OBITUARY

Mark P. Saldaña Sr.

April 25, 1964September 7, 2020
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Mark Patrick Saldaña Sr. was born on April 25, 1964 in San Antonio, TX to Moses Sr. and Anna Maria Saldaña. He was later raised in two South Austin communities and went forward into a noteworthy lifetime of service to his family, the Nation and the citizens of Greater Austin. He entered into a peaceful everlasting life on September 7, 2020.

Mark is survived by his wife Kim (Amaro) Saldaña and children, Mark Saldaña Jr. and Staci Saldaña; his parents; sisters and brothers: Pamela and Gary Jentz, Deborah and Robert Hernandez, Ernestine “Tina” and Charles Camarillo, Moses Jr. and Kerry Saldaña, Jacqueline Saldaña and Marina Lopez, AnaMaria and John Lawrence, Michael “Mike” Saldaña, Mario and Pamela Saldaña, Mia and Randy Boyer; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded on his path to Paradise by his fraternal grandparents, Juan and Maria Santos Saldaña, and maternal grandparents, Jesus and Cristina Herrera.

Mark attended Austin, TX public schools including William B. Travis and David Crockett High Schools. He was an accomplished member of a local South Austin neighborhood swim team and learned to play the trumpet. He enjoyed the benefits of the South Austin Boy’s Club where he cultivated a love of the outdoors including hiking, fishing and rappelling on trips to Colorado. Following graduation from Crockett High in May 1982, he began his life of service by voluntarily enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1981 then began the grueling basic training of Marine Recruits’ Boot Camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC in August 1982. Next, Mark concluded requisite military service schools in his primary specialty as an Aircraft Engine Mechanic then earned his gold Naval Aircrew Wings on February 4, 1983. He went on to serve as a CH-46E Sea Knight Crew Chief flying with the ‘Flying Tigers’ of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262, HMM-262, homebased at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Kaneohe Bay, HI. Mark loved to fly despite the ever-present dangers of being aloft in helicopters that had supported Marines during Vietnam Era combat operations. He embarked on U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships for two operational deployments with the Air Combat Elements of Marine Amphibious Units. Mark’s first deployment included flights and support of actions following the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut Lebanon in October 1983 that killed 241 military personnel.

Mark married his love Kim Amaro on June 8, 1985 at the San Jose Catholic Church in Austin. He added to his Acts of Service Love Language repertoire with a fresh focus of providing a good home for his new wife. Together, they enjoyed the Hawaiian Marine Family lifestyle and later moved to MCAS Cherry Point, NC where Mark Jr. was born in December 1986. Mark achieved the Marine’s Non-Commissioned Officer rank of Corporal and ended his active duty commitment to the Corps with an Honorable Discharge in June 1989. He moved his family back home to Austin where Staci was born in July 1990. He established their homestead known as ‘The Saldaña Ranch’ in Manchaca, TX, just outside of Austin.

Mark took interest in continuing public service and became a Cadet for the Austin Fire Department (AFD). He attended AFD’s highly competitive Fire Academy that demanded peak physical conditioning in addition to the required aptitude for learning the skills and knowledge of an AFD Fire Man. Despite being several years older than his fellow Cadet classmates, Mark finished first in his class and at the top of the AFD’s Hiring List. He joined the AFD in May 1990. Mark went on to become a stellar performer with several AFD Fire Houses, and received two House/Unit Awards. He was certified and highly skilled as an Emergency Medical Technician. Mark was presented the Phoenix Award with a Star for being credited with numerous life-saving events. Mark was a legitimate First Responder Hero. He received AFD’s highest award, the Medal of Valor, which is only awarded for performing a courageous act under conditions of extreme danger and at great risk of bodily injury. He invoked his childhood rappelling experience and commanded a presence of mind to rescue a hiker stranded on the cliffside of the Pennybacker Bridge Overlook on September 30, 1994. After serving the Austin community for 24 years, Mark retired from the AFD on September 9, 2014. He then devoted more time to his wife and children, and to caring for his aging mother and father. Mark also continued to volunteer in community service. Drawing on his skill with the trumpet, he played Taps at Memorial Day events; worked along-side his father in events honoring military veterans with a variety of organizations including the Tejanos In Action; and staffed a medical aid station for the annual San Jose Church Jamaica celebration. In recent months, Mark enjoyed working on projects at his daughter’s first home and teaching her the finer points of ownership.

Mark was affectionately given the nickname “Jones” by his father in early childhood that sparked his playful good nature. He is an eternal member of two unique Brotherhoods, as he proudly wore the Eagle, Globe and Anchor of a U.S. Marine and the uniform of an AFD Fire Man. He did not fear death as his heart was led by a faith in Our Lord. Mark’s caring demeanor, humor and booming voice will be greatly missed. His loving care and compassion will be forever remembered by all who knew this amazing man.

