obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Mark Joseph
Mankowski

  • Visitation
    • Friday, July 29th, from 9-11am at St. Veronica Catholic Church (353 E Norwich St, Milwaukee)
  • Mass of Christian Burial
    • Friday, July 29th, starting at 11am at St. Veronica Catholic Church (353 E Norwich St, Milwaukee)

 

Mark Joseph Mankowski, age 68, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin passed away the evening of July 23, 2022 surrounded by his children. Mark was born May 30, 1954 and raised in South Milwaukee. He graduated from St. Francis DeSales Seminary High School in 1972, and went on to attend Marquette University, where he would meet the first love of his life, Barbara, with whom he would share 21 wonderful years and 4 beautiful children, before she passed from cancer in 1999. Mark was an avid lover of languages and travel, and he shared his passions through his work as an English as a Second Language teacher at Milwaukee Area Technical College for over 30 years. It was through this work that he was able to meet the second love of his life, Marta, who traveled all the way from Brazil to happily spend the last 21 years of his life with him.

Mark will be remembered for his enterprising and adventure-filled life. From living in Paris as a young college student, to enduring the political climate of 1980s Poland to hone his English teaching skills, and taking countless trips across oceans to make new connections and show his children the world, his love of sharing global culture has made a lasting impression on those who knew him best.

This love for travel extended to all modes of transportation, as he was notorious for swapping cars out seasonally. Great family memories were made during road trips in the Volkswagen Eurovan, until he traded it in for a much more sensible car for a family of 6, a turbo Beetle, in which even more memories were made zipping along highways. But he really lived out his need for speed in his beloved Mini Coopers that he traveled cross-country in during his retirement, a feat which he proudly discussed with all who were lucky to know him.

For those who called him Teacher Mark, he was the wise-cracking, friendly face in the classroom there to breakdown all the contradictory elements of the English language for them. The respect he earned from his students was made clear by the numerous gifts and visits he would regularly receive. He was tremendously proud of his career at MATC.

During his life, Mark was blessed with the gift of love from two amazing women. With Barbara, he learned how to be a caring husband and father, and how to face adversity with strength. Meeting Marta helped him recover from a broken heart, and they shared a unique relationship that brought joy back to the whole family.

And to his children, he was the man who showed them how to live a good life – how to seek truth, show compassion, raise a family, and to never be afraid to take risks on big dreams.

Mark is preceded in death by his father, Leo, mother, Evelyn (née Sucharski), and first wife Barbara (née Kvasnica). He is survived by his wife, Marta Braga Torres, children Michael, Andrew (Ashley), Matthew (Emily), and Annelise, grandchildren Evelyn, Rudy, Theodore, Bobbi, and Forrest, brother-in-law Gary Kvasnica (Kay Wegner), and many other relatives and friends.

A visitation will be held Friday, July 29th, from 9-11am at St. Veronica Catholic Church (353 E Norwich St, Milwaukee) with a Mass of Christian Burial to take place at 11am.

7 Comments

  1. Mrs. V. Bond July 26, 2022 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    To the Mankowski children, your father was a very good man and I am so sorry for your loss. You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.

  2. Mary Pirozzoli July 26, 2022 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    Dear sweet Marta,Michael,Andy,Mathew,Anneliese and wonderful grandkids,
    Our hearts broke upon hearing this sad news. We will always remember not only the fantastic travel stories but Mark’s sweet smile and laugh and his affectionate teasing of your Mom❤️
    So much love and virtual hugs sent to all of you. Mary (Gantenbein)Pirozzoli cousin and sister of another mother to Barb

  3. Rita Simons Santiago July 27, 2022 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Mark made a huge difference in my career and in my life. He believed I had abilities that I could not see until he opened my eyes to them. I will forever be grateful for that and, of course, for his friendship.
    Best wishes to Mark as he travels through the stars on yet another journey. I know we’ll meet again.

  4. Wendi K Halstead July 27, 2022 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    I taught with Mark for 30 years and I know what a close family you all were. My condolences to all.

  5. Denise Gallope July 28, 2022 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Sending hugs and my heartfelt condolences to Marta and all of Mark’s family. Such sad news to have heard about Mark’s passing.

    I knew Mark through work at MATC. When I worked with him in the downtown ESL workshop, it was evident to me that he was a very popular ESL instructor. He’d roll back and forth on his chair, monitoring and attending to each of the Level 6 students on their computers and while doing so, he always seemed to truly enjoy working with them, and at times, personally advising many of them as to how to continue their education at MATC after becoming proficient in English. That was my memory of Mark as an instructor. But I have several other memories of Mark that you should know about, as well.

    Shortly after I became a widow in 2009, I told Mark that I’d be starting a small tutoring business. And, he was not only very supportive of the idea but also regularly sent me a steady supply of private students from his advanced classes on Saturdays.. Thanks to Mark, I always had plenty of students on through the years. In fact, some of those students remain lifelong contacts to this day. And for that I am grateful.
    Mark and I often shared discussions about music, too. I recall several discussions with him about rock music and even international music.. He had a wide range of musical tastes. I recall that Mark was familiar with recordings on David Byrnes’ Luaka Bop label and loved Amy Winehouse. Once he shared one of Amy’s recordings with me. But, that was not al Mark shared with me. He shared something else which I think is very insightful. I learned that Mark’s spiritual side, many may not be aware of. There was a true spiritual side to Mark that I believe was foundational to his life’s work helping Milwaukee’s immigrant and refugee population acquire English, adapt, succeed and thrive. In 2010, Mark gave me a book which he felt was very special and meaningful to him, a book he thought would be very meaningful to me, too. It was “Learning to Pray” by James Martin, SJ. It was a good read. I never knew about the author James Martin, SJ, until I read this book. Thank you, Mark.

    In closing,

    May memories of Mark be a blessing.

  6. Sharon krull July 29, 2022 at 10:04 am - Reply

    My condolences to the family. Mark and the family were our neighbors when the children were young. He was a great conversationalist with a wonderful sense of humor. I will cherish our occasional meetings and wonderful conversations.

  7. Ismar de Oliveira Soares July 31, 2022 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Marta,

    Desde o Brasil, nos unimos a você para celebrar a memória do Mark, confirmando todas as manifestações de carinho que seus amigos deixaram escritas nesta sequência de mensagens. Maria Silvia e eu mesmo somos testemunhas da grandeza de espírito do Mark e de sua capacidade de empatia com seus alunos, que rapidamente transformava em amigos.. Somos muito gratos por nós haver ensinado inglês e pelas oportunidades que deu para pudéssemos colaborar com ele falando das coisas do Brasil. Estamos orando por ele. Rezamos também por você e pelos filhos, nesse momento de dor pela perda de um companheiro tão amoroso.

    Mari Silvia e Ismar

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