This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Mark Paul Shak.  Mark was born on August 28, 1964 and returned to the Lord on January 15, 2021.  We will all remember his strong faith in God and service to others who were on the path to recovery from addiction.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no official services at this time.  Please feel free to express your condolences, thoughts, feelings, and stories about Mark here where all will be able to see and enjoy them.
Mark’s journey in this life was an empowering story of redemption.  He would be the first to tell others he overcame the most difficult periods through the grace of God.  Mark appreciated his Slovak ancestry, the relationships he built growing up in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, and his loving family of siblings, nieces & nephews, and their children.  Those closest to Mark enjoyed his witty humor, spiritual insight, and selfless compassion in service of God and others.
Thank you again and please participate in celebrating Mark’s life by leaving a tribute below, including any pictures, video, or music in the Stories or Gallery sections.

Anyone wishing to make a donation in Mark’s memory can do so at the link below to Christ Central Ministries Oconee. Mark was House Director of Ash Tree Men's Recovery Home. He also helped with the Saturday Church feeding the homeless and very involved with Families Fighting Addiction. All donations are tax deductible because they are a not for profit 501-c3 status. 
Our family thanks you in advance.

Posted by Tony Carroll on January 30, 2021
Im grateful for the opportunity to become friends with shak for he always encouraged me to keep moving forward and he helped me get into service and he was a brother in Christ and was faithful to his walk with God and I'm definitely a better person and will see my friend in heaven when that day comes for me. Love you brother.peace
Posted by Joe Brooks on January 27, 2021
I've known Shak for about 16 months and he was truly a blessing to all those around him. He was always there to help others, including me. His faith, direction, teachings and kindness were instrumental in my recovery. He will be greatly missed. Peace brother.
Posted by Dee Osemeno on January 25, 2021
It is truly sad that you are not here to read this but to your family I send my deepest sympathy. The pain of losing a loved one can not be described,I pray that God comforts you during this trying period. Just as God has promised at 1corinthians 15 vs 26, 'the last enemy death will be brought to nothing' and families around the world including Mr. Mark will never have to cry over losing a loved one.
Posted by David Shak on January 22, 2021
Talking with Mark the last few years has been truly inspiring. I was impressed by the way he turned his life around, his faith base and his total commitment to the recovery process. One day I asked him what was the turning point and without hesitation he said that when confronted with the AA twelve steps he got to step 2: Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. And Step 3: Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

At that point he said he decided that if he was going to believe and commit to turn over his life, he wanted a better understanding and what better way than to read and study the Bible. So with nothing but time on his hands at that point, his journey began.

Mark made a point of daily reading devotionals and had a solid faith base. He had a drive to help and support those in the recovery journey while he continued his own journey.

There were days he would call me sounding frustrated, restless and not sleeping well. I knew he was troubled seeing someone struggling on their recovery journey. I would try to console him and remind him of the ones he had helped and impacted. Each time it would make me think of the starfish story (which my one daughter used at her high school graduation speech) it goes:

An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.

“Young lady,” he asked, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die.”

“But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference.”

The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying, “It made a difference for that one.”

With Mark , we will never know how many “that one” there are.

You can now Rest In Peace brother.
Posted by Veronica Romero-Bower on January 21, 2021
We only have one chance at this life and we're always reminded of that in one way or another. Though my husband and I only met him once, we were able to know him through my brother Andy and my sister in law, Becky. Mark had that one chance and he really made his life count. His impact on those around him will undoubtedly leave a lasting and forever impression on their hearts.

Our prayers and thoughts are with all those who will miss him terribly, but we know that he'll be watching over all of his loved ones, witnessing their journeys and continuing on in everyone's hearts and memories.

Veronica & Joe Bower
Posted by Ashley M. on January 20, 2021
Mark used to say i told too much, but he also thanked me for being me. So.. I'm doing this tribute my way.

I first spoke with Mark in mid July of last year. My loved one was in jail and i was trying to secure a place for them at Ash Tree house. Mark spent many hours with me on the phone, explaining the process and the overall legal system. I called him so often that he affectionately nicknamed me "Bug".
I thought it odd he'd call so late, just after nine, but later learned it was at this time the residents of the house turned over their devices and this was Mark's only free time. Always kind, and always patient, he gave up his rest to ease my worries and help me through the process.

