Mark Francis Geisen, 38, of Maple Park, passed away suddenly Monday afternoon, June 6, 2011.
He was born July 17, 1972, the son of Francis “Butch” and Barbara (Meyer) Geisen.
Mark grew up in Maple Park and attended elementary school at St. Mary in Sycamore, St. Charles Borromeo in Hampshire, Ill., and St. Mary in DeKalb. He graduated from Marmion Military Academy in Aurora in 1991, at the top of his class and as Bravo Company Commander.
Tragedy struck within a few years of graduation when Mark was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, a debilitating spinal virus that paralyzed him from the waist down. For two years, Mark fought the disease at local hospitals, as well as in Chicago and Rochester, Minn., where the doctors at Mayo Clinic told him that he would never walk again. That never deterred Mark or his family, who spent thousands of hours in physical therapy to beat the odds, defy the doctors and amaze all those who had written his diagnosis as a lost cause. After two years of grueling work, many tears and daily prayers, Mark walked again in 1996.
No one ever doubted Mark’s work ethic, so it was no surprise that he began working with his father in the family concrete business, Geisen Concrete Construction, as well as the family mink ranch. Mark was a “jack of all trades” and had a great analytical mind. He was mechanical or technological, so even when he was done working for his father, he never really stopped working. In his younger years, Mark and his brothers were prized for their hay bailing skills, and many local farms sought out “the Geisen Boys” when it came time for work. Mark also worked for the Fabrizius family from age 13 until his diagnosis at age 20, at the local race track, Sycamore Speedway, as a member of the safety crew, as well as the Fabrizius’ family dairies.
Mark was a lifelong member of S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Virgil.
Mark was a friend to everyone and loved to talk to anyone. He was so generous of his time and his heart. Mark was happiest when surrounded by friends and family. He loved vehicles, any make and model, as he went through numerous ones. Mark loved to fish locally, as well as in Canada, and also enjoyed hunting.
Growing up, Mark made a name for himself by playing baseball from little league on through the travelling league. Travelling was another of Mark’s pastimes, visiting Hawaii, Mexico and the Las Vegas strip. Although he was never very lucky in Vegas, he had better luck playing cards with family and friends, especially when there was money involved.
One of Mark’s greatest passions was bike riding. It was nothing for him to ride 30 to 40 miles in a single day. He especially loved biking to visit friends and riding along the Fox River.
An avid reader, Mark was knowledgeable on many subjects. He also loved the challenge of math and puzzles. Mark’s imagination had no limits, and he was always full of new ideas and plans for the future. No one knew how short that future would be. Mark was taken too soon, but not before making a million memories to fill the hearts of all who knew and loved him. His determined spirit, generous nature, and the infectious smile will always be remembered.
He is survived by his parents, Butch and Barbara Geisen of Maple Park; his siblings, Ann Geisen of Brainerd, Minn., Scott Geisen of Centersville, Ga., and David and Mary Geisen of Maple Park; several aunts, uncles and cousins, and a countryside full of friends who will miss him dearly.
He is preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents, and two uncles.
Visitation was held on Monday, June 13, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A Mass to celebrate his life was held at S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Virgil on Tuesday, June 14, at 11 a.m. Fr. Perfecto Vasquez, pastor of the church, and Fr. Bryan Grady, Mark’s high school friend, co-celebrated. Cremation and private family burial will occur at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Mark Geisen Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com where you can also find Mark’s full life story.