It is heavy. My heart is heavy with sadness because we have lost an amazing person. Our friend and member of our Voyageur family, Mark Ceminsky passed away Sunday evening. We are not sure what happened medically but the fact remains he is no longer with us. This fact has weighted us down with a deep grief.
We first met Mark in 1993 as a guest of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. We saw him every year, sometimes a few times each summer, as he loved Saganaga Lake. He loved it so much he bought a piece of property and built a cabin on it. He loved his time at the cabin and at the end of the Gunflint Trail. He loved it so much he decided to take a position at Voyageur after he sold his cabin.
To say that I will miss him doesn’t begin to express how badly it hurts to know I will never see his smiling face again. I’ll never get to hear him tell me about a new moose in the neighborhood, a friendly fox on our deck, a bald eagle in the narrows or any other topic we both held close to our hearts. He’ll never send me another picture he took of a particularly beautiful sunrise, snow on the canoe pile or any picture at all. My inbox will never see another message from Mark and that is a painful thought.
Mark has been a part of our Voyageur Family year round since the fall of 2011 but he’s been a friend since the first time we met him in 1993. I know if you ever met Mark he treated you with genuine kindness. He politely listened to you and if you needed something then he most likely helped you with a big smile on his face. That was Mark and I know you will miss him too.
Mark was one of those people who would do anything for anyone. He would go the extra mile for guests even if he wasn’t working. He took care of people even when there was no money in it for him. He would be there for you whenever you needed it and I don’t think I ever heard him say, “No.”
I can’t tell you how many things Mark did for me that went above and beyond the call of duty. Whether it was filling my boat up with gas so I could go fishing, looking for a pair of lost sandals on an island on Saganaga, taking care of Rugby when I was away, feeding my birds when the feeders got empty, picking up after Josh and his friends countless times, looking for a much needed item buried deep inside of my bedroom, putting car seat covers on for me or always offering to help me carry stuff to or from my vehicle when he could have easily ran the other way. He was always there for me and anyone else who needed him.
While funeral arrangements have not yet been made I would like it if you would share your stories of Mark with me. I know some of you have posted kind words on Facebook but I don’t know if his parents are on Facebook. I know they would love to hear all of the wonderful things their son has done for everyone so if you want to email a story to me then I will get it to them.
For those of you who were touched by his kindness, I know how much you are hurting and how deep your sorrow must be. I am sorry for your pain and want you to picture Mark in a better place. It’s a place I know looks a lot like Saganaga. It’s a place where pine trees meet the sky, granite outcroppings disappear into blue lake water and the sun shines brightly. The fish always bite, the moose appear frequently and there are no mosquitoes. It’s heaven and Mark is there and he has a big smile on his face and when it comes time for you to join him Mark will be there to embrace you, help you with anything you might need and most importantly he’ll be your friend, one of the best you will ever find.
Rest in Peace Mark, We love you.