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Obituary for Mark Donald Terpstra

Mark Donald Terpstra of La Crosse died March 15, 2019, from complications relating to pneumonia. Mark was born on August 5, 1964, to Gordon and Sandra (Burand Harris) Terpstra. Mark was married to Jennifer Williams and together they found endless joy in their son, Nathanael. A graduate of Onalaska High School, Mark continued his education at Western Technical College, and worked in various industries before his 22-year career as an engineer with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Being on the road made for a rigorous work life, but he still found time for friends and family, and Mark also made significant contributions to the community. Among the most impactful were his countless visits to schools and nursing homes, playing banjo during Oktoberfest. Following fourteen years as a Grenadier with Oktoberfest, Mark was honored to be named 2015 Torchlight Parade Marshal. Mark was involved in numerous organizations, including the La Crosse Board of Park Commissioners, the Preservation Alliance of La Crosse, the La Crosse Burlington Credit Union, St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral Parish, Coulee Classics Car Club, and leadership positions in both the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and United Transportation Union. Above all, Mark cared deeply for people, and he was known for his ability to troubleshoot and fix just about anything, happy to be called upon to help build a deck, pilot a boat on the river, or throw a great party. He will be remembered for his boundless generosity and for his passion for life, cooking and entertaining. He was preceded in death by his mother, Sandra Harris; and sister-in-law, Melissa Terpstra. Mark is survived by his wife and son; father, Gordon (Carol), brother, Jon (Jan); nephew, Dalton; and step-father, Clarence “Clary” Harris; and aunts and uncles, Rae (Arlen) Daffinson, Rusty (Ed Faas), and Anthony (Kim) Burand and their sons, Tony and Jonas. The family extends heartfelt thanks to the multitude of caring friends who lovingly comforted them in their grief. A funeral service with Holy Eucharist will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 23 at Christ Episcopal Church, 111 N. 9th Street, in La Crosse, with the Rev. Canon Patrick Augustine and the Rev. Kathleen Charles officiating. A reception will follow at the church. Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Burial will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Catholic Charities or to Christ Episcopal Church. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home is assisting the family. Online condolences may be sent at