Posted on October 22, 2015 by Tia Lalani

If you were unable to join us for Mark’s Celebration of Life, please watch our streaming video of the event and download the program here.

If you were unable to join us Saturday afternoon for Mark’s Celebration of Life, please watch our video of the event and download the program here.

Mark Chytracek (3)It is with the deepest regret that we announce the loss of a dear and lifelong friend of Augustana. Mark Chytracek, our much beloved Director of Student and Resident Services, passed away on Friday, October 9, from a heart attack.

Mark was a valued mentor and friend to many students, staff, and alumni. For over 33 years, he exemplified what community and caring mean at Augustana. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Brandi; children Jon (Angela), Amanda (Will), David (Jessi); grandson Noah and the rest of the Chytracek family.

A Celebration of Life Service was held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, October 24, 2015 in Camrose at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus gymnasium with Rev. Craig Wentland officiating.

Members of any Augustana choir, past or present, were invited to participate in an honorary choir that will perform “Standing on Holy Ground” early in the celebration service.

If you were unable to attend the celebration service, we invite you to watch the service here:

If family and friends so desire, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions will gratefully be accepted for The Mark Chytracek Endowment for Leadership and Community Engagement fund, which will support on an ongoing basis at Augustana both student awards and programming initiatives inspired by Mark’s example. To contribute online, go to the donation page. For information on how to contribute in other ways, please visit this page.

Students and staff are invited to connect with the Centre for Personal Counselling on campus or with the Augustana Chaplaincy. Should you require a quiet place on campus for prayer or to gather your thoughts, please know that the Multi-Faith Prayer Room is available in the southwest corner of the Chapel. To convey your condolences and share your memories of Mark, please sign the book of condolences in the Faith and Life Lounge; alternatively, you can visit online the Burgar Funeral Home Guest Book.

Posted in Alumni, Augustana Campus, Chaplaincy, Residence Life. | Permalink

24 responses to In Loving Memory: Mark Chytracek – watch the video

  • Alf Binder said:
    Oct 29, 2015 at 6:56 PM

    The twelve years, from CLC becoming Augustana, to Augustana becoming part of U of A were difficult years, but Mark always had a smile and found some good news to share with the Board of Regents. When my niece became one his RA’s I realized that Mark not only helped the Board to understand student life, but also how much he influenced the quality of student life. That is a legacy any University would be proud of and he will be missed.

  • Carmelle Javney Mohr said:
    Oct 27, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    Mark brought beauty into being. Each day, year after year, he tended to this place. So much of this love was sown silently, secretly, sometimes mischievously; unbeknownst to us the multitude he blessed abundantly.
    Mark was a father to me. He was my advocate and inspiration. I was writing my grandmother’s eulogy the night Mark passed on from this world. In the sunlight of the next morning at Bethel Lutheran Church, these words were spoken. They are offered here in hope that in this darkest passing, there be light.

    Thanks be for Mark Chytracek.

    Carmelle Javney Mohr

  • Andrew Boylan said:
    Oct 24, 2015 at 6:19 PM

    Thoughts, Memories and Prayers be with you tonight. Mr. Chytracek was a man who was always smiling. He helped make Augustana a special place.

  • Doug Wagstaff said:
    Oct 24, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    Thank you to the University of Alberta and Augustana Campus for the opportunity, via an online stream, to share in celebrating the amazing life of Mark Chytracek. Thank you to the Chytracek family for including us all in a time of remembrance and sharing your love. Mark is a lasting influence on so many. God bless.

  • Mark Maina said:
    Oct 23, 2015 at 12:34 AM

    No words can express this loss but we pray for God’s comfort that surpasses all understanding upon the family of Mark Chytracek.

    The Chytracek family was like family to the foreign students when i was in camrose. With all the loneliness, fear and misguidings of foriegn college kids, Mark was like a father to us. He would consel, mentor and in many cases protect us from ourselves and from a community that was gradually accepting new faces and new cultures.

