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 of DePere.

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 Harbor.

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 epic.

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 Milwaukee.

Krause Funeral Home, 414-464-4640, is serving the family. For more information, visit online at