During one of these chats i gave a sarcastic, somewhat crude remark. He fired back in equal measure and we were friends from then on! Though a twenty year age difference, we found in each other a mutually weird and wacky kinship. We shared life stories, secrets, memes, and music. I'll forever think of him when i hear his favorite,
Peter Gabriel. He was like a father and a best friend. He promised to one day teach me how to drive stick. And it wasn't meant as a double entendre! He often gave me the same lectures and devotions he gave the guys at the house. Long winded, and full of about a dozen "Mmmk..", "So..".

I'll miss his stories. At anytime, anywhere, a trigger will set of a memory and he'd say, "Remind me to tell you about the time...". His life was so interesting and often wild. It was hard to fathom how this calm, rational, peaceful man could have been that... that..THAT! Most up here didn't know the full extent of his past. Nor did they get why those of us who did would giggle anytime Mark wielded a knife. And he often would when light heartedly roasted.

Mark held a lot of regret in regards to his past, but he also believed it to be God's plan. His spirituality was always present. He said "A sin is a sin". And he had a way to make christianity easier to follow and more inclusive.

I know the guys at the house often felt Mark to be stern. His favorite saying was, "I'll give you just enough rope to hang yourself with". But he truly did care for them all. He knew what a person could be capable of should they want the change. He invested more of himself emotionally than anyone realized. 

Mark's Christmas gift to me was a compass with the arrow pointing north to "God" and a note saying, "For if you ever lose your way from peace". It is due to his passing that I've lost my way from peace. But i reflect on one of Mark's favorite bits of writing. "I Stand At The Door" by Sam Shoemaker. He said it hit him the first time he read it. I won't post it here. It's a long one and I've gone on long enough. I suggest everyone read it and understand how Mark felt about his calling.

He was a kind, funny (Dad jokes, notwithstanding ) harsh, delightful, honest, humble, proud, complicated, creepy little man (you can love Jesus AND serial killers!) 

I'll wholeheartedly miss him.

Posted by c werts on January 20, 2021
A friend and I met Mark at the OARS facility in Nov 2020. We were so thankful to meet him. He was shaking his head about something frustrating. We rejoiced in finally meeting him and said to him how thankful we were to have him as house director! We reminded him that he was a MAJOR answer to prayer! He impacted many lives.
Mark was so easy to get to know. At Christmas time we delivered things to the house and he shared all the improvements. We so enjoyed (he seemed to enjoy it too) giving us a tour of his home of the past year. He said he had hoped some day to have been married and have children... but not in God's plan...hmm..we laughed as it came to us, "Mark ...we think you have a lot of children ( of all ages)".  He often was helping others and so busy taking young men to get whatever when getting settled in the house. Dear Mark's family...please know that he was a special light in my own and others in life. He will be missed greatly.
Posted by Debbie Johnson on January 19, 2021
My first memory of you was as an altar boy at Barry's wedding. As the tears streamed down your face, I just wanted to go to you and give you a hug. Now there's no more tears and no more pain as you are in the loving arms of your Father. You will be forever in our hearts! 
Posted by Steve Wood on January 19, 2021
What a true friend I had in Shak over the last 5 years. Shak was blessing to so many people here in the Spartanburg area! He will be sorely missed by many folks in recovery world. May God Bless your soul always Shak and we’ll AlL see you soon!!
Posted by Earl Beasley on January 19, 2021
RIP brother. You are a shining example of God's mercy and grace. Thank you for your heart for ministry. I pray for peace to those who mourn for you.
Posted by Mark Cate on January 19, 2021
Rest in Peace Shak. Love ya brother!
Posted by Vicente Romero on January 18, 2021
I had the opportunity to meet Mark during one Christmas party at Andy’s and Becky’s house.
During the brief time that we established conversation I was able to perceive him as a very knowledgeable person about the ups and downs of life. My sentiment about him grew even bigger when someone told me about the job he did and his dedication to others. 
Now that I have read in the tributes about his life; I wish I had the opportunity to have met him before his passing. I know deep in my soul I could have learned a good deal. about life just by having a simple conversation with him.
As a true believer I know his soul is resting in heaven.
Vicente and Patricia Romero
Posted by Charles Rutledge on January 18, 2021
This one's tough but also, I know Our God called home an awesome friend! Shak was instrumental in accepting me at Go Forth Recovery in 2018, played a huge part in my now being sober, clean for almost three years...and along the way, become one of the closest friends to me, my daughter and her family..You finally made it home, my're with our awesome God! I'll definitely see you again one day!! Love you, my friend, my Brother!
Posted by Nick Wildrick on January 18, 2021

I consider myself lucky to have know Mark over the last several years. His ability to make the best of of each situation he was in was remarkable. I will miss his laugh and his off brand of humor that was very similar to mine.
We started GoForth Recovery in 2018 and Mark was instrumental in helping get GoForth open and he had a profound effect on those around him. His work and dedication to serving others was an example to all of us. What is most admirable was he never took credit instead he chose to give all the grace and glory to God.

