Ninety-eight-year-old local pharmacist, orchardist and community advocate Mark Call went to his reward on Dec. 13, 2015. Born March 19, 1917, in Rugby, N.D., son of Dr. A.M. Call and piano teacher Evanna Camilla (Egeland) Call, he developed a lifelong love of medicine and music, both of which personified his character and mission in life. His other passions were family, sports, goose hunting and his Norwegian heritage, especially his lutefisk dinners.
He played basketball and football for Rugby High School and football for Luther College, where he graduated with a degree in chemistry. Interrupted by World War II, he spent three years in North Africa and Italy as a medic and surgical technician for the 41st Hospital Train.
Always proud of his service to our country, he wrote a memoir of his experiences. In his own words, he says, “I decided to record a few events of this epic time in the history of the world; a time in history when so many sacrifices were made by so many people, a time when tyranny threatened the existence of honorable and decent people; this era should never be forgotten. The small part that I played in these events of history will always be with me and I would like to share them with my family so they may realize the struggle to keep freedom for future generations occurred with such a cost of lives and suffering throughout the world.”
Upon returning from the war, he married his hometown sweetheart, Lucille Thingvold, and together they raised four children. Mark continued his education at North Dakota State University, where he obtained his degree in pharmacy. Within a year of his graduation, he had a job in Washington state and moved his young family to Pasco. In 1952, when he heard of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project, he felt Quincy was the place to be, and by 1954 he had opened his own pharmacy (Call’s Drug), which he, along with his wife, operated for the next 30 years.
Mark was one of the founding fathers of the Quincy Hospital in the late 1950s, serving as chairman of the hospital board, and continued by volunteering as hospital pharmacist for 25 years. He was also a member of the Quincy Valley Medical Center Hospital Foundation Board for many years. He served as an officer on the Washington State Pharmacy Association. Mark was a charter member of the Quincy Rotary Club and was recognized with the Paul Harris Fellow Award. In the early 1960s, he was an original partner of Hedgerow Orchards, one of the first high-density apple plantings in the state, where he continued to work during harvest until the hills got too steep (in his early 90s).
He had a strong faith and was a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Mark was an avid hunter and was known as Papa Goose by all his loving grandkids. One of his prescriptions for happiness was playing the piano, which he enjoyed throughout his life. A lover of music, he and Lucy were often the last off the dance floor. He was a dedicated Quincy Jackrabbit, WSU Cougar and North Dakota State University Bison supporter and fan. His remarkable inner happiness radiated to all who met him.
He was such a loving father; Dad’s spirit lives on in all of us: children Karen Metzger, Sonja (Phil) Akerman, Mark Call and Gretchen (Greg) Fitzgerald; grandchildren Courtney (Anna) Conklin, Jacob Steele, Miranda Akerman and Megan Steele; great-grandchildren Chelsea (Chris) Miller, Elizabeth Conklin, Tish Conklin, and Harlen, Farrah and Aspen Steele; and great-great-grandson Blake Miller.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Lucille; his parents; his sister, Bernadine Vinz; and his son-in-law, Jim Metzger.
A celebration of Mark’s life will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Quincy.
If desired, memorials may be made to the Quincy Valley Medical Center Hospital Foundation.
Please leave a memory for the family or sign the online guestbook at www.scharbachs.com. Scharbach’s Columbia Funeral Chapel in Quincy is assisting the family with arrangements.