Mark was a man of few words, but he more than made up for it with his big smiles, quiet wisdom and courageous leadership. Depending on where and how you met him, you may have also known of his photographic retention of numbers, or his unending patience with kids, or his passion for long bike rides with numerous steep climbs.
Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, his subtle humour was more aligned to the East Coast than the West Coast or Prairies, where he lived for over 50 years. As the eldest with two brothers and a sister, Mark felt responsibility deeply. His father, Mark Sr., worked for Defence Construction Canada, so the family moved often. They moved from the East Coast to Guyana, the West Coast (Courtenay) and then eventually to the Fraser Valley (Chilliwack), where Mark graduated high school.
From a young age, he had an interest in how things move/work and a deeply analytical mind, so Mechanical Engineering (University of Calgary; BSc 1984) was a natural fit for him. It was in Calgary that he met Judy, who though a few years younger, was always a few years ahead of her time, and shared his interest in Engineering. Their honeymoon to Oregon / California was the first of many trips together, either by car, air, or preferably on bicycles.
Mark had a profound love for his family and outdoor activities, often intertwined. One of his greatest sources of joy was skiing with his family down steep runs, and admiring his daughter’s passion for karate and his son’s deep dedication to golf. Mark himself was a scratch golfer for many years. He loved regular family trips to Maui to spend time walking quiet beaches and finding solace in cycling up Haleakala Crater, which held a special place in his heart.
Many will know Mark through how he worked and played - dedicating himself fully to big projects in the same way as he did pedaling up steep mountains. He loved solving tough problems and gave it everything he had from start to finish, with humility and graciousness. And in leading others, he had a way of guiding you “up the mountain” and when challenges arose, reassuring you quietly that you could handle it and to trust yourself.
Professionally, Mark had a passion for HVAC building systems, specializing in hospitals and other public buildings. The projects he was most proud of include the Alberta Children’s Hospital and the soon-to-be-opened Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Working most recently with DIALOG, a multidisciplinary design practice, he was respected not only for his deep engineering expertise but more importantly for his honesty and integrity. He was an exceptional leader and mentor, doing everything he could to help others be successful.
Mark is predeceased by his father Mark and his mother Dorothy. He is survived by his loving partner Judy, their teenage daughter and son as well as his brothers Phil (Christine) and Scott (Lisa), sister Heather (Tony), and several nieces and nephews. He was also like a son to his parents-in-law (Calvin, Marie) and a brother to his sisters-in-law Lori (Murray) and Sue (Stewart).
Mark will be deeply missed by his family, friends, colleagues and the Unit 57 medical team, who were fortunate enough to witness his kindness, intelligence and quiet courage.
A private Celebration of Life will be held in April to honour Mark's remarkable life and the impact he had on those around him.
In recognition of the extensive care provided by his medical team and Mark’s leading role in the design of the new Cancer Centre, a gift to the Alberta Cancer Foundation (https://donate.owncancer.ca/campaign/mark-wallace/c551337) in memory of Mark would be greatly appreciated. All donations will go towards the Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant programs, with a particular focus on complex conditions.