Mark was born in 1953 in Arkansaw, Wisconsin to Edwin and Catherine Heller. He was the third of five children. He grew up in Wisconsin, but his outdoor dreams came true when the family decided to relocate to Hamilton Montana in 1967. He graduated from Hamilton High School in 1971. Shortly after, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. He was promoted quickly as a Search and Rescue Ship Swimmer. He welcomed his first child Brandon Mark in 1973.
After his honorary discharge, Mark worked in the oil fields of eastern Montana before settling in western Montana. He attended and worked at UM where he met the love of his life, Amy True. They married in 1985 and together fulfilled their dream of owning property in the Bitterroot where they could raise their children on homegrown food such as beef, chicken, eggs, fruit and vegetables. They settled in the Burnt Fork and were blessed with two beautiful red-headed girls, Sara Jeanne and Rebecca Marie. Mark became ill and could not work, so they made the decision that he would stay home and raise the girls.
In 1995 they moved to the family ranch and began raising cattle as well as pigs, chickens and ducks. Mark taught the girls many life skills and never questioned his purpose in life. Mark enjoyed the ocean, the mountains, gardening, wood-working, camping, hiking, hunting and fishing but the two things he loved the most in life were God and his family. He had a strong faith in the Lord and always felt that everything was in God’s hands. Mark loved to fix things and saved everything just in case he could use it for something later. He loved to cook and always had supper waiting when Amy got home from work. He made the best chicken noodle soup and taco shells and even though he tried to show others the secrets to their goodness, the food was never the same as when he made it.
Mark is preceded in death by his mother Catherine (Manor) Heller, his father-in-law Harlan True, his brother Steve Heller, his two sisters Nancy (Heller) Clack and Debbie Heller, and a nephew Ryan Heller.
He is survived by his loving wife Amy (True) Heller, his father Ed Heller of Hamilton, his brother Mike (Mary Rose) Heller of East Helena, his son Brandon (Stefanie) Petersen of Austin, TX, his daughters Sara (Kyle) Krueger of Missoula, and Rebecca Heller of Stevensville. He was blessed with three grandchildren, Isabelle and Natalie Petersen, and Brody Krueger. Mark also had a loving extended family. He is survived by his mother-in-law Jeanne True of St. Johnsbury, VT, brother-in-law Tim True of Olympia, WA, and sister-in-law Vicki True Hill (Peter) of Wakefield, MA. He loved his six nieces and nephews and his five great nieces and nephews like they were his own children and grandchildren.
Services were held Saturday, December 7th at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with full military honors. A reception followed at the St. Mary’s Family Center.
The family requests in lieu of flowers that a donation be made to Locks of Love at 234 Southern Blvd, West Palm Beach FL 33405. A blood donation to the American Red Cross is also greatly appreciated.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.