Large image

Share a special moment from Mark's life.

Write a story

Letters from his Family

January 2, 2012

These were a tribute of love letters and memories from his Minnesota family. The people he was taken away from was not able to speak to for 10 years.


A Cherished Memory...

Another Cancun story…The trip from hell relived! Mark, Nancy, Robin and I decided to head out looking for some fun. We’d had more than our fair share of adult beverages…We were on vacation you know! We were walking down the hallway in the hotel complex we were staying in. I spotted a door that was partly open. For some stupid reason I decided that I’d stick my head in the door and see what was there. Ended up being like a janitors closet. Anyway, I stuck my head in and saw what I thought was a big f’ing rat. I mean a big one! Between the alcohol in my system and me being a chicken shit, I totally panicked. Turned and took off running like someone was trying to kill me. Blasted past Mark, Nancy and Robin like they weren’t even there. Could have actually hurt someone. Once Mark quit laughing at me, he went to check out the rat. Wasn’t really a rat. Coconut. Big dark coconut. My bad. Did I tell you I’m afraid of rats? Fish too



A Cherished Memory...

Cancun story…One of the nights Robin woke me up out of a dead sleep. She said it was raining (really hard) and wanted me to shut the patio door. I got up and shut the door (because I always do what she tells me to do) and climbed back into bed. A few minutes later it was the same request, to shut the door because it was raining. I tried to tell her I already shut it, but she didn’t believe me…Probably because the rain noise was so loud it did sound like the door was open. Or the rain was in our room. I turned the lights on and holy shit… Water was pouring out of the ceiling.Water pipe about us blew and flooded our room. Trip from hell. Again, our travel agent was seconds away from death…


A Cherished Memory..

Mark decides to put a pool in the back yard at the Copley Road house. And you can’t have a pool without like 200,000 square feet of deck around it. We got a big ass auger from the City of Duluth. And when I say big ass, you have no clue how flipping big it was. We could have used the thing to drill oil wells. It took 2 guys to operate the stupid thing… Big, heavy, out of control. We punched a couple holes with no issues. Then, reality hit. We were drilling a hole when we hit a rick with the auger bit. The bit stopped dead. The rest of the auger didn’t. The top part that had the motor/handles started to spin when the bit quit. Somehow I was not smart enough to let go of the auger from hell. F’ing thing spun me around like a rag doll. Literally, feet off the ground, flinging me around out of control. That only happened about 10 times before I figured out it was best to just let go of the handles. I never took an auger operation class at St. Scholastica.


A Cherished Memory...

A group of us went to Vegas the week after Mark crashed his snowmobile and broke his pelvis. I think there was 12 of us. 12 swinging dicks in Vegas on mancation. Mark was all busted up from his crash and refused to use a wheel chair. He ended up getting what he called “gimp sticks”. Walking devices that clamped on his forearms with handles for your hands. Funky crutch type deals. Anyway, we drink like hell won’t take us while we are on the plane. Emptied the plane of beer and whisky. We went hard that first night in Vegas too. I got up in the morning with one of the worst hangovers ever. (Mark told us over and over that you could not get a hangover in Vegas because they pump oxygen into all the casino’s. The oxygen makes it so not hangover. For the record---BS.Didn’t work.) Hangover seemed to be what everyone had. I decided I’d go check on how everyone in our group was doing. Mark and Bill Mauer were in the room next to us. They were my first stop. I wheeled out into the hallway and went next door. Mark’s room door was open. I went in to see what was going on. Bill was sleeping like a baby. So was Mark. Only problem was Mark was on the bed, on top of all the covers, fully clothed with shoes and all and still had his trusty gimp sticks on. His feet and sticks hung about 3’ off the end of the bed. Seems when he got to the room, because of the pelvis injury, he couldn’t get himself into bed. And Bill was passed out cold and wouldn’t wake up. Mark ended up just tipping over on to the bed and couldn’t move. And probably passed out. Great trip. No travel agent issues this time!!!


Growing up...

Teaching me how to use a bow and arrow in the back yard of Copley. I was pretty good!
Three and four wheeling on the trails in Piedmont, getting stuck in the mud & riding the trails in Gary and northern WI.
Scuba diving in a muddy Pike Lake even though we didn't see much it meant a lot to me.
Watching Chris water craft race all over Minnesota and almost getting in a fight or two after a cocktail or Three.
Catching you and Donna (ex-wife) make out on the couch while you were babysiitting Robin and I - we were not asleep.
Racing from our driveway to the stop sign on Piedmont just to get Mr. Schiltz pissed.
Working at Mark's Skyline Skelly on Sundays (I even fixed a couple of things, believe it or not - all for a pool cue)
Guest bartending at Rascal's during Hog Head and bouncing a few people out.
It is amazing how much you have touched my life - Love you, your brother


I would like to share a favorite quote of mine that I think Mark will relate to and enjoy.


"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself" — Etta Turner.




My wishes for you, strength, courage and hope.  Thank you for being my brother.



A Cherished Memory...


