Mark A. Roeder, 69, passed away at home in San Marcos, California, on May 1, 2019 after a two and a half year battle with nodular melanoma. He is predeceased by his parents, Jesse and Gert, and his older brother, Jim. He is survived by his wife Kathryn, brother Ray, sister-in-law Lani, nephews Marvin and Ben, and many cousins and friends.
Mark grew up in Chula Vista, California, at a time when there was still a lot of open space, farmland, and places kids could play and explore. It was there that he developed his love of the natural world and became interested in fossils. He attended school in Chula Vista until his senior year in high school when the family moved to Descanso, and he graduated from Mountain Empire High School.
Mark began his college education in San Diego and experienced many side jobs and detours along the way., including Los Angeles, where he worked and volunteered at the Page Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. He fondly remembered his stint as a tour guide at the Tar Pits and working in Mexico with the renowned John Fitch, collecting fish for comparative collections. Returning to San Diego, Mark proudly graduated from San Diego State University. During this time he began to work with various cultural resource companies on local paleontological, archaeological and historic projects in addition to growing his knowledge in all of those areas. He moved to Orange County in 1978 where he lived and worked for the next 35+ years.
Mark’s first job in Orange County was with SRS, Inc., and he eventually became a partner in PEAI, Paleo Environmental Associates, Inc. Afterward he continued his career as an independent contractor and employee of various cultural resource companies throughout southern California. Some of his favorite and most memorable jobs were the excavation of an historic tavern in Encino, salvaging fossils during grading for the Eastern Transportation Corridor, the Moorpark Mammoth, working with John Cooper as he established the Cooper Center in Orange County, working with the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the location and collection of walruses, whales and many new or rare fossils. Along the way several fossils have even been named after him. His work was his passion, and Mark shared that passion by developing and offering after-school and weekend educational programs for children with Amuseum.
Mark also shared and expanded his knowledge as a volunteer with so many organizations in Orange, san Bernardino and San Diego counties. Some of them are Pacific Coast Archaeological Society, OC Natural History Foundation, Ralph Clark Interpretive Center, The Desert Symposium , the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the Presidio, among others.
Mark was a big man, with a kind and generous heart. He mentored many young men and women who are now making their careers as paleontologists, archaeologists and researchers. He loved to learn from and share his vast knowledge with any and all who would listen, earning many dear and life-long friends on his all too short journey.
Donations in his memory may be made to San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontology Department or San Diego State University Campanile Foundation (designated to Geological Sciences Fund).
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