“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”2 Timothy 4:7
Mark Timothy Waterhouse, 65, finished the race peacefully surrounded by family November 9, 2020. But in life, Mark was a warrior, always going the extra mile for his family, his gymnasts, and his community.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee on February 15, 1955, Mark was the oldest of three sons. The family eventually moved to Duluth where Mark attended Duluth Central. Mark was a gifted athlete...he could fly! At the high school level, he played football and ran track; after graduation, he attended UMD where he played as a wide receiver with the MIAC football championship team of 1973 and ran the high hurdles and relays for the UMD men’s track team.
It was magic to watch #82 deking every cornerback and catching every pass. It was pure joy to watch Mark soar over the high hurdles. Sitting in the stands was the love of his life, Rebecca, with whom he was to share 43 years of marriage, teamwork, and overcoming hurdles. They would have one son, Matthew, and three daughters, Kara, Rachel, and Jaime.
Mark graduated from UMD with degrees in art education, physical education, and a coaching certification. Thereafter he studied architectural design and drafting at Dunwoody Institute and also became a licensed real estate broker who negotiated lucrative land transactions for Johnson Brothers Corporation. He also immensely enjoyed building the cabin of his dreams where “it’s always sunny and seventy.”
Mark loved his children and grandchildren fiercely. He encouraged and supported his family by visiting zoos with his animal-lover son Matthew. He literally built a gymnastics facility for his daughters and coached them in soccer, basketball, and track. Mark traveled across the nation to support his children’s activities. He coached his daughters to the collegiate level with all three receiving scholarships thanks to his devotion. Mark also enjoyed his time relaxing with his family at the cabin. Most recently he would take his adoring grandchildren fishing, saving all secret fishing spots just for them. He made it a priority to attend every family and school activity that he could. His favorite people call him “Papa” and he thanked God every day for the years he was given to get to know them, joke with them, and love them.
The gym for the family grew into The Gymnastics Academy where Mark coached and mentored hundreds of youth in the Northland community for 22 years. In the words of his former gymnasts: “ You were a second Dad to us. You might think that after we all left, we moved on--but we will never “move on” from the gymnastics life we lived. It is a piece of us forever, a point of pride. YOU changed us. While you were busy thinking you were just our coach, you were writing out a legacy that is being lived out in all corners of the country by strong, confident women who you helped mold.”
Mark, sadly, was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four cancer in September 2016, but never was there evidence of a flagging spirit. Thornton Wilder wrote a play about taking life for granted, where the question is posed: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute?” The answer: “No. Saints and poets maybe. They do some.” But Mark did too, as his new motto became: “Every day is a good day”. Mark sought treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Chicago. Miracles would happen every day for him under their care for four extraordinary years. He even volunteered for four cancer trials that would help improve the lives of other patients fighting the same battle. Against all odds, he participated in the half marathon last year, and he finished the race, smiling.
Mark is survived by his wife of 43 years, Rebecca; son, Matthew David Waterhouse; daughters, Kara (Mikkel) Long and their daughters, Rosalind and Sylvie; Rachel (David) Moline and their children, Benjamin, Joshua, and Sofia; Jaime (Thomas) Kolar and their children, McKenzie, Lexis and Mason; his parents, Charles L. and Dorothy Waterhouse; brothers, Daniel (Cathy) Waterhouse and Charles K. (Jackie) Waterhouse, mother-in-law Marjory Johnson, sister-in-law Pamela Dille, brother-in-law TR (Kimberly) Johnson, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Due to COVID, private family services were held. As a fitting memorial to Mark, please sponsor or mentor a youth in an extracurricular activity. You never know when or if your influence stops. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E 2nd St. Duluth, MN, (218) 727-3555.