Mark C. Flaherty of Duluth died peacefully June 13th with his family by his side, one week shy of his 91st birthday.
Mark was born June 20, 1931, in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Elk River, MN. He also lived in Colorado Springs during WWII where he landed his first job as a 12 year-old Soda Jerk. He graduated from Elk River High School and went on to the University of MN, where he started working toward a BA in Geography. Mark’s studies were interrupted while he served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict. He completed his BA and began work toward his Masters in Urban Studies and Geography after his service was completed.
Mark began his career with the City of Duluth where he held a series of planning and community development positions. He was particularly proud of his time revitalizing the Central Hillside while leading the Model Cities program. He moved on to become Director of Business Development and laid the early groundwork for I-35 expansion through downtown Duluth and the subsequent boardwalk development from Canal Park to Fitgers. Following his 23-year career with the City of Duluth, Mark worked in Saudi Arabia planning the infrastructure for the new city of Yanbu. He returned to Duluth and consulted with the City of Biwabik to plan the supporting infrastructure for the Giant Ridge expansion. Mark finished his career as St. Louis County Community Development Director.
Mark was an avid sports fan, particularly enjoying UMD Bulldog Hockey. He supported all his children’s sports activities including hockey, football, basketball and softball. He enjoyed coaching girls’ softball for many years at various levels. Later in life, he proudly followed his grandchildren’s activities and interests – too many to list. Mark enjoyed exploring the culture of places he visited including Europe, Middle East, US National Parks and especially Ireland. He had a love for the Northland and the BWCA consequently introduced his kids to the Gunflint and Sawbill trails. In retirement, Mark enjoyed WWI and II history, gardening, Duluth Symphony, and golf with his Bogie Boy buddies. He was a longtime active member of St. Michael’s Church and the American Legion.
Mark was married to his wife Audrey (Olson) and a devoted husband for 57 years. He is survived by his sons Kevin (Terri) of Lake Barrington, IL and Sean (Karen) of Maple Grove, MN and daughters Heather (Mike) Merchant of Bellingham, WA and Erin (Mike) Serre of Duluth, MN; seven grandchildren Meghan (Merchant) Riewe, Christopher Merchant, Shannon Merchant; Isaac and Jacob Serre; Elizabeth (Flaherty) Johnson, Logan Flaherty, Katie Brandt, and great grandson Lukas Ball. Mark was preceded in death by his wife Audrey, his parents Joe and Ruth Flaherty and his brother Terry.
Visitation will begin Tuesday, June 21st at 10am with Mass of Christian Burial at 11 AM at St. Michael’s Church, 4901 E Superior St. Duluth, MN. Burial will be 11 AM Wednesday, June 22nd at St. Andrews Church Cemetery, 566 4th St. NW, Elk River, MN. Memorials are preferred and may be directed to: Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Rd. Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256. Sign the online register book at www.dfhduluth.com. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E 2nd St. Duluth, MN, (218) 727-3555.