Mark Allen Foreman, 91, passed away Sunday, February 19, 2023, in Columbia, MO. Mark was born May 24, 1931 to Josephine (Zimmerman) and Daniel Ernest Foreman at their family farm. The small livestock and poultry farm was in Adams County, South of Decatur in NE Indiana, and this is where Mark and older brother, Howard, grew up.
Mark attended Senior High School in Decatur, IN. Mark then attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN where he majored and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Agriculture Economics.
Mark was asked to join the internationally acclaimed Purdue Varsity Glee Club. The glee club had 56 voices who dressed in black tails at all their performances. Under the direction of Albert Stewart, they became one of the most outstanding college glee clubs in the nation. Mark was one of several lead soloists in the club for two years, and in his last year, they performed over 100 concerts. They were considered ambassadors of Purdue both in the US and Internationally.
In 1951, Mark met Joan Menge of Fort Wayne, IN, who, at the time, was attending Stephens College in Columbia, MO. They were married in West Lafayette, IN, while Mark completed his senior year at Purdue, graduating in 1953.
In his freshman year at Purdue, Mark had enrolled in the Army ROTC program, which required a commitment of two years of active-duty service in Germany with the US Army following graduation.
Back in Fort Wayne, Mark was offered a sales position and became employed by Central Soya’s McMillen Feed Mills. He was promoted to territorial successor manager in the established Columbia, MO, area territory. His new territory covered a wide range of counties across central Missouri, and the family moved from Salem, IN, to Columbia.
In 1964, Mark decided to change his career path and become an agent for the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in Columbia for the next 44 years. Over those years, he earned accolades from both his primary company and from peers and agents of other fine companies.
He ranked in the top 1% of all Lincoln producers in the US in 1990 and qualified as a 30-year member of the International Million Dollar Round Table. Mark’s wife, Joan, joined his staff in 1986. Joan was a superb director of marketing and promotion at the Lincoln Financial local office.
In July 1965, following a presentation at an Optimist Club meeting, Mark and two other members were asked by the program presenter, Lewis Stoerker, a professor at MU, to join him and assemble a small group to create a memorial for the Stoerker’s 9 year old daughter, Carol, who had been struck by a car in 1961.
Mark knew Lewis as a friend and choir member from his Presbyterian Church choir. Lewis asked Mark and three others to help create a non-profit corporation to raise funds to buy the land surrounding the well-known rock bridge, 5 miles South of Columbia to create a large park.
By acquiring about 2000 acres of the beautiful, rugged land surrounding rock bridge, the park would serve as a memorial for Carol. Mark was asked to serve as both director and secretary. The original team numbered 5 men and 2 women and two months later, 6 outstanding men were added to meet the goal of buying the land.
They raised $180,000 and obtained the State Park Board’s recommendation to gain a federal funding grant matching the $180,000, providing $360,000 needed to pay the 9 different land owners. The 9 tracts of land were then transferred by the corporation to the Missouri State Park Board in 1967-68 totaling 1,830 acres.
Mark served as the official secretary of Rock Bridge Memorial Park, Inc. during the corporation’s existence. The beautiful Rock Bridge Memorial State Park now totals 2,373 acres with over 25 miles of trails. The prior landowners were very pleased with their decision to sell their land to create a park that will be enjoyed into perpetuity.
Throughout his accomplished life, Mark was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church and a member of the church choir since 1961. He was an ordained Deacon and Elder, served as a trustee, and was asked to serve on several ministerial committees. Mark was also an active member of the Columbia NW Rotary Club since 1971, and served as the president in 1974-75.
Mark is survived by his wife, Joan, and son, Paul Michael Foreman. Mark also enjoyed a precious few years spending time with his goddaughter Ayla Granberg Hidborg.
He is preceded in death by his parents; sons, Walter and Stephen Foreman; brother, Howard Foreman.
A visitation will be held Tuesday, March 7th from 4-7pm at Memorial Funeral Home in Columbia. A memorial service followed by a time of fellowship will be held, 1pm Wednesday, March 8th at 1st Presbyterian Church in Columbia.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 16 Hitt St, Columbia, MO 65201 or to the Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial Park, PO Box 7642, Columbia, MO 65205.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com for the Foreman family.