Funeral services will be managed by Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home and Memorial Park, 6300 West William Cannon Drive, Austin, TX 78749. Public Visitation will be held at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home, 6300 West William Cannon Drive, Austin, TX 78749 on September 15, 2020 at 5:00-6:00 P.M. A Catholic Vigil will be held at the Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Chapel, 6300 West William Cannon Drive, Austin, TX 78749 on September 15, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. with a recitation of the Holy Rosary prayers. A Requiem Mass for Christian burial will be held at San Jose Catholic Church, 2435 Oak Crest Avenue, Austin, TX 78704, on September 16, 2020 at 1:00 P.M. Interment will follow at Walden/Forest Oaks Memorial Park, 6300 West William Cannon Drive, Austin, TX 78749 on September 16, 2020 at 2:30 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, the Saldaña Family requests contribution to the Austin Firefighters Association Benevolent Fund. Please contact the Austin Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 975, 7537 Cameron Road, Austin, TX 78752 at (512) 441-7572 or email, president@iafflocal975.org.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Moses Saldaña Jr.
  • Michael Saldaña
  • Mario Saldaña
  • Javier Salas
  • Joseph Camarillo
  • Jacob Boyer
  • Matthew Lawrence
  • Dominic Jimenez

Services

  • Public Visitation

    Tuesday, September 15, 2020

  • Rosary/Vigil

    Tuesday, September 15, 2020

  • Catholic Mass

    Wednesday, September 16, 2020

  • Graveside Service

    Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Memories

Mark P. Saldaña Sr.

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Adam Kinnon

September 22, 2020

I worked with Mark in the fire department. I always enjoyed catching up with him. Our talks would mostly revolve around our families. Blessing to know him. Prayers for all the family!

Clara Gonzalez

September 15, 2020

The Saldaña family iam so sorry for your loss and at lost for words my heart breaks for y’all I knew mark when I started working at heb and would always see him and his wife iam lost for words

Dawn Clopton

September 15, 2020

My heartfelt condolences to the family. I worked with Mark for many years and shared many experiences. Mark was a man of Honor and Integrity, with God, his family and his fellow man always in his heart. He had a sly dry sense of humor that would often catch you off guard. The world is better for having him and for all the lives he touched on his journey.

Bara Scotti

September 15, 2020

I worked with Mark for a short time at Fire Station 32 in 2013. I was a new company officer and Mark was a steady presence on our crew in that short time, as helpful to me as he was to our brand new rookies. He was kind and thoughtful, and a wealth of information and experience as a firefighter. One time I complimented him on how nicely shined his duty boots were. When I returned to work the following shift he had sneak-shined MY boots for me. They never looked better. He always treated the public with dignity and respect, a model public servant. He spoke fondly and proudly of his family, and you could tell he was completely dedicated to them. I'm so sorry to hear of his passing. Wishing peace to his family and friends. Thank you for your service, Mark, and rest in peace.

Mr mrs Juan Flores

September 14, 2020

The Saldana family our condolences we feel the pain may god keep you all in his hands and love

Baxter Franco

September 13, 2020

9/13/2020. I am with out words. And with my deepest feelings. Im so sorry for your dearest friend and loving Husband Mrs. Kim. Mark Jr. I am so sorry for your dearest best friend,roll model and Father. Miss Staci I am so sorry for your lost of a awesome Father and best ever bed time story teller. As you 3 join, bound together in a circle of a love full of wave after waves of of HIS PRESENTS. A LOVE THAT FOREVER WILL LAST A LIFETIME! MY THE LOVE AND PEACE OF OUR LORD FOREVER BE UPON YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO COME... AMEN. AMEN.
REST ASSURE MARK WILL BE THERE ALWAYS.IN ALL YOUR WALKS AND LIFE EXPERIENCES.
BAXTER/DEBORAH FRANCO. 9/13/2020

Buddy Franco

September 13, 2020

9/13/2020. My dear. Uncle Moses and family.my heart goes out to you and Aunt Annita, all your children. In hom all are Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST. My heart takes place in Granny's home. A memory of CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY'S . Y'all come by every year to drop off pig heads and maza. For preparing tamales. While you and Annita were with Lilly and Granny. I ran around asking all your kids if they would like to go out and play. I remember Mark as one to come to play. Frog leap,wheel barrel, and racing around the house. I missed out so MUCH as a child to play with my 1st cousins.. I will remember MARK . MAY YOU UNCLE MOSES AND AUNT ANNITA
AND COUSINS REMEMBER ALL MOMENTS WE SHARED WITH ONE ANOTHER. FOR THIS MAY EACH ONE OF YOU BE IN PEACE WITH THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS IN HIM WHO SENT HIS SON SO WE MAY LIVE FOREVER.
AMEN. AMEN.
BAXTER / DEBORAH FRANCO. 9/13/2020

Marja Juraschek

September 13, 2020

Mark was a firefighter at my very first staton assignment out of cadet class. He was always gracious and generous with his knowledge and skills. He guided me throughout my years on the Technical Rescue Team at Station 17 and was always there with a helping hand and quick smile. May he Rest In Peace and his family find comfort in knowing he was truly a man of faith and service to his fellow brothers and sisters. His death is a huge loss to the world.

Mikel Borg

September 12, 2020

Mark was an excellent firefighter and aways served with honor and compassion. He was friendly, respectful, and respected by all of his peers. Condolences to his family. He will be always well remembered.

J Doyle

September 11, 2020

Lighting a candle -- for a fond mbr of AFD Class #90 (Taps). To family, continue to hold to HIS Hands.

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