MISSOULA — Mark Vance Nordby passed away from ALS complications, Jan. 28, 2019. He was born in Missoula, Dec. 9, 1962, to Wayne and Luann Nordby.
Growing up across the street from Willard Elementary, the youngest in a blended family with seven kids, (Tiffany (Terry) Sauer of Clancy, Jennifer (Frank) Patterson of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Laurel (Fred) Tully of Missoula, Joel Nordby of Missoula, Dave (Lori) Nordby of Missoula, and Ann (Wyatt) Parsons of Missoula, meant he learned early to maneuver his way through any situation. Twinkling eyes and a mischievous smile helped too.
A 1981 graduate of Hellgate High School, he participated in track, football and basketball. He worked in the summer for the Montana Youth Conservation Corp. After high school, he followed his brothers to Utah working oil and gas exploration around Moab. Coming home, he spent three years as a milkman for Meadow Gold and worked with his brothers at Nordby Upholstery. He enjoyed intramural basketball and LOTS of co-rec softball. RBI was his name; load the bases and listen for the crack was the game.
With Lisa (Rezin, now Shull) he started his own family. They lost their baby daughter Marisa and Golden Retriever, Suede, in a devastating car accident. Taylor (29) was born the next year. They divorced in 1993.
Montana Rail Link gave him another family. Traveling as a Gandy Dancer from Sandpoint, Idaho, to Laurel and back from 1991 until 2017 allowed for much after-work golf, fishing, hunting and exploring with his railroad brotherhood.
Meeting his surviving widow, Jardi(ne) (Hirsch) completed his family. Marlena (23), Nicklaus (17) and Leanne (15) joined Taylor in giving Mark as big a family as he could manage while being gone on the road most of the year. He cherished his kids’ sporting events and musical performances. He greatly regretted that he wouldn't live to see grandkids.
His stir-frying for the family opening weekend at Placid Lake kicked off fishing season.
Running the family poker table Christmas Eve was a right of passage after his dad died. He smoked fish, made venison jerky and canned pickles. He restored much of his own furniture with skills learned from his father. He took many a friend to secret fishing spots and on hunting trips. He joined his buddies for Sunday poker for years. He gave sage advice to anyone he could get to sit down awhile.
Fiercely beating breast cancer in his 40s only to have ALS devastate him in his 50s, he filled his last few years. A Hole-In-One at University Golf Course’s seventh hole, a trip to the Minnesota Miracle Vikings playoff game in 2017 thanks to his generous family at MRL, ALS mobility issues be damned, a best friend took him to get his 5x6 bull elk with an 838 yard shot last fall, and he was a regular at The Claimjumper watching Vikings football and Yankees baseball with friends and family.
Preceded in death by his father Wayne and his daughter Marisa, he is survived by his wife Jardi, his four children, his mother Luann, six siblings and their families, including several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. Sunset Memorial will inter him next to Marisa. Mark’s requested celebration of life will happen before the Gandy Dancers hit the road for the season. Details will be posted on his Facebook page. Our family thanks the kind ICU care Mark received while in Community Hospital his last 12 days. A memorial fund benefiting his family has been set up in his name at Missoula Federal Credit Union. He didn’t want to go and he sends his love.