Friends and Family, 

In the days since our father's death, we have been strengthened by the outpouring of stories and memories shared with us by the people who knew and loved him. We are hoping this website can serve as a place where these can be collected, and act as a lasting resource for us all to cherish his memory.

Your words and photos will help us all celebrate the richness of his life.


His Four Children (Henry, Cole, Lily and Sam)

Finally, in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Clubhouse International in his honor. Our father spent 30 years working with this organization on behalf of adults with mental illness.

*In order to add to the photo gallery or share a story you will have to enter an email and make a password, we apologize for any inconvenience.

February 21, 2019
February 21, 2019
To Mark's Children,
I am so saddened to learn of your father's passing and extend my sympathies to you all. I am a former staff worker at Laurel House in Stamford and met Mark when he served on the Board of Directors ( I remember meeting some of you too when you were just little kids - remember the Move Alongs at Cove Beach?). I was a young social worker at the time and Mark took an interest in my professional development. I learned a lot from him. But beyond Mark's generosity to me, I was most struck by his dedication to our members and how he interacted with them with such gentleness and kindness. I will never forget his deep barrel belly laugh. When Mark moved to MA and left the Board of Laurel House, it did not surprise me that he continued his service to the larger Clubhouse Community. His contribution to Clubhouse will be missed by all who were fortunate to know him. 
I will keep your family in my prayers as you grieve the passing of your father. May these tributes bring a smile to your faces.
Christine (Chris) Limone
Milford, CT
February 20, 2019
February 20, 2019
I miss the big bear very much, but had the good fortune to see him three times last year; once in Berkeley, a stay of several days in Brookline, and once when we had a lovely autumn walk when he came to Oxford. Two stories.
The first story of how Mark was mistaken for the janitor when the freshmen arrived at Williams College is well-known: this was due to his appearance wearing all khakis and his much-older-than-others appearance. What’s perhaps lost in this story is that, though Mark could look like an ancient sage, even as a freshman, as many of the photos on this site attest, it is also the case that Mark’s devious and infectious smile (is ‘impish grin’ better here?) could also make him look childlike, from the time I knew him as a freshman into old age. And that range of ages in appearance applies, of course, to his spirit as well.
A second is a Mark and Ralph story: it’s a beautiful summer day at Williams, so Mark and Ralph decide to go swimming in a small lake up on Northwest Hill Road. But a storm, with lots of lightning, appears quickly as they are splashing in the middle of the lake. Luckily, a metal rowboat is anchored there, so Mark and Ralph swim towards it, turn it over, and take shelter underneath its upturned hull. More lightning, then one of us asks the other: doesn’t metal conduct lightning? Duh! Mark and Ralph quickly escape from under the hull and swim very quickly to the shore in the midst of the storm!!!
Keep on roaming those summer fields!
February 20, 2019
February 20, 2019
Our deepest condolences to Cole, Henry, Lily, & Sam. It’s sad that we missed our chance to meet Mark. When our families are together on the Cape this June, we’d love to get to know him through hearing some of your stories about this man who was such an important part of your life.
February 20, 2019
February 20, 2019
Dear Henry, Cole, Lilly, Sam and Mark's entire Family:
I am so deeply sorry. I just read all of the stories and tributes on this page and laughed and cried as I had the chance to learn more about Mark...and also to see so many lives were enriched by Mark's love, his sense of humor, his tremendous appetite for great conversation and good, and so much more. I had the pleasure to get to meet Mark nearly 20 years ago through mutual Williams friends. About once a year even since then I had occasion to see Mark, break bread with him and share in conversation. Like so many others I will always hear the sound of Mark's great laugh. And I will think often and fondly of wide-ranging conversations from poetry to volunteerism; from bonding as fellow parents of twins, to tasting the delightful and obscure treats Mark brought with him. In ways I hope to tell you about in person some day, Mark was a true friend to me and many others. Please accept my sympathies and love. -Morgan
