by Ryan Dean
Mark And I were good friends that trained together for over 30 years. I had the honor of presenting him his Rokudan (6th Degree Blackbelt) in 2018. He deeply loved Uechi Ryu and when Master Gorman moved to Connecticut Master Mark felt it was important to keep Traditional Okinawan Karate in Oldsmar alive for Master Gorman’s students. He was a member of Jiteki Jyuku and will be missed greatly by all that knew him.
Mark was 6’ 4” and a solid 240. His karate was bold and strong and the only thing that could match it was his huge heart of gold. Mark was a very accomplished software developer and was a computer guru since he was a young boy. Mark had a loving wife Beth Smith and they were inseparable. He had 2 giant Alaskan Malamute puppies that he was crazy about.
Hearing the tragic news of Mark’s passing and then teaching 5 classes was a real struggle for me. I constantly had memories of training with him. I asked our kids to perform their very best Sanchin so that he could watch it from heaven. Anyone that had ever done kata next to him knows of the great power he possessed. I will miss training with him. I will miss having him as a friend I could always count on. All of Jiteki Jyuku will miss him greatly.