    My most fond memory (and something i used to look forward to) was that every summer holiday, the chytracek’s would invite all Africans in Camrose, the Australian and the 2 Russians for a barbecue (and we would cook it African style). It was the touch of home that tethered our sanity in a new town

    Thank you and God Bless you mightly

  • David Haitel said:
    Oct 21, 2015 at 11:58 PM

    When I attended Augustana from 1998-2002 you helped to make it a great place to go to school. You were always great to talk to and a good friend! I will miss you Mark. My condolences to your family. May God Bless you.

  • David M. Jones, DC said:
    Oct 21, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    My heart was sadden when I received word of Mark’s passing. I was very fortunate to have been blessed with Marks friendship from the first day he stepped on the campus of then Camrose Lutheran College (CLC) now Augastana campus of the UofA. I was one of the RA’s that benefited from his knowledge. It is hard to fathom that our friendship has been ongoing for 33 years. Mark and Brandi were there for me when my mother passed in 1987. It seems just yesterday arriving on campus for RA training and the fun times in Moi Hall with the home made nachos using valveeta cheese and salsa in the microwave to learning the ins and outs of helping fellow student receive the most out of their educational studies at CLC. I was able to meet up with Mark 2 years ago at the UofA Hospital where my father was recovering from major surgery. I relish the time I had with Mark, and in return Mark presented me with the Residence Life Challenge Coin (which I carry in my wallet with me at all times). My prayers and well wishes go out to Brandi, Jon, Amanda and David (and families) during this celebration of Mark’s Life.

    With sincere Love,
    David (aka Splash RA Moi Hall 1983)

  • Mary,Curtis, Dale-Marie said:
    Oct 20, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, they live on. Brandi, Jon, Amanda and David please accept our condolences, Mark will not be forgotten.

  • angela(hatfield) Hoekman said:
    Oct 16, 2015 at 8:57 PM

    This guy I met when my brother brought him home with him as his best friend. They were in 4th grade, I was in 2nd. Right away he was a part of our family. He was always so much fun and I always was trying to bug them by following them around. He went on youth group retreats with us, which always was so much fun and faith building. He became another brother of mine and his family became our family too. Everything I read from these comments I just shake my head yes and my heart aches, for his family and for me. I won’t be getting g one of his great hugs and experience his caring ways, on this earth. Soneday, big brother I will see you again. I have a feeling my dad met you at the gates of heaven, to greet his “Son”. Love you, Mark and love and prayers to you, Brandi, Jonathan, Amanda and David, spouses and Greg and Karen. My heart grieves with you and prayers are being said

  • Mark Heckbert said:
    Oct 15, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    To Brandi and kids, and to all of those who were truly touched by Mark’s contributions, my heartfelt condolences. Mark was an important part of my Augustana residence experience (1990-94) and indeed after university as he continued to inspire me to lead and serve community. What an enthusiastic and energentic leader! How did he fit all that effort into 24 hours a day and for so many years? I wondered about that when I was 18 and I still wonder about that today. He was everywhere. But, he did manage to balance his incredible energy along side moments of sage advice and steadfast encouragement. He was a master of balance, in my view. His support knew no bounds-it didn’t matter if you were part of the Residence Life team or not. If you showed a desire to help or support in some fashion he found a way to support you. Different ways at different times, different levels according to what he figured you needed. He possessed an uncanny sense about what people needed in order to be inspired and he was always able to deliver the right ingredients; at least in my experience. Over the years as I recruited staff into the Alberta public service, always looking for the right people to lead programs in the right places, I often thought of Mark and his “fit” with Augustana. His example was marvelous! A perfect fit. I don’t recall who recruited Mark to Augustana, but they sure hit a home run with that move. They actually hit thousands of home runs. Thousands. We were really lucky to have known him. A true blessing. I will miss him dearly.

