Mark B. IHDE (1948 - 2017)

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  • "Rest in peace. You are a good man, Charlie Brown...and you..."
    - Laura Hunnemeder-Bergfelt
  • "Rest in peace Mark. Thank you for all your service to..."
    - Linda Matteson
  • "To Mark: You are one of the most dignified men I have ever..."
    - Susan Stone
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    - Danielle
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IHDE, Mark B. November 3, 1948 - November 14, 2017 Retired Sonoma County Sheriff and Goodwill COO Mark Ihde passed away Tuesday November 14, 2017, at the age of 69 in the comfort of his home with family and his two loveable springer spaniels George and Gracie at his side. Loving husband to Barbara, proud father to Sean and Kimberly, with her husband Shawn and many grandchildren, great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews, Mark dedicated his life in service to others. Mark was born in Santa Rosa to Maurice and Louise Ihde. He was one of five children and the only boy. His family's hardships shaped him. He was quoted in an interview a number of years ago suggesting he took an optimistic approach to life because of what he faced growing up. His father, an agricultural banker, was his mentor and role model. He had tremendous respect and admiration for his father. His father would never give him the answer, but would work to head Mark down the right path and make him define the process and reach the conclusion alone. Mark's management style and his belief that people need a hand up, not a hand out, was formed at an early age. When asked who he admired most he said it was his father, who taught him responsibility, integrity, moral obligation and determination. Mark's family moved to Visalia where he attended Mt. Whitney High School. He was a track and field athlete and a tuba player in the marching band. He worked at an early age, once saying his first job was mowing lawns and picking prunes to pay for the bats he broke at Rincon Valley Little League. He also worked in the family fuchsia nursery and in high school worked at a florist. His strong work ethic also started early. His formal education included an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice form the College of the Sequoias. Thereafter he attended Sacramento State and studied Law Enforcement Administration. He was an FBI Academy graduate in Executive Development and Leadership and he was a Senior Management for Police graduate. Prior to his law enforcement career he was a sales manager for Firestone Tires and a regional sales representative for AT&T. While in the latter position he became a reserve deputy volunteering countless hours with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department. He soon discovered this was his calling and started a 27 year career with the Department. His tenure was capped off with his election as the County Sheriff in 1990, having received 71% of the vote in a contested election in his first run for public office. He ran unopposed for a second term and retired from the position in 1997. He was widely credited with restoring public trust in the department, adopting the community policing model and improving collaboration with local police departments. He managed with a team approach and like his father, was a mentor to several. After retiring as Sheriff, he served in several capacities as a consultant and continued his public service as a volunteer on several Boards, one of which was the local chapter of Goodwill Industries. He was drafted by the Board to become the CEO in 2007, where he worked until a few days before his passing. He led the nearly bankrupt organization to a thriving local business focusing on helping others and more than doubling the number of stores. Mark had a passion for life, adventure and community. Barbara recalls Mark hanging from a helicopter on long line at opening of abalone season, swinging over a cliff to practice for water rescues. He delighted in her shock when others told her the man at the end of the line was Mark. He believed in hard work and was a generous donator of his time and money. He loved to provide resources to others, yet never sought recognition for his efforts. With Barbara he would often share his personal satisfaction in seeing the impact of his donations. Most everyone else never knew. Those who knew him well saw a loving, generous, kind and gentle man known for his great smile and quick wit, baritone voice and thick shock of white hair. Mark's motto was, "I will help you so long as you are willing to help yourself." Mark held himself to the highest standards of honesty and integrity and in that way lead by example for many. He expected much of the people who worked with him, challenging them to reach their potential, willing to do whatever he could to assist those who were willing to embrace the challenge. Money management was truly a game of strategy for him. There was never a budget he did not love and embrace whether it was the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, Goodwill or his kids' allowance, which he managed all with delight. Spending summers and holidays at his grandparents' home in Kansas Mark was ingrained with the value of tradition especially around the holidays, orchestrating Christmas celebrations, participating in adult Easter egg hunts and wearing the red white and blue at old town parades in Arnold and Truckee. Golfing was an avocation yet, at times, a frustrating challenge. He enjoyed it more for the comradery, much like his breakfast with buddies on Thursday mornings. Those breakfasts were filled with debate, challenge, strategizing local and world events and great love. Following his prostate cancer diagnosis Mark viewed his upcoming treatments with profound dignity and treated his chemotherapy sessions as a short break from the office soon to return to finish the day. True to nature, Mark continued to work courageously furthering the goals of Goodwill even orchestrating work meetings in his home within the week of his passing. Mark lived for the challenge to better his community and most recently appreciated the work ahead to rebuild to be united stronger and safer. Mark and Barbara loved to spend time in Sierra Nevada's, particularly in Truckee, which to them was the perfect blend of a historic town, a river, a lake, beautiful granite and perhaps most importantly a train. They frequently chased the trains in furtherance of his quest to get the perfect photograph. He enjoyed driving his prized 1964 GTO convertible, the desire to own one having begun when he was a teen. Mark participated in Hot August Nights and with great joy, was able to "whined it up" like a teenager. Friends are invited to attend a Memorial Celebration honoring Mark's life on Friday, December 15, 2017 at 11:00 A.M. at the Center for Spiritual Living, 2075 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa. Barbara would like to thank Memorial Hospice who provided much needed support and love. We graciously request that any donations be submitted to St. Joseph Memorial Hospice specifically to the newly developing Hospice House in Santa Rosa.
Published Online in the Press Democrat from Nov. 19 to Nov. 27, 2017