Mark Jamieson

July 16, 1953 – May 2, 2022

Descending the steep basement stairs, I use the handrail, the last thing Mark installed for us, four or five years ago. That may have been the last time we saw him. Recently, Baba people asked, “have you heard from Mark?” We had not. Someone said he’d become reclusive. Then Covid came and we were all reclusive. Still, it’s haunting when a friend you once saw often dies. You feel like you should have been paying attention.

Richard, Kitty and Mark at a meeting, 1991

Mark was in the Denver Meher Baba group and Phil was a founding member of that group. Phil and I bought a house in 1984 and a troupe of friends, including many Baba folk, helped us make the place habitable. There was a recession, our resources were limited. The house had been repossessed, broken into and boarded up. Wires dangled from the ceiling where light fixtures had been ripped out, interior doors had been kicked in.

Restructuring the ceiling of Phil’s studio

There was also 1970s wall-to-wall shag carpet in every room. Mark arrived with his heavy-duty vacuum cleaner and spent hours going from room to room. We hadn’t thought to ask for that and yet it was desperately needed. Mark worked in an oil company office then, began his handyman business soon after we got the house.

Mark built the upstairs room I call my solarium, where I type this. A two-room addition on the back of our old house, it was Mark’s first major job after getting his contractor’s license. Phil’s remodeled studio. The dining room. Fence post replacements. A faucet in the upstairs bath. Tile in the one downstairs. Drywall in the laundry room. There is not a room in our house Mark did not work on over the course of thirty years.

L to R, the author, Kitty, Gerri and Mark, 1994

Mark was wonderfully witty about being gay. When his business was new and he showed up wearing a tool belt for the first time, I commented on it. “Yes,” he nodded, “I’m a real Lesbian now.” I asked how his trip to New York was. “Terrific!” He exclaimed. “They had high heels in my size.” I believe that size was eleven or twelve. Not a small man, Mark.

What a funny guy! 2007

When he discovered knob and tube wiring behind a wall he was replacing, he contemplated it a moment, said, “isn’t that special.” Our addition project was to be six months. When we asked at six and a half, he said “two weeks.” When we asked three weeks later, he said “two weeks.” After that, every job he did for us was going to take two weeks. Getting ready to re-do the bathroom faucet, Mark ranted about how everything came from China now and it was impossible to find the good American manufactured plumbing he once got. As it turned out, the faucet I bought came from Mexico. On the final bill, Mark gave us a 10% discount for not buying one made in China.

With Nancy Bohm and her Baba painting, 2003?

Besides house projects, we knew Mark primarily through the Baba community. He was a faithful volunteer worker at our annual retreats. One year, he and I worked the kitchen together, doing a small mountain of dishes. In the big meeting room, he was the fireplace guy, stacking firewood, banking the fire, shoveling out ashes. Mark was one of the helpers in the world. He aided those in need, in his business sometimes employed the nearly unemployable. He collected art, much of it Baba-connected, with a fine eye for good work.

A decade ago, Mark mixed up a batch of concrete to replace some fence posts, had a bit leftover. Later we found a heart beneath the rose bush. It was such a Mark Jamieson thing to do. Jai Baba, Mark. As your sister put it in your obituary, may you enjoy your new found freedom.

The heart Mark left us

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