  • libby brownell said:
    Oct 15, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    In my almost 75 years of life
    there have been very few people who standout
    and who make a difference
    My husband and I were so fortunate to know Mark
    and Brandi
    We met them through
    our 2 youngest children

    Paul and Susie

    who brought Mark and Brandi into our lives
    The impact you made on us all
    will live on forever
    Thank you
    Libby Brownell

  • Jeanie Greenidge said:
    Oct 15, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    I am just gob-smacked. I will be forever grateful to Mark and Brandi for seeing me through my time at CLC. Both of you have such grace. Brandi and family, I am so truly sorry for your loss and so grateful to have known such a graceful gracious man. Love.

  • Candice Bentley-Bergh said:
    Oct 15, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    I have known Mark for quite sometime…first through church than the pool when him and his family would come then when I attended Augustana. You will be missed but never forgotten…your spirit will continue to be with all those you touched! Thoughts and prayers to the family and all those who knew you Mark!

  • Jackie Astle (nee Lepard) said:
    Oct 15, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    The first time I met Mark, was in 1988, my first year at Augustana (then CLC), Mark was hunkered down in his cramped office in the 1st year dorms, connecting with students and impacting our lives daily. My first impression was of a man, who was genuine, eager to help and had a great sense of humour; something that would connect us over the years. I’ve always been a bit of a sarcastic tease and Mark was always such a great sport, giving it back to me as much as I teased him! I was very fortunate to be part of Mark’s residence life family but more than that I was blessed to be welcomed into the Chytracek family. Over the past 20 years, I’ve made numerous visits to Augustana, each time being welcomed home by Mark and Brandi, picking up where we left off the last time we saw one another. A gift of friendship that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Mark’s life work focused on Augustana, his family and friends and the Camrose community. He truly believed in Augustana’s motto to lead and to serve and tirelessly and effortlessly spent his life leading by example. Mark’s impact on my life was so profound that I choose a career in public service, so that I too could lead and serve. I’ve spent that last 20 years developing and providing programs for vulnerable Albertans, inorder to link them with resources, to try and give their lives meaning, listening to their life stories and encouraging them to change their life story to make a positive impact on someone else’s; something Mark taught me. Mark taught me not only to listen but to be a catalyst in changing someone’s life. Over the past 27 years Mark has been my guiding light, he showed me that everyone has potential to succeed, sometimes they just need a nude in the right direction, sometimes they need someone to route for them and sometimes they need to be reminded the God gave each of us the gift of life; a life to lead and serve. To Brandi, Jon, Angela, Noah, Amanda, David, Jessie and all of Mark’s family and friends, I wish I could take the pain of losing Mark away but I hope you will find comfort in knowing how much he loved each of you and that his life’s work, impacted so many of us.

  • Tim Renneberg said:
    Oct 14, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    This is terrible news to read. I have vivid memories of Mark as a warm, kind, smiling face, welcoming young and often naive students to Camrose and to the campus. He seemed to be always around, always optimistic, always supportive. He really did have a profound impact on the people he met.

  • Janie Alsmo said:
    Oct 14, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    Wow! What a shock. As a friend and class mate of Mark’s (Deforest Area High School Class of 1977) I have had a feeling of loss since I received news of his passing on Saturday. I can only imagine how many times this feeling must be multiplied for Brandi and his family. Mark was amazing so many years ago, and how he was able to continue to grow as he traveled the path the Lord set before him is inspiring. He will be missed at Class Reunions as his smile and genuine friendliness were always something to look forward to when we gathered. You never know, as you travel your life’s journey, who you will meet that will leave a lasting impression upon you, but Mark was one of those people who left a warm feeling in your heart. He truly lived his life the way the Lord intended. My condolences to his loved ones as you travel the rest of your journey without him. Take comfort in knowing that when next you meet, you will never say Good bye again.

  • Wayne Groth said:
    Oct 14, 2015 at 6:35 AM

    Mark was someone I will always admired and respected. I remember my first year at Camrose Lutheran College in 1986. I was living in Ronning and spent a lot of time in the common lounge. Mark was always there making everyone feel welcome, like they were a part of one big family. He was a very personable guy who made sure that you felt right at home on Campus. I have many fond memories of Mark as he was seen everywhere on Campus. I will miss you Mark.

