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Dr. Mark Lester Besola of Lake Tapps, Washington passed away unexpectantly in his sleep on January 1, 2019. Mark had multiple, chronic health conditions. He was 52 years old.
Mark is survived by his sisters, Amelia Besola of Auburn, WA, Julia Besola-Robinson of Blaine, WA, Gretchen Piper of Enterprise, OR, and Renee Aho of Marquette, MI; and his nieces and nephews Annalise Besola, Shelby Robinson, Mark Piper, Jennifer Piper and Daniel Piper. Mark is preceded in death by his parents, LaVinia Cunningham-Besola and Everett Besola; his brother Erik Besola; and both paternal and maternal grandparents.
Mark was born on October 19, 1966 in Ronan, Montana, but after the sudden death of his father in the Spring of 1967, LaVinia moved Mark and his sisters, Amelia and Julia, to the small community of Lopez Island in San Juan County, WA. Mark attended school on Lopez from kindergarten until his graduation from Lopez High School in 1984. Growing up on Lopez was forever an adventure for Mark. Whether it was building forts on the beach with Julia and Amelia, or tracking field mice in the island’s grass fields with his beloved dog, Tinker,
Mark was filled with the youthful excitement of living life. Some of his best days were preparing his 4-H project cattle and sheep. Mark also prepared canning projects for the fair, baked goodies, and planted a massive garden at Howard Cole’s farm for show at the fair. Several years he even showed ducks. Mark rode his faithful steed, Chief on the roads and beaches of Lopez’s south end. He loved to barrel race and to pole bend. Mark loved showing animals at the San Juan County Fair and the Puyallup Fair and proudly displayed his many grand champion rosettes. Mark qualified for the National 4-H judging team and judged livestock competitively during college. Mark left Lopez to attend Washington State University to pursue a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Mark washed dishes at the Galley and MacKaye Harbor Inn to support his animals.
Mark’s passion for animals pervaded his life. Mark knew he was always going to be a veterinarian. It was something wired into his DNA. Family stories tell of how Mark would recruit neighborhood dogs to follow him home, particularly during the summers that were spent in Spokane, WA. Much to his mother’s shock when she found an array of dogs being kept in her basement, Mark would insist the discovered animals were now “his dogs,” bringing them home on leashes.
Mark practiced as a veterinarian in Aberdeen, Raymond and Federal Way, WA. He loved the work he did and valued the relationships he built with clients around the care and welfare of his patients. Mark placed great pride in offering the best possible medicine to his patients. People knew Mark wanted the best for their pets. Mark loved Cher and traveled throughout North America to attend her concerts. He traveled extensively in Europe, Australia and especially loved the trip he took to Israel with Michael Medved. Mark was obsessed with HGTV and acquiring investment, rental properties. During his latter years with failing health some of his best hours were spent throwing balls from his dock into Lake Tapps for his beloved yellow labs.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Mon., Jan. 21 at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Enumclaw, WA. Prior to his service, there is a viewing at Weeks’ Enumclaw Funeral home beginning at 1 pm, across the street from the church. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Mark’s life. Immediately following the service there will be a reception at Calvary.
All are welcome to celebrate Mark’s life on Wed., Jan. 23 at 12 p.m. at Lopez Center Church. Immediately following there will be a luncheon reception at the Fellowship Hall. Mark will be buried in the Lopez Union Cemetery.