OBITUARY

Mark Cornel Pittman

September 14, 1952November 29, 2018
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Age 66 of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, passed away on November 29, 2018.

Mark is preceded in death by his Father, Howard; Brother, Jerry.

He is survived by his Wife, Sharon; Children, Steve (Meagan) Pittman, Christine Anderson, Shane (Tamara) Anderson; Grandchildren, Amber, Michael, Riley, Jonathan, Remington, Grace Ann and Faithlyn.

~Service of Remembrance~ 11AM Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at Gearhart Anoka Funeral Home, 552 East River Road, Anoka, Minnesota.

~Visitation~ 5-7PM, Monday, December 10, 2018 and 1 hour prior to the service on Tuesday, all at Gearhart Anoka Funeral Home, 552 East River Road, Anoka, Minnesota

~Interment~ Morningside Memorial Gardens, Coon Rapids, Minnesota

  • FAMILY

  • Mark is preceded in death by his Father, Howard; Brother, Jerry.

    He is survived by his Wife, Sharon; Children, Steve (Meagan) Pittman, Christine Anderson, Shane (Tamara) Anderson; Grandchildren, Amber, Michael, Riley, Jonathan, Remington, Grace Ann and Faithlyn

Services

  • Gathering of Family and Friends Monday, December 10, 2018
  • Gathering of Family and Friends Tuesday, December 11, 2018
  • Service of Remembrance Tuesday, December 11, 2018
  • Inurnment Tuesday, December 11, 2018
REMEMBERING

Mark Cornel Pittman

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Meagan Pittman

December 11, 2018

Mark had come over for dinner with the family.

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Biography

Age 66 of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, passed away on November 29, 2018.

Mark is preceded in death by his Father, Howard; Brother, Jerry.

He is survived by his Wife, Sharon; Children, Steve (Meagan) Pittman, Christine Anderson, Shane (Tamara) Anderson; Grandchildren, Amber, Michael, Riley, Jonathan, Remington, Grace Ann and Faithlyn.

~Service of Remembrance~
11AM Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at
Gearhart Anoka Funeral Home,
552 East River Road,
Anoka, Minnesota.

~Visitation~
5-7PM, Monday, December 10, 2018 and 1 hour prior to the service on Tuesday, all at
Gearhart Anoka Funeral Home,
552 East River Road,
Anoka, Minnesota

~Interment~
Morningside Memorial Gardens,
Coon Rapids, Minnesota

Mark was born on Sept 14, 1952 in Minneapolis, MN, and graduated from Roosevelt High School Class of 1970. He married Sharon on Oct 13, 1979. He always said he became a dad that day with Shane and Chris becoming his kids. Steven was born in 1981 becoming a family of 5. Mark’s children and grandchildren where his pride and joy.

In June of 1976 Mark started his life long career of truck driving. He drove for 37 years accident free. He received many awards from Overnite/UPS Freight where he drove for 30 yrs. For a short time, Mark and Sharon drove their own truck while Overnite was on strike.

Mark loved NASCAR with his favorite driver being Dale Earnhart Sr. He loved drag racing his 1969 Dodge Dart. That car was his pride and joy. He loved fishing, deer hunting, riding on their Goldwing, and family vacations at Woman Lake.

Since his stroke in June of 2014 in looked forward to going to the casino every week and eating at Bakers Square for pie rush Wednesdays. His grandchildren became the highlight of his life. They always made him smile and sometimes they could even make him talk right up until the end.



My big brother Mark

My big brother Mark didn’t let any miss-spoken things I would say get away. Once said or done, Mark was certain to not let me live it down.

For example, many years ago, being one of the last to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, as Skip and I entered my parent’s door, I exclaimed “Happy Halloween!” From that day on, whether it was for Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas, when I arrived, Mark would always greet me with “Happy Halloween!”

