A note from Liz, and Mark’s obituary

A note from Liz:

Mark passed away on Monday, August 5th. We are heartbroken but also relieved that he is in a better place with no sickness or pain. Thank you to all of you who have reached out to us recently with kind thoughts, cards, texts, meals, and visits. We feel your love and prayers.


We wanted to share Mark’s obituary, which is posted in full below:

Mark Notess

Mark Harrington Notess died August 5, 2019, at his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the age of 61. Born in East Aurora, New York, on August 12, 1957, he began early to develop his lifelong enjoyment of the outdoors and of books. As a high school student in Blacksburg, Virginia, he gave his life to Christ and met his high school sweetheart, Liz, with whom he celebrated 41 years of marriage this year.

Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degrees in education and computer science from Virginia Tech. His work focused on human-computer interaction and user experience design, making software programs easier to use for countless people. A music lover, he was especially proud of his work on the Variations software at Indiana University, which allowed students to listen to a vast digital archive of music. While at IU, he also earned a doctoral degree in educational technology.

His love of learning was also present in many other areas of his life. He spent many hours reading aloud to his children and grandchildren and served as a volunteer adult Sunday school teacher, work that was rooted in his deep knowledge of Scripture.

Mark prided himself on his unusual interests and taste in food. He loved the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, arts-and-crafts furniture, photography, cooking, and celebrating Christmas. His handmade Christmas treats including fudge, marinated mushrooms, and fruitcake (yes, fruitcake!) had a small but devoted following.

Mark and Liz moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2015, to be closer to grandchildren, and they enjoyed spending time in the Smoky Mountains. That winter, Mark received a diagnosis of stage IV prostate cancer. While undergoing cancer treatment, he focused on traveling to spend time with family. Especially treasured were the “bucket list” trips that he and Liz took, including a tour of England, a cruise on the Danube River, and a Carribean cruise through the Panama Canal.

He also spent much of his time writing in ways that supported others facing challenging cancer diagnoses. At the time of his death, he had recently completed a book manuscript about his experiences. His pointed and witty sense of humor buoyed him and those around him – including his cancer support group, who nicknamed him “Sunshine.” Mark and Liz’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Gibbie and Digory, were also a great source of comfort and snuggles on difficult days.

Preceded in death by his father and stepfather, he is survived by his wife, Liz Notess; mother, Shirley Neupert; stepmother, Margie Notess; brothers Peter Notess and Greg Notess; children Hannah Notess and Jonathan Hiskes, Brian and Adrienne Notess, and Ben and Shelby Notess; and grandchildren Asher Notess, Silas Notess, Luke Notess, Samuel Hiskes, and Theodore Hiskes.

A memorial service for Mark will be held Saturday, August 24, 2019, at 11 a.m.  at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, 9132 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37923. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Cedar Springs Presybterian Church or the Cancer Support Community of East Tennessee.

4 Replies to “A note from Liz, and Mark’s obituary”

  1. I loved reading his blog. I learned so much about the world of clinical trials and dealing with terminal illnesses. You’re in our prayers as your continue on. There is such comfort that he is free from pain and resting in heaven. Lisa

  2. So sad. Already miss his posts and blog, which was so beautifully written and shared. My deepest condolences to all who loved Mark dearly. May your memories forever bring you comfort. RIP Mark

  3. I’m so glad Hannah shared this blog with me. I’ve really enjoyed reading Mark’s stories and seeing things from his perspective. What a treasure that he’s left a manuscript. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.

  4. Hi Liz, I met Mark at a writer’s conference last November and have been following his blog since. I’m sorry to hear the sad news and will remember his humor, authenticity, and aura of peacefulness. I hope good continues to come from the manuscript he left behind! Peace to all of you during this time.

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