February 19, 2019
February 19, 2019
He was my dear friend.
We met on the squash court freshman year. I could never beat him, those long, heron-like arms forcing me into the corner as he hit a drop shot. Over the years, we continued to do battle. For two years, he was no. 4, and I was no. 5. He was like running into a wall.
We read poetry on our way to fish. We shared poems, books, songs, children, grief and a tiny amount of politics. There were other, better things, to talk about than politics (but he worried greatly about the state of the country, and the man who occupies the presidency).
We shared stories of our fathers. At Williams, I told him once that my father was my best friend and he was amazed, shocked actually, to hear such a thing. He said his father was a hard man to know.
We fished and rowed rafts. We camped and ate bouillabaisse with mountain goats. We read out loud with flash lights. He stared at the mountain lakes for a long time. I taught him to fish.
He (eventually) shared his haiku with me, a great honor.
He taught me suiseki, and I cursed him for it, cursed him for ruining my favorite pastime, fly fishing, because now I spent all my fishing time looking in the rocks for mini mountains and figures of animals. I found a rock with a silverback gorilla relief and gave it to him. He said was one of the greatest gifts of his life. Haha, such hyperbole, but I loved the compliment. He told me on the way back to Boston from his trip, that an infant on the plane, maybe two years old, was crying inconsolably and her mother was at her wit’s end. He reached into his pocket (a book could be written about Mark’s pockets), pulled out the rock, leaned down, and asked the girl, “have you ever seen a gorilla inside a rock?” He said that stopped her from crying.
We spoke of his depression, how he did not want to take medication (“I’m talking too much medication already, I don’t want to medicate my brain.”). I could not convince him otherwise, and, in a way, I respected his decision, but it lead to this outcome, I believe.
I could go on. I have never had a friend like Mark, a brilliant old soul inside a child’s body (even though he looked like my father…hmm). I love the stories you all have shared about his laugh. There was absolutely nothing like it. It hugged you, wrapped itself around you. He loved his friends, family and most especially his children. He loved them with a power and depth I can only envy. To leave them behind is a testament to his suffering.
The world is a smaller place for me now, and I suspect, given the outpouring in these testaments, a smaller place for all of you. But I count myself lucky for having known him, for being his friend. For Mark, as you all know, friendship went both ways. Never a taker, always generous, sharing, courteous, always the gentleman in the truest sense.
Rest well, my friend. We will remember you well.
February 19, 2019
February 19, 2019
I have had the privilege and the honor of collaborating with Mark for many years in my role as CFO of Fountain House and also serving on the Clubhouse International Clubhouse Advisory Council and the Faculty for Clubhouse Development. He had an incredible passion for the work of Clubhouses and for helping to better the lives of people living with mental illness. He was a forward thinker who championed new ideas while remaining true to deep convictions. His exuberance was inspirational. I enjoyed the time we had working together and sharing stories over meals. I will greatly miss him as I know countless others will too. My deepest condolences to Mark’s family and loved ones.
February 19, 2019
February 19, 2019
I worked closely with Mark for many years on TES and his commitment and knowledge will be very missed.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
My deepest condolences <3
He was a great guy with a big heart and he will be missed.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
I am so sorry for your loss. I have been lucky to know & admire Mark throughout college, and then reconnect 25 years after graduation when he moved to Boston and Lilly and my daughter Lydia became soccer teammates and friends.

