Mark E. Torinus
Dec. 9, 1952 – Aug. 21, 2013
Mark E. Torinus, 60, executive coach, nonprofit foundation leader and
journalist, passed away Wednesday evening, Aug.
21, 2013. Mr. Torinus, who had suffered a serious heart attack early in
2010, died suddenly at his home in Brookfield.
Mark lived with a joy for life, always finding fun in the moment he was
living and planning for the next big trip. Mark is survived by his wife,
Maryclaire (nee Krienke); a son, Nathan (Cynthia); two daughters, Sarah
and Anne; and two grandchildren, James and Juliette Torinus. He was a
loving and invested father and a cherished husband and companion to his
wife, whom he met in the fifth grade. Mark took real pleasure in
touching other people’s lives, and many remember
him with a warm heart.
Mark was born in Green Bay on Dec. 9, 1952, as the “caboose” of a
family of six children. His parents were John and Louise Torinus, formerly
He tormented Old Lady McFersson with smoke bombs left at her front door
and rotten apples pelted at her back roof. He attended Abbot Pennings High
School in DePere, where he was senior class president. He then graduated
from Dartmouth College in 1975. While there, Mark wrote for and helped
edit the Daily Dartmouth, became president of the fraternity Kappa Kappa
Kappa, and graduated cum laude in government. He was an alumni interviewer
for Dartmouth College applicants for 35 years.
Mark co-owned the Menominee (MI) Herald-Leader with two older brothers
from 1975 to 1983, ultimately serving as editor and general manager.
He also served as president of the Menominee United Way and co-founded the
local chapter of Ducks Unlimited. When the brothers eventually sold to The
Janesville Gazette, a mid-sized newspaper, Mark moved to Janesville to
become editor. During his tenure, The Gazette started the Sunday edition
and the paper put out journalism of which he was proud.
Mark was a founding member of the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame and
served on the city Zoning Board of Appeals.
In 1994, he embarked on a second career in the nonprofit sector. Mark took
a job as campaign director for United Way of Northern Rock County, then as
a division campaign director for United Way of Milwaukee. In 1996, he
became president of the Wisconsin Foundation for Independent Colleges,
Inc. The marquee program at WFIC helped
minority, low-income and
first-generation students build the dream of attending college, and then
realize that dream.
Statewide, the program helped more than 500 students per year graduate
from high school and matriculate into higher education. Known as College
Readiness 21, the program was Mark’s crowning professional achievement.
WFIC built its endowment from $1 million to $10 million, with the proceeds
going to scholarships.
While at WFIC, Mark served on the executive committee of the Foundation
for Independent Higher Education and was the driving force and deciding
vote to merge the organization with the Council of Independent Colleges.
Mark’s third career began in 2010 as an executive coach for future
leaders of family companies, by leading an executive forum affiliated with
a company called TEC Midwest. Throughout his career, he counseled young
people on finding their passions, making the right choice for attending
college, and making fulfilling career path decisions. He also served as
president the Greater Delafield Community Fund and chair of the Village of
Summit Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mark was an avid hunter and an accomplished angler, and was happy being in
nature and on the chase. He took great joy in owning and training hunting
dogs, owning six of them from his school days on. He loved to tell stories
and jokes. He wrote a book, “Prairie Pothole Fever,” which sold 700
copies, while 300 were donated to Ducks Unlimited. The book was based on
stories generated over 36 consecutive family duck hunting trips to
Saskatchewan. His favorite place in the world was the bench at the end of
the dock at our family cottage, “The Omelet,” on the Green Bay in Egg
His hobbies included fishing, fly fishing, upland bird and waterfowl
hunting, cross country and downhill skiing, bird watching and reading
American history. He played golf with his son and his grandson, but
complained that swinging moderately and hitting it straight was never as
satisfying as taking a mighty swing on the chance of achieving something
Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug.
25, at Krause Funeral Home, 21600 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield. There will
be a vigil service at 6 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m.
Monday, Aug. 26, at St. Anthony’s on the Lake Catholic Church,
W280-N2101 Prospect Ave., City of Pewaukee. There will be a short
visitation at 10 a.m.
preceding the funeral Mass.
In lieu of flowers, memorials appreciated to The Boys and Girls Club of
Krause Funeral Home, 414-464-4640, is serving the family. For more
information, visit online at www.krausefuneralhome.com.