Mark W. Robertson passed away peacefully on Monday, February 13, 2023, at Vernon Memorial Hospital in Viroqua, WI.
Mark was born on March 21, 1949, to Orv and Jane Robertson, the second of their four children. He grew up a clean-cut, Beatles-loving kid in St. Paul, MN. He was an accomplished amateur golfer and dabbler in theatre, and worked his first jobs as a caddy and on a construction crew. He remained close to many of his St. Paul friends throughout his life. Mark left for Arizona State University just as the social changes of the 1960s were exploding. He soon grew his hair long and traded his slacks for cut-off jeans. During his freshman year at ASU, he met and fell in love with Cheryl Korstad, a long-legged Norwegian in a miniskirt. Mark and Cheryl were married barefoot in Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Scottsdale, AZ in 1970, then moved to Minnesota, where Mark continued his studies at Mankato State University. Their first child, Jenny, was born in Mankato in 1972. They lived briefly in Forks, WA, where Mark worked as a logger, before settling down in Lake Shore, MN. Mark began his career as a custom home builder and they welcomed son Jacob in 1978.
In 1980, Mark and Cheryl began building their passive solar home in the woods, the whole family camping in the garage until it was finished. They spent many happy years in that house, visited by deer, birds, and bears, overlooking a pond resounding with frogs. Mark enjoyed playing golf, coaching high school hockey, boating and fishing, and hosting many a family reunion and bonfire party. He was proud of his carefully curated music and movie collections and would crank tunes at incredible decibels for anyone who stopped by. His sense of humor was legendary, and he performed Swedish Chef, Three Stooges, and Cowardly Lion impressions on demand.
Once his children were raised and launched, Mark’s wanderlust kicked in, and he somehow convinced Cheryl to start a new chapter living on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. They spent seventeen years practicing their Spanish, hosting vacationers, snorkeling over reefs, and trying in vain to keep the wild horses out of the garbage cans. Mark stayed busy building custom guitars under his own brand, Gringo Grande, and perfecting his recipes for soups and bread. As they did wherever they went, Mark and Cheryl made many close friends in their new home, and continued to celebrate their shared love of good food and drink and good times. In 2017, at home in Vieques, Mark survived Category 5 Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster to affect Puerto Rico in recorded history.
After a series of health emergencies and a diagnosis of vascular dementia, Mark moved to be near family. He spent the last year of his life with his wife, children, and grandchildren in Viroqua, WI. Though his short-term memory was shaky and he often had trouble finding the right words, he retained his sense of humor and access to old memories and stories, as well as his love for music, movies, food, and family.
Mark is survived by his wife Cheryl, daughter Jenny Robertson (Ian Richardson), son Jacob Robertson (Meaghan Gustafson), grandchildren Kai-Ethan, Alexander, and Marigold, sister Bonnie (Tom) Carroll, brother David Robertson, four brothers-in-law, five sisters-in-law, and many dear nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Orv and Jane Robertson, and his sister Nancy Hanson, as well as close friends Paul Larson, Dave Frost, and Rob Rasmussen.
The family would like to thank all of Mark’s doctors and nurses, the staff and residents at Aspen Place, and Gus and Monica Gustafson for their care, friendship, and support.
Cremation was provided by Roth Family Cremation Center and Mark’s ashes will be spread in places he loved. Celebrations of his life are being planned for a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mark W. Robertson, please visit our floral store.