Mark Jarina, age 66, of Bagdad, Florida, passed from this life on Monday, August 19, 2019, surrounded by his children at Baptist Hospital, Pensacola, due to complications of Leukemia.
Born on North Island, California, on April 12, 1953, to Michael Jarina and Dolores Bardol Jarina, Mark first encountered his paradise of Northwest Florida when his Navy father was transferred to Pensacola Naval Air Station in 1959. Except for a two year hiatus during his middle school years in Bangkok, Thailand, Northwest Florida remained his home.
He attended St. Michael’s Catholic Grammar School, Pensacola, through 6th grade. In Thailand he attended Ruam Rudi International School. When the family returned to the US and settled in Bagdad, he attended Milton High School as a part of the Class of 72. After high school he attended Pensacola Junior College, completing his degree in Physical Education at the University of West Florida in 1976.
He became a middle school teacher in Phys Ed and health, teaching in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Escambia County schools. He also worked with emotional challenged youth with the Eckerd foundation for several years where he was able to combine his loves of camping, canoeing and helping kids. He rarely went anywhere in the area without running into a former student or parent who expressed how much he influenced his or her life. His last year before retirement he was named Avalon Middle School Teacher of the Year.
Mark took a break from teaching for several years to work for the Florida Forestry Service, where he learned how to legitimately and safely set fires. He loved his trees, tending those he had planted in Bagdad and Laurel Hill.
A natural athlete, Mark played baseball from a young age, in Little League and high school, lettering for 3 years at Milton High, playing on the ’71 team that placed second at State. Soccer was probably his best sport, playing on the Varsity “Football” team at Ruam Rudi, though only a middle schooler. He was a foundation player for the nascent UWF Soccer team, earning his letter there in ’75. While teaching, he coached Soccer at Milton High. A swimmer, he competed in AAU age group swimming with Pensacola Y-Navy Aquatic Club in grade school, and helped establish the Milton High Swim team his senior year. Due to his swimming he became interested in and competed in triathlons. He also ran 5 k’s and rode his bike everywhere. He learned to ride horses while in Thailand and until the last 5 years ago would ride any horse on offer.
A Boy Scout from Cub Scout days, Mark remained active with Scouting through high school, working as a camp counselor at Camp Euchee, mostly on the aquatic rotations. Summers during high school and college he lifeguarded at Rolling Greens Country Club (now Tanglewood) and Whiting Field. Earning the Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Rating, he taught hundreds of children to swim as a side job, teaching at private pools. He loved to be in the woods, claiming to be hunting for deer, turkey or quail, but most likely was just sitting in the woods.
Mark never met a stranger, and always found the best in everyone. His favorite line was “They are good people,” and meant it. A gifted raconteur, he had a story to share with everyone. While some may have questioned the veracity of some of his tales, the vast majority were true.
He was preceded in death by both parents; and his step-son, Dylan Randolph.
Mark is survived by his daughter, Alexandra Brook (Benjamin) Ohler, two grandsons, Bram and Bayne, of Pensacola; son, Nicholas Price Jarina, of Milton; foster daughter, Jessica E Jarina of Nashville, TN; brother, Michael Peter (Terri) Jarina of Waxhaw, NC; sisters, Veronica Glenn, of Gulf Breeze, Deborah Ann (James) Naone of Kapolei, HI, and Stella Jarina of Bagdad; seven nieces and nephews; and eleven great-nieces and great-nephews; as well as a myriad of cousins and friends
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, September 7, 2019, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. Interment of ashes will follow the services in Bagdad Cemetery.
Visitation will be held 9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., prior to the Mass.
Lewis Funeral Home of Milton has been entrusted with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society.