Mark S. Pedersen – In Memoriam

Mark Stephen Pedersen


Memorial service will be held:

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church, Ithaca

(due to large number of people attending)


Reception to follow at First Unitarian Society of Ithaca

(If you would like to contribute cookies to the reception, please drop them by First Unitarian Society of Ithaca between 9 and 11am. Vegan and gluten free cookies are especially appreciated. )

Mark died peacefully but unexpectedly at his home in Forest Home Sunday morning, September 16, 2018.

Predeceased by his parents Richard Pedersen and Barbara (Hansen) Pedersen and by his sister Dian Pedersen and his brother Scott Pedersen, he leaves behind his husband of 32 years, Rod Howe, his children Veasna and his wife Anna, Sethik (“Toothpick”), his sister Janet Kubitz and her husband Rick, his granddaughters Mahkia and Anna and several nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews.

While he never expected to be a father, he embraced fatherhood fully and was a caring and loving Dad to his two sons and served as a role model. When he learned that he was a grandfather, he embraced that role as well and enjoyed time with his granddaughters on a regular basis.

Mark was the First Unitarian Society in Ithaca (FUSIT) administrator for 22 years. Many members of FUSIT described Mark as the heart of the church. He shepherded FUSIT through many transitions with grace and humor. Mark was raised as a Unitarian Universalist (UU) in Needham, MA.  He lived the UU principles on a daily basis and in recent years enjoyed attending UU General Assembly where he developed friends from around the United States. When asked how he maintained his equanimity he would say “I have hope.” No matter how busy he was, he found time for people in need. He was unfailingly compassionate and was everyone’s friend.

For the last nine years it was important for him to participate in the annual Southern Tier AIDS Program Ride for Life. In fact, he rode this year’s 100 miles on September 8. Though diagnosed as HIV positive in the mid-1980s, he never let that diagnosis define or discourage him.

He loved Ithaca but required time at the ocean every summer for his spiritual well-being (notably in Provincetown, MA). Mark was a humble, gentle soul who could be funny and irreverent. He will be achingly missed. Those who had the good fortune to know him feel blessed. A collector at heart, he had the world’s largest personal collection of egg beaters and the region’s greatest collection of Christmas decorations.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 22 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Ithaca, NY (due to the expected number attending) with a reception to follow at First Unitarian Society in Ithaca (one block away).

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to FUSIT, 306 N Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850, or STAP, 314 W. State Street, Ithaca, New York 14850