life. Bill Clairmont made him learn how to think about thinking. Jim Wachter explained the value of setting priorities. Mike Hurdzan showed him that it will work if you want it to work. Rick Engebretson demonstrated how to put the plan in writing. Niles Hushka showed him what courage, vision, and perseverance are. Greg Mayo taught him how to keep the zipperheads from getting you down. Gerry Spence convinced him that there is only one of each of us. George Monzingo exemplified quiet achievement, humility, and dignity. Oh, yes, there were others, impossible to mention them all and the lessons learned, keeping in mind to never let school interfere with education.
To Jack, friendship was visceral. So many friendships, friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure, and friendships of virtue. Wayne Aberle, Larry Pitzer, Deb Addy, Jack Lund, Mark Sperle, David Syhre, Rod Pfeifle, Marv Riskevich, friends of virtue who all shared with each other those periods of joy and accomplishment and those periods of suffering and pain on life’s journey.
Jack got to hike, hunt, fish, and ski the mountains and plains of the Dakotas and the Rocky Mountain West, including climbing Cloud Peak in the Bighorn Mountains. He got to hunt and fish Canada with his good friend Wayne. He had a constant companion for 13 years, a yellow lab named Cooper who retrieved a lifetime’s quota of ducks, geese, and pheasants at his farm and cabin in the woods. He got to take “Intro to Aviation” from John Odegaard at UND. He got to drive the Alaska Highway, explore Alaska, fish until his arms hurt, and stand and stare at Mt. Denali. He got to ski the Aiguille du Midi on Mt. Blanc at Chamonix, France, and got to test the fresh powder in Corbet’s Couloir in Jackson Hole. He got to see the wonders of the Serengeti Plains and Mt. Kilimanjaro up close and personal, listen to the wild night sounds in the Ngorongoro Crater, and walk in the footprints of prehistoric man in the Olduvai Gorge in Africa. He attended an audience with the Pope in Rome and stood in front of Michelangelo’s Pieta and wept. He got to visit the Nobel Peace Museum in Oslo and stand in awe of some of civilization’s great men (excluding Al Gore). He met his Norwegian relatives in Asker, Norway, and saw his family tree back to the 1300’s. He got to confirm the Bulldog Café in Amsterdam was more interesting that the van Gogh Museum. He played golf at Cabo del Sol with golf pal Uncle Jack (Mary Ellen), twice, and over 150 other golf courses nationwide. He got to take ping pong lessons, a lifelong passion, from an Olympian and national champion table tennis player. He spent time in Medora helping with projects and learned to appreciate the great people at the TRMF. He got to help build several golf courses, numerous airports, and many highways in many states in order to pay the bills.
But most important of all, he got to marry Debbie in 1984 at Paradise Park in Hawaii and become a father to Skyler and Sarah (Andrew Rodenburg), far and away his greatest joy. Building forts, playing catch, helping with homework, giving rides…Impossible to explain the pleasure from it all. He was a grandfather to Alma and Leven, uncle to Erin, Bridgot, Zach, and Bri, and friend to many great cousins.
Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air (Emerson), and embrace the odds of Pascal’s Wager…what a great life.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck.
Visitation will be from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, May 23, at Parkway Funeral Service.
A private family burial service will be held at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers or memorials, please consider a donation to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation in Medora in Jack’s name.