Mark Heim lived life on his terms

Published 11:01 am Friday, October 31, 2014

Noah Hamer, son-in-law,, Kelli Hamer, daughter, Brett Heim, son, Jan Heim and Mark Heim. -- Photo provided

Noah Hamer, son-in-law,, Kelli Hamer, daughter, Brett Heim, son, Jan Heim and Mark Heim. — Photo provided

Mark Heim was always going.

“There wasn’t anything that was going to stop him from living life the way he knew it was meant to be lived,” said Kelli Hamer, Mark’s daughter.

Austin native Mark W. Heim passed away Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Mark and his wife, Jan, have owned and operated Ankeny’s Mini-Mart No. 1 in Austin for the last 14 years, and Mark also worked as a printing salesman at J-C Press in Owatonna for 23 years.

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Mark loved many things, but his main love was for his faith and family.

1031.MarkHeim2“He’d come home after a long day at work and [say], ‘well, let’s go golfing, let’s go do whatever outside,’ because he knew how valuable family time is and he wasn’t going to let being tired stop him,” Kelli said.

Jan added, “[An] amazing dad and amazing husband.”

Mark’s son, Brett Heim, recalled his dad dropping everything to help him move to Los Angeles, and the family recalled Mark flying specifically there so Brett wouldn’t have to drive home alone.

“It’s going to be hard but he did an excellent job at raising a strong family,” Brett said.

Family and friends remember Mark’s constant smile and positivity. He was willing to talk to anybody, and once he knew someone he wasn’t likely to forget them.

“Once you were in his life he didn’t let go of you,” Kelli said. “If you ever needed anything he was there for you.”

Brett added, “Hundreds of friends and no enemies.”

Mark was an all-or-nothing person. Noah recalled him being fully committed to everything he stood behind.

Mark was a youth leader at his church when his children were young, and more recently he was an usher and involved in a life group at Cornerstone Church.

“He’d go on all the weekend retreats and be there Wednesday night, some of his best friends came out of the youth group,” Kelli remembered. “He was a kid at heart.”

She recalled him sitting in the front row on Sundays wearing his Viking’s jersey, booing out loud when the pastor joked about the Packer’s winning a game.

“He wasn’t afraid to cheer for the Vikings,” Kelli said.

Jan recalled a group of guys Mark met while working with the youth group, and although they were Kelli’s age, they would always hang around. Jan recalled coming home to find them making themselves comfortable at the family’s home. They always knew they were welcome, she said.

Kelli added, “He just made an impact on everybody that he met. He treated them like they were his best friend and just loved them.”

Mark loved 1980s hairbands and 1990s Christian rock music. Kelli recalled him traveling with friends to Arizona to go to concerts, and traveling around the US to hear his favorite band, Stryper, the band he grew up listening to during high school. Kelli’s husband Noah Hamer recalled the car rides.

“If you were in the car you were going to be playing ‘name that tune,’” Noah said.

“Hey Kelli, who sings this song?” Kelli remembered him saying.

“Most the time we could never guess it,” Noah added.

Jan and Mark Heim with their daughter Kelli Hamer (daughter) -- Photo provided

Jan and Mark Heim with their daughter Kelli Hamer (daughter) — Photo provided

Mark could name many of the songs, release years, artists and albums from the 80s that played across the radio. He also loved bands like Skillet, Pillar and DC Talk, and he and Kelli spent father-daughter time at the Sonshine Festival in Willmar, Minnesota, for 10-straight years.

Mark’s love of sports showed in his daily life. Whether he was playing golf, softball, kickball, football, broom ball or snowmobiling, or just watching a Minnesota team play on the TV, his family remembered him getting actively involved.

“He’d be the one on the side yelling at them if they made a bad call, and downstairs he’d be yelling at the TV if the refs made a bad call,” Kelli laughed. “He just liked to yell at the refs.”

Whether it was the Gophers or the Bruins, Mark loved Minnesota teams, regardless of the sport.

“He just loved sports, all sports,” Jan said. “He said if it had a ball, it was his sport.”

Mark wanted to go to a baseball stadium in every state, and every golf course he played at he bought a specialized ball to remember. He ran the Grandma’s Marathon in 2008, and Kelli remembered him playing tennis with her just to spend time together. He even bought Metrodome seats before it was torn down.

Yet it wasn’t just a love for sports; Mark had a love for being outdoors.

“Any spare moment, if it was nice out he was telling us, ‘let’s go outside and do something,’” Kelli said. “Raking leaves, planting grass, just doing something outside.”

He also enjoyed mud bogging and riding ATVs, and loved his truck. He went to many car shows and could tell the year of any old car. He filled the computer with photos of cars.

Mark also had a love for capturing memories and took selfies everywhere he went.

“He always captured every moment and I’m very thankful for that,” Kelli said. “There’s not a memory that will be lost.”

She added, “We don’t understand why he had to go so soon, but we know he’s up in Heaven right now, and he gets to spend the rest of his life with God.”

“Rocking out to Stryper,” Brett laughed.