LITKA, Mark S., age 69
Died: Monday, December 21st, 2020
Since we are unable to have funeral at this time, the family requests donations, in lieu of flowers, be made to the local food pantry or animal shelter.
A celebration of Mark's life is pending for May 2021.
We encourage you to send a condolence to the family using the tab to the left. But also, send a card, note or letter including a favorite memory or story of Mark. You may forward it to the funeral home if you do not know the family address.
Mark Stephen Litka, of Eau Claire, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loved ones on Monday, December 21, 2020 at the age of 69 from cancer.
Mark was born in Milwaukee on May 29, 1951, the son of Raymond and Eileen (Algiers) Litka. He grew up in Milwaukee and in the Village of Greendale, WI. While growing up, he spent two weeks every summer on his grandparent's dairy farm north of Menomonie, an experience that shaped the course of his career.
Mark attended St. Alphonsus Grade School and in 1969 graduated from Greendale High School where he was a Parkland Conference Allstar linebacker on the varsity football team. He went on to attend the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He tried out for the University varsity football team, but was a bit too small, however he played freshman ball for a year. He remained an avid Badger fan all his life attending games and devoting every Saturday in the fall to watching the Badgers on TV, right up to the recent Badger win over Minnesota.
In 1975, Mark graduated from UW-Madison with a BS in agriculture. He joined the USDA as a grain inspector in New Orleans. While working in New Orleans, he met some of his closest lifelong friends and instilled his love of the city, its food, and entertainment - particularly in going to many of its annual Jazz Heritage Festivals. Mark was shaken by the losses of his co-workers whose lives were lost in the Continental Grain Elevator explosion in 1977. This led to his return to Wisconsin the following year, talking much slower and having lost his taste for cold weather.
Mark then started his career with the Farmers Home Administration (later Farm Credit Services), where he worked until his retirement in 2008 as the Farm Loan Manager of the Chippewa Falls office. His career development required his move from Barron County to Sheboygan County in 1983 with his first wife, Linda McCumber and her two children, Hannah Christensen and Eben Christensen. After five years, Mark had the opportunity to move back to the Chippewa Valley where many of his siblings and family lived.
It was in 1995 that Mark started the long courtship with his second wife, Beverly Schneider. They were married in 2008 on leap day, gaining another child, Eva Hoitink. Mark experienced the joy of the birth when his first grandson, Essa DeMello, was born in 1997 and great sorrow with the death of his daughter, Hannah, in 2003. Since 2008, Mark has seen the birth of three grandchildren, Asher Christensen, Hannah Reim, and Lilly Hoitink, and was known lovingly as "Papa Mark."
Early in his life, he fell in love with Nester Falls Ontario and fishing on Lake of the Woods. Year after year the walleyes of Lake of the Woods had to keep their wits about them or find themselves in a boat with several of Mark's brothers, a brother-in-law, and good friends during opening walleye weekend. Mark, along with brother-in-law, Duane, and good friend, Pete, have been the team to beat for years in the weekly summer fishing tournament on Tainter Lake. They've treated their wives to many a night out on their winnings. Being an avid skier in his youth, Mark was a member of the Red Eye Ski Club enjoying multiple trips to area hills as well as many trips to Colorado.
Mark and his wife, Beverly, were avid gardeners. He was also pretty handy around their East Hill stone house and had a keen sense of style. Together they enjoyed attending county and state fairs and watching the big ships come and go on Lake Superior. Since his retirement, they embarked on several river cruises of Northern Europe and the Mediterranean and enjoyed spending a month or so in Alabama to escape the long Wisconsin winters.
Mark was a kind, soft spoken man with a wonderful sense of humor. The world is a little poorer with his passing.
Mark is survived by his loving wife, Beverly; mother, Eileen Litka of Jackson, MI; siblings, Charles (Sally) of Eau Claire, Susan (Duane) Kuester of Menomonie, John (Lynda Maki) of Roberts, WI, Mary (Tim) Gray of Sammamish, WA, Nancy Schaff of Jackson, MI, and Peter (Cindy Wyatt) of Woodinville, WA; along with many step-children, step-grandchildren, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and good friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Raymond.
The family extends their deepest gratitude to Chaplain Grant Schultz and the entire staff of the Mayo Clinic Health System Cancer Center.