Mark Holm

Obituary
6 entries
  • "Although I didn't know Mark personally, I was so saddened..."
    - N A
  • "Rest In Peace my dear friend. You did good... very good!"
    - Terry Steenrod
  • "I am so deeply sorry for your loss, I enjoyed every moment..."
    - Jessica Barela
  • "Mark was a fine man and I was blessed to know him. I always..."
    - Randy Montoya
  • "To Mark's family: I am very sad and full with so many..."
    - Karlene Johnson
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Holm, Mark Edwin



Last December, with Mark the focus of orchestrated flurry in the emergency roomâ€" doctors summoned, IVs pumping, X-rays ordered â€" he wondered aloud if this particular setback would trigger the end. It felt serious, he said as he strained to overhear the medical team's consultations. And then, calmly propping himself up in his hospital bed and looking at his wife, he asked, "How did I get so lucky? You … the kids … my friends … my siblings. Man, everything. I have loved my life."

Mark didn't surrender in the ER that night, instead giving his family and friends nearly six more months of his grace, humor, and courage. That night, though? That was quintessential Mark: believing he was on the brink and making his words count.

Mark died peacefully and at home on Tuesday, May 30, after fighting a particularly aggressive form of cancer. He was 63.

A professional photojournalist for all of his adult life, Mark was a gifted storyteller, crafting a rolling narrative through the lens of his camera. He chronicled his illness with a documentarian's eye and a poet's heart. The poignant moments he captured traced his journey in all of its hopeful highs and devastating lows: parking in a "Patient Only" spot at the UNM Cancer Center for the first time; graduating from a walker to a cane and then, sadly, back again; the roadmap outlined on his leg before a surgeon inserted a titanium rod; radiation treatments, doctors' appointments, chemo infusions, hair loss, blood transfusions. The list goes on.

Though also an artful wordsmith, Mark was most comfortable with a camera in his hands. He began his career just out of Southern Illinois University, setting up at the Tazewell News in tiny Morton, Ill., before moving back to his hometown to work at the Freeport (Ill.) Journal Standard. From there, he spent three years at the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, meeting his wife in the newsroom and connecting during an assignment at a bar in the middle of Iowa farmland.

In 1985, Mark landed at the Albuquerque Journal, where over a 16-year span he covered everything from breaking news to in-depth features to sports of all sorts. It was a rewarding run. When the rival Albuquerque Tribune offered him a post as its director of photography in 2001, Mark undertook the task of overseeing a department celebrated for its exceptional documentary photography. He counseled young photographers into better gigs, and he was a trusted confidant to talented and accomplished photojournalists who shared his vision. When the Trib shuttered in 2008, Mark did a brief stint as photo editor at the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire and then, before shutting down yet another newspaper (a newspaper whisperer, he was not), took a job as a picture editor at the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News in Denver.

Finally, while embarking on a freelance career that included assignments for the New York Times and the Washington Post, Mark also took photos for the weekly newspaper in Santa Rosa, N.M., after a former colleague launched the publication. At the same time, Mark served as advisor to young photographers on staff at the Daily Lobo, the University of New Mexico's student newspaper.

When he wasn't in professional photographer mode, Mark turned his camera toward his three children - Alison, Mary Kate, and Luke. From the milestones to the ordinary moments, he memorialized their lives beginning the day they were born. Mark was a family man to his core. He dropped everything if one of his children called on him. He took pride in their accomplishments, but he also simply enjoyed their company. They learned from him the value of integrity and humor, and the importance of tolerance and kindness.

Mark loved spending time with family and friends, loved listening to music, loved the peacefulness of the mountains and, on family vacations, the tranquility and fury of Lake Michigan. As a news junkie, he relished listening to NPR and watching the nightly news with Scott Pelley, Lester Holt, Judy Woodruff, and the late Gwen Ifill. (We feel compelled to list their names; after all, those familiar faces provided Mark a daily dose of anticipation and routine when he desperately needed a sense of normalcy in his life.) Before his illness kept him from venturing too far from home, Mark met his friends so regularly at the Canteen Brewhouse (IPA, if you please) that we began referring to it as "The Office."

Mark grew up in Freeport, Ill., the son of the late Peter and Mary (Ennenga) Holm. Mark and his family made many trips back to Freeport over the years, visiting family and friends, eating ice cream at Union Dairy, picnicking at Krape Park, and driving over to what was his grandpa's farm, where Mark spent many a summer day in his youth.

Mark is survived by his wife, Joan Marie Goessl, and their three children, Alison, Mary Kate, and Luke Holm; his four siblings and their spouses: John and Marilyn Holm of Seattle; and, from Colorado Springs, Bill and Nancy Holm; Nancy (Holm) and Greg Farmer; and Pete and Anita Holm. Other survivors include three brothers-in-law and their spouses: Bill and Dianne Goessl; Jim and Karnie Goessl; and Alan and Mary Goessl; as well as several wonderful nieces and nephews scattered across the country. His parents-in-law, Donna and Howard Goessl, preceded him in death.

The Holm family owes deep thanks to numerous people who helped them navigate often-choppy waters over the past year: Joan's colleagues at Sandia Preparatory School for their unwavering support and kindness; Drs. Matthew Fero, Kamran Shaffi, David Chafey, Thomas Schroeder, and Thomas Gross for their expertise, intellect, and clarity; the Cancer Center's Rachel Taylor and Maria Limanovich, whose thoughtfulness is matched only by their intelligence and who so often tossed us a lifeline; the many skilled and compassionate nurses and technicians at the Cancer Center's Infusion Center, its Radiation Department, and the UNM Hospital, who took such good care of Mark on more occasions than we can count. Finally, we thank the medical team at Heartland Hospice, whose attentive care made Mark comfortable at home and allowed us to catch our collective breath over the past few days.

If Mark could leave us with any advice, we think he would ask that we practice tolerance and suggest that we "pack our bags." The phrase, borrowed from a friend's pastor, means letting the people in your life know how you feel about them before it's too late. Mark began packing his bags last summer. He added more items to his suitcase in the ER on that December night, and he continued packing in the months since. Weâ€"his family and his friendsâ€"did a lot of packing, too.

A memorial service that will include a celebration of Mark's life will be held on Saturday, June 10, 10:30 a.m., at the Albuquerque Jewish Community Center, 5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE.

To honor Mark's life, we ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. Donations can be mailed to the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1201 Camino de Salud, Albuquerque, NM 87106 or can be made online at

www.unmfund.org/fund/unmcc-general-support-fund/

Published in Albuquerque Journal on June 4, 2017