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Mark Zera Jones II

August 2, 1930 ~ July 2, 2020 (age 89)

Obituary

Of Deephaven, MN passed away July 2nd, 2020 at home surrounded by his loving family.  Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 2nd, 1930, he was just one month shy of his 90th birthday. Preceded in death by his parents, Mark and Grace Jones; his sister, Doris Shadinger, and his brother-in-law, Ross Shadinger.  He is survived by his beloved and dedicated wife of 67 years, Judie;  his three daughters, Dana (Greg), Karla (Jerry), Mari (Dennis); seven grandchildren, Tara Harvey (Jordan), Kristen Atwater (Ty), Lisa Kellenberger (Cole), Jacqueline Parr (Grant), Jordan Watts (Daniel), Emiley Greene (Brian), and Nick Greene; five great grandchildren, Trey and Belen Harvey, Calvin and Otto Atwater and Brooks Parr.

  Mark met Judith Scott in his Junior year at Southwest High School. He was the “new kid in town”, arriving from Cocoa Beach, Florida with his family where his Father was stationed in the Navy. Mark followed in his Father’s footsteps serving in the Navy during the Korean war.  Mark graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Business. It is at The U of M that the couple fell in love and became a permanent couple.

   Mark had a generous heart and a wide welcoming smile.  He possessed a gift for mentoring people. He seemed to intuit the best way to help people and did so in just the right way. He had a strong moral compass for ‘doing the right thing” and he taught this skill to his entire family.  He made business deals with a simple handshake and held to these promises.  He had what seemed like fifty blue shirts, fifty blue sweaters, and fifty blue sweatshirts in his wardrobe.  He looked good in blue.  It made the blue in his eyes shine and twinkle even more brightly. He had a great sense of humor and was always ready to laugh and enjoy life.

   Mark and Judie married in 1953 at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Edina, MN. After serving in the Navy in Virginia, the couple went on to settle in the first home he built in Columbia Heights, MN. Mark always wanted to be a Builder/Contractor and he went on to build many commercial and residential buildings in his lifetime.

  In 1974, Dick Reid told the couple about a wonderful Victorian style home that was for sale on Lake Minnetonka. Resurrecting “Chimo”  became the families  new passion.  The family rebuilt the 1890s home back to its original glory and have enjoyed hosting community events in the home that revolved around the history of the area or served the community; Young Life Meetings, the Historical Society of Excelsior, Minnetonka Yacht Club Fund Raisers, numerous weddings, and more. The house named, “Chimo”, which translates loosely to “you are welcome here” in the Ojibwa language, fit Mark’s personality perfectly.

  Mark began his career forty plus years ago as a single family home builder. Real Estate development was Mark’s passion and he absolutely loved his career. In the early 60’s he diversified and began general contracting apartment buildings. He has built more than 4000 units throughout the Twin Cities.

Mark’s portfolio also includes ownership of commercial properties, and a professional management company known as Highland Management Group Inc. He is remembered fondly by many people who worked for him and with him for over 30 years which is unheard of in today’s business climate. He was “approachable and unassuming”, “intuitive and complex” and “genuine and honest”.  One of the original founders of Multi Housing Association in the late 60’s Mark held many of the offices with MHA throughout his career including Chairman of the Board. Mark was active with the Home Builders Association and he served on many boards.  He was on the board of Methodist Hospital at the critical time when Park Nicollet Medical merged with Methodist Hospital. as well as many banks throughout his life.  

  Mark was a family man and spent many weekends with Judie and  his three daughters, son in laws and grandchildren at Gull Lake. He loved the outdoors; water skiing , downhill skiing, playing tennis, sailing, biking and gardening. 

  A strong memory for Judie is that the two of them had so much fun together. They were fortunate to travel the world together with friends or family.   They loved to entertain and they hosted numerous creative parties throughout the years.  Mark had a strong Christian faith and was a driving force in the building of the St. David’s Food shelf, now called ICA, that continues to thrive today.

The family would like to thank Mark’s wonderful caregivers who took such good care of him in his last years; Betty, Sandy K., Becca, Tara, Sandy T, Laurie, Bev, Joanna , John and Jim.

Due to COVID19, a small, private funeral will be held in his honor immediately.  A larger celebration will take place in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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