Rob and I went to Key West to stay with a friend of Rob’s who was a nanny for a rich family out of Chicago.  They had a great house with a pool in Key West.  Anyway, Chrissie was going to meat us at the airport.  Well she never showed.  We ended up renting a car.  By dumb luck we finally ran into her (this was well before cell phones were around).  Needless to say I was ready to kill our travel agent (Robin).  Chrissies car crapped out on the freeway on her way to pick us up.  We located the service station the car was towed to.  Now for the funny part, and you had to be there…  Mark and I go inside the shop.  Nobody spoke English as we were just south of Miami.  Mark says to dude at the counter, “I hear you have our dead horse”.  Dude looks at Mark and says “Horse?  Cattle?”  He looked at us like we were from Mars.  And that’s when I got really crabby at our travel agent!!!  And like I said, you really had to be there. 


A Cherished Memory...


Another travel story…  Cancun.  Must have been 1986.  Another trip I was ready to kill our travel agent.  Cancun then didn’t have any buildings at the airport.  I don’t even remember the strip being paved.  This was well before Cancun was Cancun!  It was the trip from hell!  Anyway, we ended up going to a party on some island.  The boat we took was like the Vista Queen.  Decent size, but the seas were rough.  That’s another story…  Good bash.  Drank too much of some magic punch.  That’s another story too…   When we got back to the dock, the “L” shaped dock, Mark had a bunch of locals he’d befriended.  Between his art of BS and his size (the locals were amazed on how large he was), he had a crew of followers.  We just followed behind and laughed.  Well, remember how I mentioned the “L” shaped dock???  Mark and a couple locals missed the right turn and walked straight off the dock.  It was probably only a 4’ drop down to the sand beach.  Good thing the tide was out!!!!   Again, you probably had to be there.  It was funny as hell!!


A Cherished Memory....

Then there was the night Rob and I were sitting at the Warehouse Bar (Donna worked there) with Andy and Mary.  The phone rang at the bar.  It was Nancy looking for me and Andy.  Mark had been in a snowmobile accident and got hurt.  Broken pelvis, bumped and bruised, broken pride too.  Mark was released from the hospital and Nancy needed help getting Mark up the stairs and into the bedroom/bed.  Well, we shot up to Copley road immediately after we finished our drinks.  Once Mark got there we were able to get him from the car into the house.  Once inside, the stair became a huge issue.  Me, being full of Winsor, ordered Andy to just load Mark on my back and I’d carry him up the stairs and into the bedroom all by myself.  Mark threw a fit and about shit himself.  For some reason he didn’t think I was strong enough to handle him solo.  Come on, I was Windsor man.  Soberer heads prevailed…  Andy and I got him up the stairs (together) and into bed.  For the record, I had that!  There were only about 10 or 12 stairs.  No big deal.  Once again, quite funny if you were there.  Even though Mark didn’t think so!


A cherished Memory...

Christmas day at the Verhel house was always fun.  Mark put so much effort into finding and cutting his own Christmas tree.  No pre-cut tree for him…  He must have spent MONTHS, YES MONTHS searching for the perfect tree.  I swear on my mother’s grave, Mark always had the UGLIEST Christmas trees anyone could ever imagine.  Truly earth deformities.   If someone offered any of us $1,000 to find an uglier tree than Mark, there’s no way in hell we’d be able to compete.  One year in particular at the Island Lake house stands out.  The tree was probably 18’-20’ tall.  The diameter at the base was probably 6’.  The diameter at the tip was probably 6’.  The trunk was the size of a water pipe.  There were honestly sections of trunk 3’-4’ in length (yes FEET) that had no branches.  Nothing.   Then a couple branches (literally 2 or 3), then another section with nothing.  In reality, there’s a good chance the thing wasn’t even technically a tree.   And like I said, every flipping year…  Nobody could have ever randomly picked ugly trees every year.  Just Mark, messing with everyone.  Again.

A cherished Memory..


We’ll drag Chris into this memory…   Chris was young.  Probably 3 or so.  I think this event occurred the day Nancy told us she was pregnant with Chelsea.  Anyway, a group of us had been out riding 4 wheelers.  I’m thinking it was fall.  It was a very cold day and we’d all gotten wet.  We ended up back at Mark and Nancy’s house on Copley road for a night of adult beverages and some quality hot tub time.  Chris was normally hell on wheels.  Like pain in the ass hell on wheels!!!  This particular night Chris was very well behaved.  Quiet.  Didn’t break anything.  Didn’t even move.  Nothing.  I remember Mark saying that he and Chris had a long talk and he had told him that if he was going to hang around the adults he’d need to act like an adult.  And he was, actually in more ways than one…  Chris did finally move.  He got up out of the hot tub and headed for the stairs.  He proceeded to throw up on the white carpet.  Seems one of the 4 wheeler guys brought along a flask of Blackberry Brandy.  The now cop Chris stumbled on to it and did a great job finishing most of it off.  Drunk as a skunk and puking his guts out.  Still makes me giggle, Mark saying he had a talk with Chris…  Fricking hell on wheels!!!  Mark’s big payback.  I always knew he’d spend a ton of time in a squad car…  Just never had guessed it would be in the driver’s seat. 


