Mark Douglas Lauer, born June 18, 1957, passed away, May 21, 2023, in Cortez, Colorado. He was 65 years young.
Mark graduated from Wichita Southeast High School and attended Concordia College in St. Paul, MN and Emporia State University in Emporia, KS.
Mark moved to Dolores, CO, in the mid 1980’s to work for the Forest Service at the San Juan National Forest. Although Mark was a Biologist/Wildlife Technician, his passion was fire. He worked several seasons in the Wildlife Organization while training for, and working on, the San Juan Type II Fire Crew. He became the Crew Boss and was later promoted as the San Juan Forest Fire Management Officer. During his tenure in Durango CO, he oversaw the implementation of an air tanker base at the LaPlata County Airport as well as the San Juan Hot Shot Crew. Mark was well known for his dedication to safe and efficient firefighting and to the protection of all firefighting personnel.
A strong and athletic hiker, Mark loved the outdoors. Fishing, hunting, skiing and being in the mountains were his passions. He was always there to help a friend pack out their harvest. Mark rode in “Ride the Rockies” bike tour for several years where he rode with friends and several family members. Mark was a member of the Southwest Colorado Bassmasters and captured multiple trophies from their fishing tournaments. He also ventured into the cattle business in Ignacio and Dolores supporting his Godson Evan.
After retirement from the Forest Service, Mark saw the need for a good restaurant in Dolores where he leased and ran the Riverside Grill. He provided employment for many and offered a social gathering spot for friends and visitors to Dolores.
Family and close friends knew the battle Mark was waging with a degenerative spine disorder that was stealing his mobility to hunt and hike but he continued to remain positive.
Mark is lovingly remembered by his father, Willard Lauer; Brothers, Michael Lauer (Diana), William Lauer (Pam), Sister; Marcia Harford (John), Nephews; William Lauer II, Joseph Lauer, James Lauer, Robert Harford, Nieces; Catherine Lies, Jessica Murphy, Megan Knutzen and his adopted family, Kay & Larry Fitzwater, their children and grandchildren. He was proceeded in death by his mother, Audrey Lauer.
Funeral Services were held at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wichita, KS on June 16, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. Memorials may be sent to Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 600 N Greenwich RD Wichita, KS 67206.
A special thank you to all our family and friends who have been with us during this difficult time.