Even in college, Mark’s most wonderful signature belly laugh — offered freely & without reservation — was frequently the highlight of a whole day for me & for others around him. It was particularly appreciated when Mark & I would too often be the last two people leaving Sawyer Libray when it closed at 1am, headed back to our rooms to finish our latest papers for class. We’d chat, he’d belly laugh, I’d feel better about pushing through exhaustion to finish my schoolwork.

I always admired how Mark opened himself up to new friends and new intellectual inquiry, and his ability during conversation to really focus the person in front of him.  One spring junior or senior year he was taking a mind-blowing course cross-offered in Physics & Philosophy called “Time”. I passed Mark while he was sitting outside Greylock Dining Hall on a bench, staring into space. I said “Hi Mark, what’s up?”. He turned slowly and said “I’m thinking about.....time!” It is because so many of us admired him so much that he became college council president and a trusted friend to so many.

What a treat to reconnect with Mark in about 2005 through our daughters. Watching soccer games with Mark was hilarious in how he was just so happy to be out there with Lilly doing something she enjoyed. He was also delighted to be spending a few hours outside exchanging witticisms with Bill Chuck and others.

Mark has always felt things deeply. He was saddened by the early death by cancer of our good mutual friend Van Townsend and at our college reunion in 2015 helped organize an amazing hike & reflections memorial for Van & our other college classmates who had passed away too soon. I’m saddened that we’ll need to do the same for Mark. Thank you Mark for all the lessons on life I’ve learned from you.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
Mark and his family have been a central part of Betsy’s and my
lives for nearly 49 years and, for each of our children, for all of
their lives.
He was generous of spirit and wonderful company. The very notion
of his physical absence is extraordinarily sad, but his presence
will live on with us and with so many others.
I have rich and rewarding memories and stories and will share them
with gratitude that my life and that of our family were the beneficiaries of his friendship.
Paul, Betsy, Tiernan, Curtis, Jo, and P.G.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
When I think of Mark I will always think of the wonderful and raucous laughs we would share as we watched our daughters play high school soccer together. Yes, the tensions ran high in the game as we watched Lily and Jen excel on the field, but I also knew whenever I could come up with a good line, I would get a great bellowing laugh from Mark.
Oddly, the other thing I really remember about him was that he mixed the best holiday eggnog I ever tasted.There were no shortage of hearty laughs from those of us who drank from that bowl.
Even though we went our separate ways in our lives, I still feel his loss. It was just a reminder how much he added to my life and how he enriched those games and those moments we shared with out daughters.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
To the Beautiful Henry, Lily, Sam and Cole,
Back in the early 90’s, your wonderful dad introduced me to the concept of the bike-a-thon and what it means to joyfully exhaust yourself to help others. I had not been a big cyclist before that cold morning at the beach in Stamford, but your dad asked if a few of us would help launch the bike event on behalf of his beloved Laurel House, and, well, how could we refuse? He had staked out proper routes along 20 or so miles of Stamford’s unforgiving roads (and drivers) and greeted us at the end with that big laugh and patrician voice of his in ways that both validated and celebrated our hard work. I remember lots of big, fat donuts, a raffle in which I won some sort of free bike service I didn't know I needed, and all those Laurel House clients cheering us on, doing everything they could to demonstrate their utter devotion to your dad. How they loved him. How he brought diverse communities together. How he cherished his role in helping others find joy in helping others. He was filled with love and kindness, and, in all of you, he has left that magnificent legacy.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
I am very sorry to hear about Mark's death. I was chair of the Fountain House Board when he was Chair at Clubhouse International. That caused several opportunities for us to meet socially in NYC when he came to town. I enjoyed every one of those conversations. He was dedicated to helping people with mental illness and to maintaining a strong relationship between our two organizations. I recognize the man I knew then in all the stories and tributes others are posting here. A sad loss for the worldwide clubhouse community.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
The Clubhouse community had in Mark a passionate, generous and constant champion. He never failed to visit Clubhouses on his visits around the world and always encouraged everyone to do the same. His compassion and his empathy were visible for all to see. We shall miss him deeply.
I shall miss him deeply, as a board colleague, as a friend and as a fellow proud parent.
My deepest condolences to you four children and to Mark's siblings. Your father and brother was a very special person who will continue to inspire me in our work to make the world a better place for people recovering from mental ill-health.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
I had the privilege of serving with Mark for many years on the Board of Clubhouse International. He was extremely dedicated to improving the lives of people living with mental illness, and was a tireless and passionate advocate for them. He was very enthusiastic supporter of the the Clubhouse model, and traveled extensively to visit Clubhouses and attend regional Clubhouse meetings and seminars. He was engaged in the cause! He was also very knowledgeable about cheese, wines and the arts, so was a great person to talk to. I will miss him very much. My thoughts and prayers are with Mark's family at this time, but I know that, while you miss him, you also celebrate a life well lived.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
A wonderful smart and gentle guy. I remember well our ferry trip on Puget Sound so many years ago. Que en paz descanse.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
I had the pleasure of meeting Mark at several Clubhouse International Conferences. I knew him as a passionate Board member who set the standard for work ethic and compassion for leaders and Boards across the Clubhouse world. I will miss him.
Sincerest condolences to the family.
Frank Kelton, Executive Director, Potential Place Clubhouse, Calgary, Alberta Canada.
February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
Dear Friends and Family,
I offer this tribute, a poem fragment from Maya Angelou, to Mark, his life and legacy. . . .
". . . .When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken. . . .

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed."
—Maya Angelou, When Great Trees Fall
February 17, 2019
February 17, 2019
Mark epitomized so many things:
love - no man ever loved his children more
brother - no man every loved his siblings more
kindness - his work for Clubhouse International speaks volumes
Mark left us way too soon.
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February 13, 2020
February 13, 2020
A Litany of Remembrance

Poem by Rabbi Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
we remember them.
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring,
we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,
we remember them.
In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength,
we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart,
we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share,
we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us,
as we remember them.

© by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. From Gates of Prayer, published by Central Conference of American Rabbis. Used by permission of the CCAR.
February 13, 2020
February 13, 2020
Sending love to everyone on this sad day of remembering our dad. This year has gone by so swiftly but has also felt like an entire decade at times. I hope everyone can spend a moment with a memory of him.
August 30, 2019
August 30, 2019
I recently reconnected with a dear high school friend who had spent a good deal of time with my dad, both in Brookline and our first year of college together. When I told her of my father's suicide, she recommended to me the book "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles, telling me that the protagonist reminded her of Mark.

