On a cold and snowy night February 1, 1949 Mark Hereth arrived in this world. On a cold, clear morning December 7, 2013 he completed his life's journey to join the saints in heaven. Mark should be remembered by how others witnessed the light of Christ in him. In his early years, he not only delighted his family with his wit and charm, but also impressed them with his interest in learning about anything, by his ability to engage people and through his natural skills with his hands. As Mark matured, he honed his people and nurturing skills during his eight years as a student at Zion Lutheran School as well as in the church fellowship group, Walther League. His natural skills for wood craftsmanship and mechanical understanding began to serve him as both hobbies and also in work on his family's farm. As a junior in high school, Mark extended his horizons to international involvement, and he became the celebrated first international exchange student from Snohomish High School. Through the American Field Service (AFS) student exchange program, he spent a year in New Zealand attending school, working on his New Zealand family farm and making new friends who remained dear family to him throughout his life. Because he felt he needed to honor his Snohomish community's interest and support of his role as an international ambassador, Mark faithfully corresponded with the people of Snohomish through weekly letters to the Tribune during his year away. Upon his return to Snohomish, he followed up with a busy schedule of visits to local Rotary meetings, assemblies and interested groups who wanted to learn of his life in New Zealand. Though Mark had designs of medical school or veterinary medicine, his draft number during the Vietnam War era called him to military service after four years at the University of Washington. In the Army Mark also shared his compassion and his faith. He invited the lonely soldiers home for holidays, backyard picnics and frequent dinners. Mark found ways to mentor those in difficult relationships and offer them counsel and friendship. He found people and they found him. Following his four years in the Army, Mark returned to his agricultural roots and his childhood home. He and his wife, and later three children, operated their family dairy in Snohomish until 2005. With the usual attention to detail and perfection, Mark led a progressive plan for the dairy. His hopes and dreams focused on a farming environment that nurtured the physical and spiritual needs of a family and served the educational and nutritional needs of the community. His children and the cousins craved his "classroom" in the shop and out in the field. Mark taught them how to coax life from a seed, build a straight fence line, to make the perfect wind-row and how to repair just about anything with baling twine. The diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease at age 46, though it thwarted Mark's future plans for the dairy, did not stop his influence on those around him. Mark bravely lived with PD as it stripped him of both physical and cognitive functions. He did not blame his life condition on it, but instead, remained an example of faith in spite of his circumstances. He knew he was blessed by his family, especially by his grandchildren who frequently made him pictures and prayed for him. "Papa Mark will be in heaven where God will build him a new body." Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Walt and Alvina Hereth, and his brother Lyle Hereth. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Lynne; children, Anna Groeneveld (Chris) and their children, Chloe, Fenna, Eissen; Karl Hereth (Mandy) and their children Jack, Logan, Dylan; Peter Hereth (Camille) and their children, Morgan, Landon, McRae. He is also survived by siblings, Gay Schwarzmiller (Kort) and Ken Hereth (Jean) and their families, and his sister-in-law, Margaret Hereth, and her family. The Hereth family extends warm thanks to the Providence Hospital and Hospice teams who cared for Mark with tender love and mercy. The service in celebration of Mark's fruitful and faithful life will be held December 14 at 1:00 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Snohomish, 4th and Ave. A. In lieu of flowers, the Hereth family suggests memorial contributions be made to Zion Lutheran School 3923 103rd Ave SE, Lake Stevens, WA 98258 or to another preferred charity.
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Published in The Herald (Everett) from Dec. 10 to Dec. 12, 2013