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Mark Daniel Johnson

Obituary for Mark Daniel Johnson

June 16, 1967 - January 20, 2015
Austin, Texas | Age 47



Mark was received by our Father on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, peacefully at his residence in Austin.

Mark was born June 16, 1967 in Seattle, Washington to Sue and Dan Johnson. Mark is survived by his wife Jocelyn Duncan Johnson; daughter Sophie Mason Johnson; and step-daughter Mary Elizabeth Potts. Mark also leaves his much loved brother Brent William Johnson; his sister in-law Katy Johnson; his nieces Emmaline and Madeline Johnson; and his parents Sue and Dan Johnson of Austin. Much loved by Mark were his in-laws Betty and Robb Southerland; sister and brother-in-law Anne and Charlie Henderson; brother-in-law Will Duncan; his sister-in-law Ashley Southerland; and nephews Will Schneiderjan and Charlie Henderson Jr.

Mark Johnson had an unmatched courage and enthusiasm for life. Whatever he attempted, you knew he was "all-in." He reached for perfection in work, with his family and his friends, with his love of the Texas Longhorns, and in his passion for the outdoors. Mark never sat still. He visited every state in the country and almost every continent. Traveling with Mark, he was the last guy to bed and the first guy awake. It was impossible to have a bad time or be in a bad mood with Mark Johnson. Mark pursued his passions and loved the opportunity to share them with his family and friends.

Mark fought cancer for over a year and, during that time, and often in great pain, it remained important to him that he visit with all of his beloved co-workers, family, and friends from across the country. This time enabled Mark to reconnect, celebrate, and talk about the journey that he and Jocelyn were on and the future. It was a joy for Mark to see family coming from so far (Pacific Northwest, throughout California, and Tennessee) to be with him and his family.

During Mark's life and throughout Mark's battle with cancer, he never complained. No one made a deeper commitment to or investment in relationships than Mark. If you asked him how he was doing, he would ask you how you were doing. He was a perfect listener and he wrote the best letters. Mark greeted everyone with a smile and a loving embrace. He always ensured that everyone else was taken care of, including his hospice caregivers. That's just how he lived.

Mark began his life in Seattle where he was introduced to the Pacific-Northwest through his grandfathers' camping, saltwater and fresh water fishing, and hiking. The family relocated to Chicago, followed by a move to Burbank, California where he was a student with his brother at Walt Disney Elementary. The family moved to Waco, Texas where Mark began the third grade and graduated from Richfield High School in 1985.

He began his college education at Biola University and graduated with a BA in History/English from The University of Texas at Austin ('90). He remained a passionate Longhorn fan, alongside a large number of fraternity brothers from Phi Gamma Delta, up to the last game this football season. He continued his education in Boston where he received his MBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Babson College ('98).

Mark was an entrepreneur at heart. He was always interested in developing new ideas, creating new opportunities, making new products, building companies, and helping others do the same. Mark worked in various companies and roles, but his true passion was centered around education technology. While earning his MBA from Babson College, he co-founded a venture, Highwired, with several classmates, which developed an online social network for high schools to publish and share information. Highwired was a pioneer in the social media space and it was a labor of love for Mark where he developed and made lifelong friendships.

After moving to Austin, Mark became COO of ESP Solutions Group continuing his leadership role in the education technology space. While still serving as COO at ESP, he founded a subsidiary called the National Transcript Center, which was acquired by Pearson in 2009 and Mark's team transitioned to the Pearson family. Mark served in several roles at Pearson, including VP and General Manager. In 2012, Mark led a new venture at Pearson creating a digital badge and credentialing management. It was in this position that Mark regrettably had to take a leave of absence to focus on his health.

Mark was an extremely devoted husband and father. He and Jocelyn had a special love for one another; they always showed each other a kind of respect and compassion that all of us should strive for in our relationships. Sophie "Trophy" was the apple of his eye, and it was apparent to all that Mark had no boundaries in his love for Mary Elizabeth as well. In response to requests from friends about how they could help Mark, he had the same response. He asked that his friends look after his girls, teach them what kind of man he was, and, please, take them hunting and fishing. Mark couldn't be around his daughters enough, whether it was fishing with Sophie in the Florida Keys, or, despite struggling with his health, recently taking the girls to Boston to show them where Sophie was born and where his career began.

Mark's heart for service was focused on The Helping Hand Home for Children in Austin, Texas. He went consistently every week to mentor a child even during this last year's struggle with cancer. The child who never smiled developed such a trust and bond with Mark that he bounded to see him with a smile on his face every single time.

Mark worked to insure that God was in the center of his decisions, dreams, and plans. He made a decision early in life to always seek the right, honorable, and lasting solutions, ones that would succeed both on earth and in Heaven. Times like these can cause one to question his faith, but Mark did not question his faith and it certainly did not waver. We should follow Mark's example and honor him every day with enthusiasm for life, by loving our families and friends, and treating everyone, as Mark did, with compassion and dignity.

A memorial service to celebrate Mark's life will take place at 3pm on Sunday, January 25th at Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway, Austin, Texas 78751.

In lieu of flowers, the family has designated Hospice Austin and the Helping Hand Home for Children for memorial contributions.

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  • In lieu of flowers, the family has designated Hospice Austin and the Helping Hand Home for Children for memorial contributions.

Arrangements By

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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