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Mark L. Plummer


1954 - 2014
Mark L. Plummer Obituary
Mark L. Plummer

Mark Plummer passed away Saturday, May 24, 2014, peacefully at his home in Federal Way, WA. A devoted husband and father, Mark will be profoundly missed by his wife Cassie Phillips and their children, Rob and Lisa, who were the light of his life.

Mark was born in Seattle on Sept. 5, 1954. Besides his wife and children, he is survived by parents David and Jean Lee Plummer of Bellevue; brother and sister-in-law Larry Plummer and Gretchen Fennema of Seattle and niece Melissa Plummer of Washington, DC; and sister and brother-in-law Susan and Doug Gann of Leavenworth and their children, Jennifer Gann and husband Tag Savage of Brooklyn, NY, Brody Gann of New York, NY, and Brian Gann of Seattle.

Mark earned a PhD in economics from the University of Washington. He began his career as an economist for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC, where his wife worked for Senator Slade Gorton and their children were born. But Mark refused to countenance living anywhere but the Pacific Northwest, where his pioneer ancestor Alfred Plummer helped found Port Townsend, so the family returned to live in Seattle, Vancouver, WA, and Federal Way. Mark relished meticulously planned expeditions to the region's ski resorts, golf courses, BBQ joints, fine restaurants, and, especially, wineries. He was also an early computer game enthusiast and beta tester. Mark lived life to the fullest and had few regrets, except perhaps the amount of Oregon pinot noir left to his wife.

Mark devoted his professional life to bringing the principles of economics into practical use. He brought intellectual energy, scientific rigor, and a sharp wit to this mission. His interests centered on the interactions of people and the natural world, beginning with his doctoral dissertation on California grape growers and wine labels (which, he would say, forced him to begin his wine collection). With his close friend Charles C. Mann, he co-authored two books, The Aspirin Wars and Noah's Choice: the Future of Endangered Species; the latter won the 1996 Washington Governor's Writers Award. He closed his career working for NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center, in a job he described as "the best in the world, doing meaningful work for an agency with a meaningful mission." He developed a novel approach to evaluating the economics of designating critical habitat for salmon, for which he won a high profile agency award, in spite of (he noted) his penchant for wearing loud Hawaiian shirts. More recently he investigated the social and economic consequences of changes in natural ecosystems, such as the waters and resources of Puget Sound.

Mark believed in God's transformative power and that his journey would end in a state of Grace. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church, where a memorial service will be held on Friday, June 6th at 3:30 pm, Grace Lutheran Church, 22975 24th Ave S, Des Moines, WA 98198.

Mark served on the board of the Washington chapter of The Nature Conservancy until illness intervened. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mark's honor may be made to TNC at 1917 1st Ave S, Seattle WA 98101 or by calling Dan Hoon at 206-343-4344.

Please sign Mark's online Guestbook at www.Legacy.com.
Published in The Seattle Times on June 1, 2014
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