Mark and I spoke often as to how we considered our Family Home to be that beautiful white house at 3416 21st Ave, South Minneapolis. So many memories….in the basement. Mark loved to play hide ‘n seek with me and our little brother David. The basement had so many places to hide…so much fun. Of course, Mark was always the one to hide and not to be found. After some time, Mark finally revealed the secrets that spiked my love for the home. The story, per Mark, is that the house was part of the “Underground Rail Road” during the time of the Civil War. Mark showed me many little hidden spaces too small to be called rooms. His enthusiasm became mine. Mark and I continued to share our love of that home.

When a teen, Mark received a set of drums and brother Jerry a guitar. Mom allowed them to set up and play in the basement. Jerry strummed on the guitar and Mark would pound on them drums. My, how the house rocked…

With great affection, Mark always reminded me that him and I shared the same kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Solemn, at Corcoran Elementary. Mark was very proud of his beginnings.

Mark and I teased each other in a quirky competitive way. At Easter, Mark and I would see who could pick out the most black jelly beans; then of course eat them as quickly as possible. When Mom cooked up some round steak for dinner, we would try to convince the other family members that as to whose turn it was to get the little round bone filled with marrow. Mark seemed to always win, though.

Mark loved to eat his bean soup. He would open the can, grab a spoon and eat it right from the can. This is one love that I could not share with him. Mark’s favorite meal was Mom’s homemade Chow Mien and it wasn’t a picnic if Mom didn’t make the potato salad. With some reluctance, Mark finally accepted the potato salad I made instead of Mom, some years later.

Mark always worked so hard…When I was young, he was a newspaper boy. I remember getting up early, in fact it was still dark outside, on Sunday mornings, sitting on the kitchen floor, to help Mark assemble the newspaper for delivery. It had so many sections and additions to it; all had to be in a certain order. Mark was very particular. For the daily paper, Mark showed me how to roll up and seal each one in a special way. Mark liked my help.

As a teen, Mark worked at a neighborhood gas station. In the summer, Mom would make his lunch and send me to deliver it to him. Mark would smile and affectionately rub or pat the top of my head.

At tax time, Mark helped Mom sort out all the receipts and other documents. I always was fascinated and would sit up at the kitchen table watching. Mark would always smile and give me a small task. He always found a way to make me feel useful.

Mark’s first car he bought himself at 16 was a beautiful blue Ford Mustang. It was his pride and joy. He gave all of us a ride-along. We all had a lot of fun.

When I was 12, Mark and Jerry graduated from Roosevelt High School. That is when Mom and Dad moved me, David and little sister Gloria out of South Minneapolis to Oakgrove. Mark stayed with us occasionally. I had gotten a couple of horses and Mark wanted to ride old Kinger. I’m still not sure what Mark did, but that old Kinger would kick and buck Mark right off. Mark was stubborn and got back on, but old Kinger was stubborn too. The outing was short, but at Mark was always laughing.

Mark would try to attend many of my horse shows. He loved to watch me show and play the games on Twilight. I always loved knowing that Mark was there, too, watching me.

When I was at college, on a four-week trip to Greece, I had gotten very sick. Upon return, when my plane landed at Minneapolis Airport, Mark was the first to run up the ramp, put his arm around me, grab my hand and walk me down to Mom and Dad. But Mark would not let me go. I already felt better.

I moved residence many times. Each time Mark was always there with the big truck and the dolly to help me with the move. I can’t remember a move without
him.

Mark was a very big part of my life. I am so grateful for my memories and thank you all for allowing me to share them.


From a niece

When I think back, I can’t help but laugh – He was definitely stubborn, and he could come across as grumpy if you didn’t know him well…but that was just Uncle Mark.

And despite the crusty exterior, I also could see his tender side.

Years ago, I wrote a poem for Grandma about our family Christmases, and I remember he was really sentimental about that and thought it was sweet.

In junior high and high school, he used to give me a hard time and ask if I was dating anyone yet; it was often a ribbing, but he also would sometimes say, “Well, those boys aren’t good enough for you anyway.”