But for the record, Chelsea was no saint either.


My One and Only, Uncle Mark,
     To you, love, strength, peace, and serenity. I have an overwhelming feeling of love and so many years of happiness, and exciting adventures, and life experiences I've learned from you. Growing up, you and your family were a huge part of my life. So many things come to mind when I think of you, your loving, contagious smile, is so heartwarming.  I think about the many holidays we spent together, the parties we would attend at the Rascals Bar in Proctor .Often, when Chelsea and I would sleep over at Grandmas,  Chelsea and I would take just a walk down the street and you would make us a Spritzer, and cook up an order of Mozzarella stix for us, and of course, give us a cup of quarters to spend on pool, or darts, or the video games. Most the time, you would let Chelsea and I customize our own set of darts, with pieces you had laying around handy. I like to think I was a Pro Dart thrower at an early age!! We had such a blast always!
      I learned hard work and dedication from all the Jet-ski Races we would travel to and attend, I always felt SO lucky to be able to travel with you and the family, and see so many new places, and faces, and just the overall excitement to be involved with Verhel Racing. Such true pride, and being so proud to be a part of that. You've taught me, with out even knowing, so many things. I remember when you would bring Chelsea and I into town, from Island Lake, to Hermantown School, we all would be singing, 'You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling, by the Rightous Brothers, followed by, Unchained Melody. It was always my favorite, and made that LONG trip into town so fun and memorable!!  
     Moving away from MN so young in my life, I always felt as if, I would eventually be back. I wish things could be the same as they were sometimes. Even though life has gone on, and we've moved to different places in the world, there is only one 'Uncle Mark'. So many fun, happy memories come to mind when I think of you! Boating in a little Orange Dinghy in front of your house, or paddleboating with Chelsea after you helped us push out into the water, baiting our hooks as we casted a line off the dock are just to name a few. Please know, your a Great Man, a Strong man, with a soft heart, who was there when we needed you, and I've always, truly felt that. I'm lucky to have shared so many memories with you, memories that will forever be in my heart, and that I will always have to look back upon. I give you all my strength, love and prayer, through this difficult time. I will continue to share the love and Joy you've taught me,which I have, and will continue to teach my own children, that hard work and dedication, can build a strong, and sturdy foundation, for happiness.
     I love you so much, and please know that I am thinking of you. You really have to know that you were so much more than my Cuzzie's (cousin's) dad, you are somebody to look up to. I hope my letter brings such a HUGE smile to your face, thinking of you, brings nothing but love and joy to my heart, really.  
     To you, hugs, love, and kisses from all of us,....which there is ALOT of us here!! I've created quite a bunch! We love you so so much Uncle Mark!! 
     Love me, Jesse Boo-boo, and Joshua, Lilly, Madelyn, Cadan, Liam, and Everett!




Great Memories of Papa..

You being like a father to me on so many trips out of town, being my mentor, keeping me in line (trying .. lol). Always being there for me when my father wasn't. The great drinks you would make for my friends and I, and girls weekend in Duluth many years ago, we ended up hanging at Rascals and you made us feel like we were VIP. I miss those days! each and every one of them. 
Love you Papa Verhel! - Jenny B.




Hey Verhville!!!!! Miss your smile and the welcoming we all got at you Island Lake Home!!! The Bar...the hot tub...the bar...the boating and then there was all the racing!!!! We never partied there did we. And how about Yellowstone???!!!! I remember when we were flying home all of us with MAJOR hang overs, I felt like I had to throw up, I turned around and looked at you....You had sweat all over your face!!!!! I thought good Mark is going to blow chow before me!!! HAHA. 
Traci H.


Papa Verhel,


As I get older and I watch my kids grow, I think of many factors that lead toward their successful lives. I remember being a young 16 year old boy that was lost in his way without any friends, and no real father figure in my life. When I think back to your son and how happy he was, I see my kids following the same path of happiness that Chris did. All of the fun things that your family was able to do, I have always wanted to be able to do. You took me in and gave me the life I always dreamed of. From snowmobiling, to jet skis, wine coolers, to drinks at Rascals, you were always that “fun” dad. I try to model myself as a great father so that my children can have what you gave me. You have always been ready to give the shirt off your back to someone in need, and that quality is one that you just have, it’s not taught or learned, it’s just there. I was never great in school, but I was ok. You always accepted me for who I was, and that quality itself, I can see in my own children. If I could teach my children one thing and have it stick with them for the rest of their lives, it would be to grab a pen and a piece of paper and “WRITE IT DOWN”. We all get older, eventually we all die, but if I could leave this world with 10% of the heart you have, I would be one happy father.

Love you Mark!!!




Share a story

Add a document, picture, song, or video
Add an attachment Add a media attachment to your story
You can illustrate your story with a photo, video, song, or PDF document attachment.