On March 1, 2021, after a 134-day battle, Kent Marko passed away peacefully with his loving wife and devoted sons by his side.
When a loved one dies, it can be a difficult time to capture their life in just a few words. But sometimes, the best ideas come in times of struggle and pain, when we are challenged to stretch our hearts and our abilities to create something greater than we ever thought we could. I can't think of a better way to honor the best man who ever lived than to tell who he truly was.
Kent was born March 24, 1958, to Maxine and Jack Marko in Milbank, SD. He often talked about his childhood memories with his eight siblings, where he grew up helping on the family farm in rural Wilmot with the animals and gardens. That green thumb continued throughout his life, tending the garden he grew with his wife, Monica. In his early years he attended the country school in Lee Township, and yes, he did actually have to walk uphill both ways. He attended school in Wilmot and Arlington public school and went then to Job Core where he studied welding and automotive. He later attended LATI for diesel mechanics.
In 1978 he met the love of his life Monica Lipelt, and a short nine months later, they married in Watertown, SD, on June 16, 1979. Together they had two sons, Brian in May of 1980 and Jason in May of 1986. From there, their life bloomed into something beautiful.
He had many passions in his life and always gave whatever it was his undivided attention. Over the years, it included 4H, racing, fishing, hunting, camping, and hockey. Racing soon became a family affair that taught many life lessons to those who surrounded him. It consumed many years of his life, and the family that came from the racing community is something he cherished until his final moments. As the gears shifted from hot summer days to snow-covered cold ones, he found a new love in hockey and the people who turned into family that surrounded him while he cheered on and occasionally chastised the Watertown Lakers.
For the last 16 years, he worked as a welder at Terex Utilities. Before that, he was at Angus Palm for just over 16 years, and before that, he had many jobs; his favorite was working on the family farm for Nick and Matt Kranz. Over the years, he made many friends that he thought very highly of.
Many people knew him as a proud but sometimes boisterous man. But mostly, he was simply a family man who believed in hard work and loyalty. Kent had an acute awareness of the importance of a life lived with the ones you love over any material possessions, besides maybe the remote control. He spent all the time he could with his family, especially his grandchildren. He never missed a race, a hockey game, a swimming or ice skating lesson. He could often be found casting lines out fishing, tinkering on a racecar or go-kart, or cheering loud from grandstands.
Kent lived a thousand years in the 62 calendar years we had him with us. Of all the people he touched in his life, his most proud achievement was living each day with his beloved wife, who was with him in all his glory during their time together, and lovingly supporting him until his final moments.
We invite you to join us to celebrate the life he lived. A Celebration of Life will be at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at First United Methodist Church. Pastor Marilyn Spurrell will officiate. Music will be provided by Kari Anderson. The service will be Face-Book Live, recorded and uploaded on Crawford-Osthus website.
Visitation will be at Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel on Tuesday from 4-7 p.m., to share memories and stories of a man that will be missed beyond measure.
Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Honorary pallbearers will be his pride and joy, (his grandkids), co-workers from Terex, the racing family and the Lakers hockey family.
After the burial please join us at 2nd Street station in the lower level for a remembrance dinner. As one last way to honor him, we ask that you leave the dress clothes at home. He disliked dressing up; he was a man of flannel, racing shirts, and cowboy boots. In honor of Kent, please choose one to wear.
Kent leaves behind a family that loved him immensely, his wife, Monica; sons, Brian (Jackie) Marko and Jason (Halley) Marko; his pride and joys, Anthony, Tucker, Taite, and Ryley, all of Watertown, SD; his siblings: Pam Hobbs and special friend Bob Raaen, of Sioux Falls, SD, Mary Jane (Terry) Foster of Waverly, SD, Danny Marko of Sioux Falls, SD, John (Toni) Marko of Madison, SD, Eileen Piehl of Aberdeen, SD, and Pauline Marko of Aurora, SD; brother-in-law, Clair Sibson of Beardsley, MN; mother and father-in-law, Dale and Colleen Lipelt of Yuma, AZ; sister-in-law, Julie (Jay) Cripps of Pueblo West, CO, and Lisa (Bruce) Olson of Gillette, WY; and numerous niece and nephews.
Kent is preceded in death by his mother and father, Maxine and Jack; his brother, Larry; sister, Ann Marie; brother-in-law, Don Hobbs; and his Grandpa and Grandma Marko and Grandpa and Grandma Kirkup.
Arrangements by Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel www.crawfordosthus.com
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