I am going to miss you my friend. I know you are in heaven already figuring out how to help.
Posted by Mark Gilman on January 18, 2021
There are only a few people in my life where I can remember the very first time I saw them and he is certainly one of them. I had just started working at the Rock n Roll store at Barefoot Landing and in walks this little dude checking out the videos we sold in the display case. He worked next door at the General Store. I was like, who is this guy? Little did I know then that he would become one of my best friends for the next 30 years.

Shak was a great guy! Period. He was kind, thoughtful, witty, intelligent, funny, deep, understanding, helpful, loved music and most importantly loved God. I have seen him at his lowest and I have seen him at his highest. He worked hard to succeed at things that were important to him and I was always proud of him and let people know how awesome he was. From going back to school and moving to Michigan and getting a good job to moving back down south to Raleigh and working for IBM. Whenever I had a question about something or wanted to talk about the deeper meaning of a certain subject he was my go to guy. We shared many good conversations. I will certainly miss him. There is so much more I could say.

Over the past year he came down to visit me and my family about every two months. Even spending his 56th birthday with us. He knew he had a safe, warm comfortable place to unwind for a bit. It was always a great time to have him here. I am so thankful that I got to spend that time with my friend. I was even expecting him in the next couple of weeks before he got sick. I spoke to him last a couple of days before he moved on and before we hung up the phone he said "I love you brother" I returned the sentiment not knowing that was the last time I would hear his voice. Who could ask for more?

I`m certainly going to miss my friend, but with sadness come great joy! He had given his life over to Jesus Christ and devoted his time to helping others overcome addiction and helping getting their lives turned around. His life ended on the good foot and I am very proud of him. There is no doubt in my mind that he is in Heaven with Jesus Christ and re united with his mom and dad.

God Bless you my dear friend. Thank you for everything and I will see you again!
Posted by Mary Shak on January 17, 2021

There are so many memories over the last 41 years.  You were one of the altar boys in our wedding. You were so young. There have been so many ups and downs in your life that has made you the loving brother, brother-in-law, uncle, great-uncle and friend to us and countless others.

You have always been my computer consultant. I knew if I ever had a computer question, you would always have the answer. I remember you were living in Michigan at the time and I was interviewing for a new job. I hadn’t worked for several years and needed to know Windows for the job. I came up to MI and in an afternoon you taught me Windows which helped me get the job that I had until I retired a few years ago.

One of my favorite memories in recent years was when we went tubing down a river in Columbia, SC. It was great to watch him experience this freedom!!!

I have loved watching you have a loving relationship with our kids, their spouses, and our grandkids! This really showed how family was very important to you. I am so proud of the man you have become and so proud to call you my brother. You will truly be missed!
Posted by David Shak on January 17, 2021
There are many things in life that you don’t think about or want to do; writing something like this for your younger brother has to rank pretty high on that list.

Mark was the younger brother you never really appreciated for a long time. As we got older, especially after losing Ma and Pa, we became closer and I hope I became a good older brother. 

Mark always seemed to be a wealth of information with his computer knowledge, book knowledge, and bible study. The last few years I would often call him after reading a verse in the Bible and would start the conversation with “Hey Bible guru” and we would proceed to have interesting conversations which would result in deeper understanding. 

Mark’s education was a potpourri of colleges, (University of Pittsburgh, Clemson), community college’s, and countless computer certifications. His work experiences were even more diverse with various computer jobs with both larger and small businesses, working at the “General Store” at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, working at a car wash, teaching motorcycle safety classes, working on fishing boats, actually driving a train engine at a miniature golf course to the ones most recent and which I am truly proud of him for as helping manage/coordinate recovery facilities. All of these led to the Mark we knew.
Posted by Greg Shak on January 17, 2021
Uncle Mark,

I can’t believe you’re gone. I feel there was so much more good work you were meant to do in this life. You’re gone too early, but you leave behind many people who were blessed to witness your resilience, grace, and selfless service.

You were an amazing godfather. I learned so much from you over the years, especially these last few months. You were always there for mentorship and spiritual guidance when I needed it, and those phone calls will be something I will cherish forever.

I was once told “There are some people who are so strong in spirit that there comes a time when that spirit can no longer be contained in one body.” That’s how I’m coping with your loss, knowing that your spirit was so strong that you were called to use it for an even greater purpose beyond what you could accomplish in a lifetime. Now that you’re gone, I know you will be watching over and guiding me and the rest of the family in spirit.

