Fri, May 6, 2022 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
KUSNIR, Mark Edward
June 2, 1962 – April 14, 2022
Mark was a writer, editor, traveller, chef, photographer, musician, teacher, and perpetually curious. Like the Byzantine era he was so fascinated by, he was multi-faceted and embodied both Western and Eastern sensibilities. He was baptized in the Catholic Church but practised Buddhism later in life; he enjoyed intellectual pursuits while also maintaining a daily meditation routine.He was born in Vancouver, but was really at home anywhere in the world. Whether he was in Northern BC, Namibia, New York City, or Sudan, people would swear he was one of them. We often joked that he would have been the perfect spy; however, his boundless enthusiasm and his inability to hold back information would make short work of his spy career.Mark grew up on the slope of Grouse Mountain with his father, John, his mother, Eileen, and his siblings, Paul, Jon, Greg, and Janice. It was a hectic and active life with Mark being a most adventurous and nomadic child even at a young age. He started work as a paperboy biking the steep streets of North Van and then hurtling down them – sometimes blindfolded by the newspaper bag strap. He went to St. Thomas Aquinas High School where he played and coached basketball and was in a rock band, Paul Anthony and the Invasion, along with his brother Paul and friends. Mark was the band’s saxophone player and he played with much enthusiasm despite having limited training. He also worked as a dishwasher when he was 14 and went on to work and cook in many Vancouver restaurants and also at the Whitehall Hotel in London, England, and, while going to film school at NYU, the I Tre Merli restaurant in New York City.When he returned to Vancouver from New York, he started his College English teaching career and taught at Thompson Rivers University, University of the Fraser Valley, Kwantlen College, and Langara. He was always the favourite English Instructor and combined fun and lively classroom atmosphere with excellent teaching instruction.It was at the University of the Fraser Valley where he met Sonya. With her and her son Colin, he had a long, adventurous, and unique relationship. Together they travelled to Egypt, Europe, Japan, and throughout Africa including a motorcycle trip from Cape Town to Cairo that he embarked upon with Colin. They also opened a donut shop, Dada Donuts, where he was both owner and baker. Subsequently, a bookstore, Zebra Books, complimenting their love of books and writing.In 2010, Mark delved into the world of motor sport accompanying Colin as he raced at many tracks in the United States. He was Colin’s support person, photographer, and record keeper. They hit hot spots all around the United States such as Bakersfield, California, and Pahrump, Nevada. Mark was always the happiest when he was on the road, and the distance was never too far and the speed never too great.His love of perpetual movement saw him take every major train journey in the US and propelled him to buy an RV for his 50th birthday. Mark never thought the RV had any limitations and drove it like it was an off-road vehicle.
In the last 5 years, Mark lived on a houseboat and also built a lapstrake dory. He was a familiar face around the Coal Harbour Marina and life on the water suited his love of movement and meditation. During this time, he also started many Writers’ Workshops and was an Instructor at various Writers’ Conferences in Fernie and Kaslo, BC. It was also in these years that Mark devoted his life to his true passion – writing. He would spend many hours at his desk on the houseboat writing and editing his own creative work and helping and encouraging other writers as well.
For Mark, although his death was sudden, this is the beginning of a new journey and Colin will spread his ashes on the top of a mountain in Fernie where his father’s ashes are, in Big Sur, California where he and Colin spent many racing days, and in Tanzania and Greece.
Mark is survived by his mother, Eileen Foley; his brothers Paul (Karen), Jon (Eva), Greg (Jo-Anne), his sister Janice Hill (John); his nephews and nieces, Sean (Shaynne), Justin, Danielle, Myles, Adam, Nicole, Samantha and Scott; his Aunt Mary Menduk, Aunt Robina Kusnir and many cousins and friends and by Sonya and Colin. He was predeceased by his father, John Kusnir.
A memorial service will be held for Mark at 4p.m. on Friday, May 6, 2022 at the Unitarian Church 949 W. 49th, Vancouver, BC. A reception to follow at Sage Bistro, 6331 Crescent Rd, UBC. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to donate to the Fernie Arts Council – theartsstation.com.
“The railroad track is miles away, and the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all-day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.
All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see the cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.
My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay