John Mark DeCook was a loving family man whose focus in life was to pass on his faith and caregiving spirit to his family. He learned “Jesus Loves Me” early on from his parents, John O and Aletta Rus DeCook and it remained in his memory until the end of his earthly journey. Raised on a farm in Mahaska County, the beautiful land of Iowa captured his heart as a child, and he would experience some of life’s sweetest moments enjoying creation. He loved it even more when he was out on the farm with his wife, kids and grandkids.
Mark was born February 19, 1941 and passed away on August 13, 2021. While those dates hold special significance to his family, many good things of life happened in between. During his school days, he attended Pleasant View Country School until eighth grade, then Pella Middle School and High School. After serving six months in the National Guard, he attended Central College and graduated in 1964 with his B.A. degree in economics.
While in college, his childhood sweetheart, Kay Kuyper, became his bride on August 30, 1961. Mark and Kay were a partnership made in heaven. Mark loved his wife and esteemed her greatly, often commenting how much he relied on her. Together, Mark and Kay instilled values of hard work, prayer, service and family to their three children: Lisa, Mike and Dan and later on to their families.
If you knew Mark, you’ve experienced his diplomacy, his focus on others and his welcoming spirit. These traits helped him excel in sales; his first job being in Ohio with American Seating from 1964 – 1968. He returned to Pella to work for Rolscreen Company (Pella Corporation) as Regional Sales Manager and became the Eastern Divisional Sales Manager. In 1983, he started his own business with his lifelong friend and business partner, Bruce Heerema, called Heritage Imports (Heritage Lace), serving as its President until his retirement in 2006. Mark was an excellent businessman and used these talents by forming BruMark Properties and DeCook Farms, a ranch he worked on with his family.
Mark had a heart for the community and supported it generously. Serving was a core value of Mark’s and he did so through various boards and community organizations throughout his lifetime: Marion County Bank Board, Vermeer Corporation Board of Directors, Pella Park Commission, Central College Board of Trustees (receiving emeritus status), Second Reformed Church Consistory, Central Club, Pella Opera House Board, Pella Golf and Country Club Board, Pella Chamber of Commerce, Iowa Barnstormers, and was a member of Third Church in Pella. Mark received many honors throughout his life, including one he shared with his wife: the Mr. and Mrs. Alumni Award from Central College.
Mark enjoyed his life. He traveled, played various sports and received the MVP award for football at Central College, spent time in Arizona with family and friends, read books to his grandkids, shared his love of farming with his family, drank coffee with friends, gave abundant wise council to his kids, adored his wife and he loved his Lord.
Those left to treasure his memory are his wife Kay, and their children and families:
Lisa Kay and Sam Van Maanen, Pella
Sarah and Jay Morales
Aidan and baby on the way
Aaron and Jamie Van Maanen
Ryan Van Maanen
Michael John DeCook, Lovilia
Daniel Mark and Angela DeCook, Pella
Mark is also survived by his sister Dorothy ‘Dot’ DeVries, sisters-in-law: Ruth DeCook, Peggy Pierson, Bonnie (Doran) Simmons, many nieces and nephews, and a lifetime of friends.
Mark was preceded in death by his parents, his parents-in-law Bob and Esther Kuyper, his brother Arvin DeCook, his brothers-in-law: Maynard DeVries and Arvid ‘Shorty’ Pierson, and several of his close friends.
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Pella Community Foundation
Pella IA 50219
Central College - Forever Dutch