With love,
Posted by Amanda C on January 16, 2021
Uncle Mark,
You are so loved and we will miss you so much. Your dedication to help and serve others has been an amazing example for all of us. We will cherish the many memories from both childhood, as well as how you have shown great love to our children. You will be forever missed!
Amanda, Rick, Lexi, Aubrey and Cole
Posted by Rebecca Romero on January 16, 2021
Uncle Mark,
We are heartbroken that we don't have more time with you, but are grateful for the memories that we will cherish forever. We will always remember the good times, especially your infectious laugh.

Forever in our hearts,
Andy, Becky, and Carson Romero

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Tony Carroll on January 30, 2021
Im grateful for the opportunity to become friends with shak for he always encouraged me to keep moving forward and he helped me get into service and he was a brother in Christ and was faithful to his walk with God and I'm definitely a better person and will see my friend in heaven when that day comes for me. Love you brother.peace
Posted by Joe Brooks on January 27, 2021
I've known Shak for about 16 months and he was truly a blessing to all those around him. He was always there to help others, including me. His faith, direction, teachings and kindness were instrumental in my recovery. He will be greatly missed. Peace brother.
Posted by Dee Osemeno on January 25, 2021
It is truly sad that you are not here to read this but to your family I send my deepest sympathy. The pain of losing a loved one can not be described,I pray that God comforts you during this trying period. Just as God has promised at 1corinthians 15 vs 26, 'the last enemy death will be brought to nothing' and families around the world including Mr. Mark will never have to cry over losing a loved one.
his Life
Mark Paul Shak was born on August 28, 1964 in Monroeville, Pennsylvania to Steve and Betty (Blozik) Shak who preceded him in death.

Mark was a graduate of Gateway High School in Monroeville.  He also attended University of Pittsburgh, Boyce Community College in Monroeville, and Clemson University in South Carolina.  He also obtained numerous computer certifications.

Mark was an avid reader and very involved in AA and the recovery process.  He admittedly had an alcohol and drug problem that he overcame and was living 8 years in recovery.  His faith became first and foremost in his life.

Mark is survived by 2 brothers, Barry Shak (Michigan) and David (Mary) Shak (Lima, Ohio); Nieces and nephews:  Jennifer Lindahl (Michigan), Nicholas Shak (Michigan), Steven Shak (Military), Amanda (Rick) Craven, Becky (Andy) Romero, and Greg (Rena) Shak (all from Columbus, Ohio).  Great-nieces and Great-nephews: Elizabeth, Lexi, Aubrey, Carson, Cole and Savva.

Mark lived and worked in South Carolina, Michigan, North Carolina then settling back in South Carolina.

Memorial contributions may be made to Christ Central Ministries with a link on the main page.
Recent stories

Shak Attack

Shared by Pat Elliott on January 25, 2021
Ashley brought Mark by my office when he first arrived to help run CCM. I immediately felt like I knew him for years. He was such a great guy to be around and boy could we really cut up. We appreciated each others jaded humor and loved helping men together. He came here, jumped right in and began attacking the enemy that had a hold on the guys at CCM. I am still in a state of denial that he has left us. He was such a great anchor at CCM and he will be missed more than words can describe. Love you man
Shared by David Shak on January 18, 2021

Seeing posts that talk about Mark’s sense of humor take me back to a summer evening while we were visiting my parents in North Myrtle Beach.  Mark was still living with them and had come home from work.  Mark, my wife and I were were sitting on the upper deck watching a meteor shower and listening to the radio where the DJ was reminding listeners not to miss the meteor “show”.  Mark casually got up and went inside returning in a few minutes.  After Mark sat back down, the radio DJ came back on and says he just got a call from a crazy listener trying to win tickets to the “show”.  Needless to say we knew who that caller was and laugh about it anytime they talk about an upcoming meteor shower.  

I’m going to miss his humor.
Shared by Amanda C on January 17, 2021
From my childhood, I have so many memories visiting you in Myrtle Beach for summer vacations or at Christmas time. We loved visiting you at work, especially when you worked at the General Store at Barefoot Landing. Then to fast forward to a recent Christmas when you were able to visit us and celebrate with our kiddos!  They loved when you ate Christmas dinner with them at the “kids table” :)

Family is so important to you and we are so thankful for the times we could share together. My kiddos absolutely adored you and you were such a special person in their lives. They especially loved making you artwork and cards.  

Your strong faith is such a great example for all of us. You will be forever missed!