I am only a quarter of the way through, but it is amazing to me how much of him is contained in the character of Count Alexander Rostov. His formality of manner, his aristocratic interest in Opera, classical literature and philosophy; but coupled (and in some ways hiding) the whimsical playfulness and shameless eccentricity of a child. It makes me feel close to him, like he is laughing nearby. Love to all.
His Life

Obituary for Mark Lanier, written by his brother Addison Lanier II, printed in the Cincinnati Enquirer: 

Brookline, MA - The sudden death of Mark Lanier, 60, on February 13, 2019 came as a heartbreaking surprise to family and friends. Mark was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Lloyd Addison and Melissa Emery Lanier, who predeceased him. He graduated from Cincinnati Country Day School, where he is remembered as a scholar and athlete, for being a loyal friend and for wearing the same skinny tie, day-in and day-out for six years. He graduated magna cum laude from Williams College, earned a Masters in English Literature from Oxford University, England, and an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. He worked for T. Rowe Price before business school and later worked at Grumman Hill, LLC for Richard D. Irwin, whom he considered a mentor and then a longtime friend and co-investor. Mark formed and ran Pegasus Capital, a hedge fund that has invested successfully in small cap companies. Mark also served on the boards of Thos. Emery's Sons, Inc. and Scinet Development & Holdings, Inc. Mark was passionate about a few chosen volunteer activities. He loved his close friendships with and his leadership roles alongside generations of Brothers and Sisters of his Uncle Tony. He devoted hundreds of hours each year to his work with Clubhouse International whose Executive Director, Joel Corcoran, described Mark as "an extraordinary advocate for people living with serious mental illness and a familiar face at Clubhouse programs on six continents." While serving as Clubhouse International's Chairman, the organization received the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Award, the single largest humanitarian award in the world, given to a non-profit judged to have made significant contributions to alleviating human suffering. Mark's interest in residential programs for people with mental illness began with his service on the board of Laurel House, in Stamford, CT and continued the rest of his life. Mark's additional interests were so varied and esoteric that friends and family were caught in an awkward tension between wanting desperately to learn about his newest hobbies and, on the other hand, knowing that we would be thoroughly baffled, once we knew. Mark joined the American Bonsai Society, so that he could join them on a trip to Japan. He became very serious about the study of cheeses and would happily lecture the uninitiated. Long after his considerable weight reached a point where he no longer played active sports, Mark could be found walking rocky river beds throughout the U.S., wearing blue jean overalls and leaning on a sturdy walking stick, in search of Suiseki rocks, expressive stones deserving of appreciation. Although he traveled repeatedly to Scandinavia, his favorite city was Kyoto. Mark studied the accordion and guitar. He joyfully curated recorded music of many kinds for family and friends. He cooked thoughtfully and generously. He had exceptional gifts of relationship, which were appreciated by old friends and by people he had just met. He enjoyed the strict rigors of writing Haiku. Yet, at same time, splitting infinitives and ending sentences with prepositions were things he was OK with. Mark loved his children, family and friends. He is survived by his children, Henry Anson Lanier, Spenser Cole Lanier, Lillian Avery Lanier and Samuel Elias Lanier, by his former wife Kirsten Olsen, by his siblings Addison Lanier II (Jamie), John Emery Lanier (Jane Garvey) and Melissa Lanier Murphy (Shenan), and by numerous nieces and nephews who love, enjoyed and will miss him. A Celebration of Life gathering will take place, in Boston, later in March. Donations in Mark's memory may be made to Clubhouse International at or by sending a check to 483 Tenth Avenue, Suite 205, New York, NY 10018.

Recent stories

Sharing Dreams with the Dad

August 6, 2021
Every once in a while I'll have a dream about Uncle Mark and I'll share what happened with my dad, John Lanier (Uncle Mark's brother). I don't usually remember what the dreams are about, and neither does my dad, but we both know that he's there with us in some fashion. 

In the few that I remember, I'll be talking to Uncle Mark, telling him about random things that are going on in my life, and he'll be there listening and smiling. Nothing more than that, but it's still extremely valuable to me. He's just listening and being attentive. 

And when I wake up, I wake up happy knowing that I'm still able to connect with him in some way. And I'm glad that my father experiences the same thing too. 

A long time ago

February 18, 2021
I was lucky enough to get to know Mark in college, but what I remember most is that I don't remember ever having a short conversation with him. Whether it was staying at Baxter too long after dinner, sitting in the College Council office discussing the squeal of bagpipes, talking at a reunion while Mark cradled his new son -- you get the idea. Mark was intense, quiet, kind, and inevitably interesting. I am so sad for all but especially his beloved children that Mark is gone.