  • Geoffrey Evans said:
    Oct 13, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    My deepest condolences to the entire Chytracek family. I remember Mark with great fondness when I remember my year at Camrose (1985-86), living in Moi Hall. My prayers will be with you.

  • Rose said:
    Oct 13, 2015 at 9:45 PM

    I was so sad to hear of Mark’s passing. Even though I have not seen or spoken to him since I attended and resided on campus from 1989 to 1991 he left a lasting impression on me. I must admit my 2nd year dorm was probably one of the ones that helped turn his hair grey, he still had a kind and forgiving soul.

    Even to this day when I would drive by the campus, I would always wonder what him and his family were up to. Brandi was just as nice as Mark, and I can see why they were such a good match for each other.

    I send love, healing, and peace to his family and hope they know how many people he touched in this life.

  • Dean bauer said:
    Oct 13, 2015 at 9:11 PM

    Brandi and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Mark had a profound influence on me. I will miss him. Dean and family

  • Liese Engel said:
    Oct 13, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    I wrote this tribute to Mark yesterday and placed it as my personal status on Facebook. I wanted the Augustana Community to read what I wrote. So I have copied it in is entirety. “The welcoming smile which could turn the sourest of moods around, the comforting and loving embrace when the world was just a little more uncertain, the wise words of a man who had experienced the world and “walked the walk” with so many young adults, and the prayers of a compassionate soul who was eager to be the hands and feet of Jesus are pictures that run through my mind like in a movie theater these days. Hopefully these images reflect many people in our world, but for me, these images reflect one very special servant of God. His name was Mark Chytracek. He wore many hats, at home, at Augustana, at Bethel Lutheran, and in the wider Camrose community, but to me he was the older brother and mentor that I needed and came to rely on during my 4 years at Augustana. Even once I graduated, I visited campus often, and was met regularly in the Faith & Life Building by the happy smile of Mark and an immediate “welcome home” hug. And even if he was running off to a meeting, he would always remind me to stop by his office before I left campus, so we could catch up. The sadness is heavy these days, because Mark died so suddenly, still with some much to give and receive in this world. I am grateful that I had the chance to know and share space with Mark. He will always be one of the best faces of Augustana for me and for so many others. Rest in Peace, my brother in Christ! I am looking forward to our reunion in Heaven, for I trust that promise our Saviour gave us. To Brandi, Jon, Amanda and David, the rest of Mark’s family, and the Augustana Community, I pray for God’s love, comfort and peace during this time of grief. Let us remember Mark with his infectious smile and his willingness to serve and take that goodness into our fearful and troubling world.”

  • Stephen Fitzpatrick said:
    Oct 13, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    I was gutted to hear this news. Mark was more than a mentor to many of us at Augustana, effortlessly blurring the line between boss, coach, confidante, and friend. He and Brandi took the disparate and a formative people of a college Residence Life program and knitted them into a family, creating connections that exist today, decades later.

    Brandi, Jonathan, Amanda and David, I am so very sorry for your loss, but please know that your dad had an immensely positive impact on a staggering number of people, and we are so grateful to you for sharing him with us the way you did. Mark is gone far, far too early, but has left behind a tremendous legacy of service and community, as well as a family that anyone would be proud to be a member of.

  • Lorrie Abma said:
    Oct 13, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    Dear David and Jessi,
    I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. You and your family are very close, so I’m sure there is a huge void right now. Just know that there are many people that are thinking of you and praying for you and your family. I pray especially for your Mom, that she will receive comfort and support in this extremely difficult time.
    Kim has had so much love for both of you and she has gotten close to your families too. She also keeps you in her prayers, as she has been touched greatly by your loss.
    I pray for safe travels for you and Jessi, but most of all I pray that our Heavenly Father will wrap all of you in his loving, comforting arms. I also pray that he will uphold each of you, and that the wonderful memories will always be with you. Love Lorrie