Mark Safferstone went to the Lord on August 31, 2021. He was born on September 3, 1948 and was preceded in death by his parents Irving and Sylvia (Graber). He was born in Brooklyn, NY, grew up in Niagara Falls, NY, and moved to Miami, FL to finish high school and attend college. Growing up as a Jew, Mark accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in 1992 and lived a Christian life thereafter.
Mark leaves behind his 35-year-old wife, Sharon (Fahey), children Todd (Rachel) from New York City, Chad from Boone, NC, and Heather (Ryan) Nardontonia from Richboro, PA, and three beloved granddaughters, Ella and Emily Safferstone and Susanna Nardontonia. He also leaves loving family members: brother-in-law George and sister-in-law Melody (Fahey) Hagg, brother-in-law Thomas Fahey and many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mark began his career as a teacher and director of the Miami-Dade County School during the desegregation of the schools. He was director of education at Mercy Hospital, Miami, before moving to Virginia, where he worked for the human resources departments of two state agencies and was an assistant professor at George Washington University. He then served on the Department of Administration at the University of Mary Washington for over 20 years.
Mark consistently demonstrated his commitment to lifelong learning, capitalizing on the lessons he had learned from his experiences. He was a below par high school student and initially dropped out of college. Upon returning home, he completed his associate degree and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Miami. He then obtained his Ph.D. from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. In his late 50s, he earned an MBA from the University of Mary Washington. Mark used his educational trip to encourage and inspire the students he was mentoring.
Mark learned to play drums and golf at the age of 13, two pursuits that have stayed with him throughout his life. He played drums with his church in Virginia for 15 years and continued to play after retiring to Cape Cod. And until recently, he was enjoying Sunday afternoons on a nearby driving range.
Mark has been active in his community his whole life and many moves. He served as a volunteer with the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Stafford County Economic Development Authority, and the Rappahannock United Way. He volunteered with the Advocates for a Community College Education, an organization that provides scholarships and mentoring for students at Cape Cod Community College; until shortly before his death he worked as a mentor. He was a founding member of the Cape Cod Interstitial Lung Disease Collaborative, a network for ILD patients and physicians that supports patients, families, and caregivers. He has served as a volunteer reviewer for the American Library Association’s Choice Reviews for Academic Libraries, and has authored 65 short reviews and a professionally recognized bibliographical article on leadership.
The real joy in Mark’s life came from hanging out with his granddaughters when they were visiting. Visits that were never long enough included biking, beach time, shopping trips to craft stores, super soaker squirt gunfights, watching his granddaughters hunt rabbits in the yard, and eating ice cream – lots of ice cream.
There is a celebration of life ministry on Saturday. September 25th at 11am at Grace Church East Dennis Ma.
Instead of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Healthwell Foundation’s Pulmonary Fibrosis Fund (healthwellfoundation.org), whose co-payment program contributed to the cost of Mark’s pulmonary fibrosis medication, or to the VNA Hospice (support.givetocapecodhealth.org). .
Consolation notes can be made to Mark’s family at www.chapmanfuneral.com
Published by The Free Lance – Star on September 12, 2021.