Mini-memories of Mark

November 5, 2019
Here are a few small memories of Mark, from childhood to recent years:

When we were little and an adult asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, instead of saying fireman or pilot or even artist, like the rest of us, Mark would always say: oceanographer. We had no clue what that was, and maybe he didn’t either, but it sure sounded cool.

In first or second grade, Mark and I went through a brief period when, on bathroom breaks, we would wash all the mirrors with soapy paper towels, and then dry them to an immaculate shine. It was all his idea, but I eagerly joined him. This lasted a few weeks. We had to work rapidly, because the breaks weren’t long, and there was a feeling of excitement at doing something not exactly naughty (and maybe even good) but unknown to the teachers. When they found out, they didn’t really get mad, but they made us stop.

While we were still in college but home in Cincinnati for Christmas break, a group of our high school classmates met up to go to “The Last Waltz” at (if my memory serves me) The 20th Century Theater in Oakley. I was wearing a blue jean jacket, and when we met on the street, Mark made the remark, “I’ve never owned a jean jacket.” I wasn’t sure if he was looking slightly askance at my plebeian attire. But, having come from a formal party, he was wearing a tuxedo, so my retort was ready-made: “And I’ve never owned a tux.” He laughed, and I can almost hear him say, “Fair enough.” I’m not sure I ever saw him in a jean jacket, but he certainly became fond of denim overalls.

When Julie and I got married in November 1981, Mark was studying literature at Oxford, but, as he told me, he was not one to miss a wedding or a funeral. He flew back a few days early and joined us for Thanksgiving with Julie’s family in Boston. (See photo in Gallery.) At the wedding, one of Julie’s friends thought he was my father (he was 23). Afterwards, he drove us back to New York, with Ben Lowenthal riding shotgun while Julie and I snuggled in the back seat. (We had our real honeymoon the following summer.)

Mark and I overlapped for a year at Stanford (1985-86). One of the highlights of that year was the fabulous production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus that the business school put on, with Mark in the role of Dysart and Todd Harris as Alan. The Grateful Dead played a lot of concerts in the area that year, and sometimes Mark and I would go together or meet up at the show. If I wanted to find him, I just searched the floor for his already bald head, bouncing to the rhythm. After one concert at Frost Amphitheater, on Stanford’s campus, when he was not in any condition to drive (ahem), I drove his white Volvo back up the winding road, through red-limbed manzanita groves, to his group house on Skyline Drive, where we sat on the ridge and watched the sun set over the Pacific, turning into a red ziggurat before it slipped under the horizon.

Mark, David Henry, and I drove to Cincinnati together for our 20th high school reunion in 1996. I’m sure there were a lot of good conversations, but what I remember better is that we spent a significant portion of the drive playing a quiz game of our own invention: we took turns reading passages from a massive poetry anthology, while the other two tried to guess the author. We were all pretty bad at it, actually. Mark, of course, wanted to stop for a long, leisurely dinner, whereas I wanted to just grab a bite and press on (we were already going to arrive late at night). Dave sided with Mark, but I insisted that we hold the dinner break to an hour… which we almost did. There was a lot of good-natured teasing going back and forth over that.

In July 2013, I drove a rental truck containing some furniture from my parents’ house in Cincinnati to our house in Dover, Massachusetts. One of the items was a big hutch. We live in a small house, and the only place to put the hutch was occupied by a massive, old, crappy upright piano that nobody played. I asked Mark if he would help me move it out of the house, and he not only said yes but added that he had a dolly and a handcart. I wasn’t even sure what the difference was, but it seemed I had asked a professional. Not actually, as it turned out (there’s a reason that piano movers exist, and have their own union), but he had a lot more experience than I did, and he was a lot stronger. Even so, the all-day process of moving the piano was like a slapstick routine so glacial in pace that the humor often gave way to sheer frustration. We labored to get the piano halfway through a doorway only to realize we didn’t have room to make the turn that would get us to the front door. So we had to backtrack and take a longer route through the dining room and kitchen, which meant going through three more doorways, all of them posing their own particular challenges. We strategized, joked, swore a lot, and smoked a little weed. At one point the piano was listing on the dolly so that we couldn’t get it through the last doorway. “We need straps,” Mark said emphatically. So we made a trip to Home Depot and bought some straps. I didn’t know how to use them, but Mark did. Somehow, by the end of the day, we managed to get the piano onto the front porch, where it still stands six years later, threatening to fall through the floor’s slats, its wood lamination covered in dust and beginning to peel away.

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