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Mark Robin

November 30, 1961 ~ December 18, 2017

Service: December 21, 2017 11:00 A.M.
   Location: Big Sky Chapel
Graveside Service: December 21, 2017 Following the Service
   Location: Sunset Hills Cemetery

Mark Robin arrived in Big Sky, Montana in 1993 with his wife, Jackie, their dog, Niner, a cat and baby, Andrew. He was a poet and a Mets fan; a man who would spend the next nearly three decades raising his family, building a business which became an anchor of community in the growing ski town, and pursuing his many and varied passions.

During these years he would learn to ski, fly fish, skate ski, mountain bike, perfect his handstand in yoga, curate the best wine selection in Big Sky and become known as a true and honest friend who had absolutely no ability to be disingenuous.

He loved what he did; he grew up as the son of two retailers in a mom and pop luncheonette and candy store.  His own store, the Hungry Moose Market and Deli started as a roadside vegetable stand in 1994 and moved into a storefront later that fall as the area’s first natural foods grocery. Over the years, the store moved to its current location in the Town Center and later expanded with a second store at the base of the Big Sky Resort ski area.

The Hungry Moose soon became a gathering place; a community center for a new and growing town. Mark knew his customers’ names and stories and loved the many returning clientele who came in and out with the seasons. The Hungry Moose sponsored nearly every local cause and Mark took pride in his deep connections to the growing community.

Mark was devoted to his parents. He lost his beloved mother, Pearl, to cancer in 1999. Later, when his father needed more care, he brought him out to Montana and cared for him until his death from Parkinson’s in 2016, shortly before Mark was diagnosed with ALS.

Mark handled his illness with the same grace, kindness, generosity, and sense of humor with which he had lived his life. He brought people together. He attended football games, graduations, weddings and community events even when he had lost the ability to walk, move, and talk and at each you could see that the community he had created followed him, always delighted by his beautiful and warm smile.  He was compelled to write and re-started his blog, markymooseinbigsky@blogspot.com, shortly after his diagnosis as a way of telling the very honest story of his struggle with ALS. In the spring of 2017 the family hosted a community wide event called Soul Shine, raising over $20,000 for causes supporting living a full life with ALS as well as the efforts of those working on a cure. Just two weeks ago, he marked his 56th birthday with a community concert raising funds for a Lone Peak High School service trip to Nepal.

Mark Robin was born November 30, 1961, in Forest Hills, New York to Stanley and Pearl Robin. He was the third of four boys— Louis, Harold and Benjamin—and grew up in Hewlett, New York where he graduated from Hewlett High School in 1979. He earned his BA at Columbia University in 1983 with a major in economics and a minor in creative writing. William Carlos Williams was his favorite poet because, like Mark, he was the kind of poet who was all about observing the ordinary. Mark’s poems also chronicled every day life in all its unvarnished and simple beauty and detail; Mark didn’t like flowery or overly poetic language.

He met his life partner, Jackie Roberts, in New York City in 1986, the year the Mets won the World Series. Their first date lasted three days; they married in 1990 at his family’s home in upstate New York. Before moving to Big Sky, they spent five years living in Venice Beach, California where Mark worked at Beyond Baroque, a literary arts center in Venice. He resurrected and made profitable the small bookstore, helped facilitate a weekly poetry workshop, and helped run the Friday night reading series. He participated in many poetry readings and had a series of haiku published in the L.A. Weekly. A recent highlight for Mark was reading one of his poems on the stage at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center before the Billy Collins reading a couple of years ago.

Mark was fortunate to be attended in his illness by his incredibly devoted, organized and tireless wife, Jackie, who made sure his life was full even as his disease took everything but his brilliant mind. He was also surrounded by a devoted group of women and friends including Candice Brownmiller, Tracy Jacobson, Curly Shea, and so many others.

His sons, Andrew, Micah and Howie were by his side throughout his illness, coming home from college and jobs to care for him. Their home was also filled with a succession of family and friends who came from all over the country and the world to spend time with Mark.

Mark is survived by his wife, Jackie; three sons, Andrew, Micah, and Howie; his three brothers and their wives, Louis and Ruth, Harold and Cyndy, and Benjamin and Stacy; his brothers and sisters-in-law, Jennifer and Clark, Alex and Julie, and Andy and Liz; and his devoted mother-in-law, Peggy Roberts, and father-in-law, Jack Roberts and his wife, Carol; as well as numerous beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and countless friends.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, December 21 at The Big Sky Chapel followed by interment at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman. A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, December 22 from 2:00 to 5:00 P.M. at The Rainbow Ranch in Big Sky.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to be made in Mark’s name to any non-profit organization in Big Sky, Team Gleason, or Congregation Beth Shalom of Bozeman.

 

 

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"Words cannot express our thanks and appreciation for all you did for the service and for the family.  No matter how busy you all were during that time, you always made us feel like we were #1 on the list!  All of the special touches you helped us with made the service and our struggles much easier to deal with.  Again, our heartfelt thanks."

 
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