Dec. 20, 1952 - Jan. 24, 2014
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LAPORTE - Mark Edward Essling, 61, of LaPorte, died on Friday, January 24, at IU Health LaPorte Hospital. Mark slipped away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family and friends. Mark was born in LaPorte on December 20, 1952, to Vincent and Ellen (O'Connor) Essling. Mark graduated from LaPorte High School and Indiana University, where he studied finance. Mark was affiliated with Phi Gamma Delta fraternity while at IU, forming bonds that lasted a lifetime. Mark followed in the footsteps of his father, attending Worsham College of Mortuary Science. Following graduation he joined his father and mother as a funeral director at Essling Funeral Home. Mark became the president and owner of Essling Funeral Home in 1992 and served in that capacity until his death. Mark's devotion to his profession was surpassed only by his profound love for his two children, Stephanie and Michael, who reside in Chicago. His beloved companion, Debi Benner, brought incredible joy to Mark's life. In addition to his family, Mark felt incredibly blessed by many great friendships, both personal and professional. Mark valued his long time employees, Jeanne Kessler, Rip Ludlow, Judy Keene and Mark Busse, who shared the same compassion and professionalism that Mark embraced. They will continue the tradition of service that defined Mark's life. Mark was active in our community, serving as a board member on The LaPorte Hospital Foundation for six years; in that capacity he served as chairman of the nominating committee, served on the golf committee, the membership and special events committees and supported the Chapel Construction Campaign, the Heart Campaign and the Investment for Life Campaign. Mark was a member of the Meals on Wheels board of directors and also served on the Advisory Council at First Source Bank. Mark was a parishioner and usher at Saint Peter Catholic Church, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Lions Club. He was supportive and generous to numerous community organizations. Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Vincent and Ellen Essling. In addition to his children, Mark is survived by two brothers, Michael (Cheryl) Essling of LaPorte and Timothy of Denver, Colorado; and two sisters, Mary of Chicago and Marti (Thomas) Swanson of LaPorte, a loving niece, three nephews and many cousins. Mark was an enthusiastic member of his FIJI fraternity and a die-hard fan of sports, particularly of Indiana University basketball. He rarely turned down an opportunity to watch or attend a sports event. Donations may be made to The Foundation in support of IU Health LaPorte Hospital, Meals on Wheels, and Saint Peter Catholic Church. Friends may call at Essling Funeral Home on Wednesday from noon until 8:00 pm, and from 8:30 to 9:30 am on Thursday. A Rosary will be recited at 1:00 on Wednesday. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Saint Peter Catholic Church on Thursday, January 30, at 10:00 am. The twinkle in Mark's eye, his contagious and knowing smile, his strength and love of humanity will be greatly missed! Farewell, Moe....until we see you again!
Published in South Bend Tribune on Jan. 28, 2014