He was the classic truck driver in his blue jeans and plaid shirts – I can count on one hand the number times I saw him in anything but.

He always sat in “Grandpa’s chair” at holiday gatherings when we were growing up, and he was always the first one through the dinner line, so it became a family joke.

He collected Pillsbury Doughboy memorabilia and liked NASCAR and complaining about football.

Early this fall, I was able to give Uncle Mark a tour of TCO Performance Center (the Vikings headquarters), and I’m so glad I could spend that time with him.

Being mostly non-verbal since the stroke he suffered a while back, he didn’t say much but squeezed my hand a few times, smiled when I joked that “Vikings chocolate chip cookies” taste better than the “normal” kind, and he conceded to a photo – actually, two – that Aunt Sharon and I suggested we take.

I’m really glad that we did.

While my heart is heavy that he’s no longer with us, I’m at peace and happy knowing that I’ll see him again in Heaven someday.


Mark’s Handshake
By Skip Staehnke

The first time I met Mark was also the first time I met the whole Pittman Family. Mark’s sister and I had been going out for quite a while and things had finally gotten to the point to where family introductions had to be made for us to move forward. Of course, I started out on the wrong foot from the start by getting lost and (unwittingly) it became one of my trademarks with the family. When I finally got there, the family as always was gathered around the kitchen table and my wife made the usual introductions. Mark before anyone else, including my further father-in-law, was the first person to come and shake my hand. Right after that we struck up a conversation about our jobs and we also found out that we were “Brother Teamsters,” and we traded mutual sympathies about those circumstances. The thing that really stood out the most for me in that first meeting of the family was that Mark was the first to take the time to genuinely welcome me to the family. I think even Howard (my father-in-law) waited to see if I past the “Mark Test” and it must have happened because I’m 35 years married to his sister.

One more thing about that first meeting is that handshake. I don’t know if it is a Pittman legacy thing or some mid-western working stiff phenomenon but I do know that from my first handshake with Mark as well as the rest of family, I was measured and weighed and determined all in that first handshake and I also made my own “quality check” of the Pittman’s as well. In Mark his grip always started firm and real. You were getting the full and total and straight on show with him, like it or not. He wasn’t into flower shows or shine games. He was a no-nonsense, bare bones, hard case and proud of it. Meanwhile, back to the handshake, somewhere around the customary pump action to the shake, he’d square eyes with you and your gaze had better be as straight on as his or you’d get blown off by him but I also found out that this is the place where if you had a sense of humor, his eyes and his grin would come alive and either he’d make jokes about you all day or he’d show you who to laugh at for the day. I know this first hand because my wife and I were often the brunt of his unique humor as was the rest of his family. He always seemed to have a full or half load of beans about his nature and somewhere an inside joke just waiting to pop. Personally, I’m really going to miss that the most about Mark.

I think my deepest and favorite memory of Mark is the day that my son was born. For us, it had been a very weird day like for most people having their first kid. Labor was an all day occasion and finally, Martin showed up and that evening Mark and Sharron and Gayle’s parents showed up. To say that my wife and I were proud parents would be an understatement and Mom and Dad were too but when it came to Mark, he came right over to Martin’s “hospital crib” and picked him right up and started making noises and faces and he held him for most of the time they were there. I know to some of you this wouldn’t seem like much of a big deal but Mark and Sharron and Mom and Dad to me represented the elders of the Pittman family and they were there, to me at least, to sanctify and acknowledge the birth of our son along with my Father. I’m not from a big family myself. Most of my life was surrounded by just my Dad and Me. Mark as well as Howard gave me their warmest, kindest and most accepting handshakes I ever had in my life and that was truly icing on a day that was all cake. It was, (for me at least) a day when I felt accepted, respected and loved by a true family and Mark was responsible for that feeling and I will miss him a lot. By the way, the baby holding thing he had with my son became a habit because I saw him do the same thing with all the Pittman descendants but primarily when each child was born and no matter what, everyone else, especially the guys, got that honest and real Mark Pittman Handshake.