Marcus “Mark” Charles Bordsen passed away peacefully with family at his side Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. He was 78.
Mark was born April 29, 1942, in Rolla, N.D., to Charles and Mildred Bordsen.
Mark spent his formative years growing up in eastern Montana, in the small town of Wibaux. He read voraciously, which stoked an early inclination for adventure. He also listened to baseball games on the radio and developed an appreciation for cowboy artist Charles M. Russell. Mark later went to college at Montana State University, where he received a B.S. in entomology. He also later obtained a master’s degree in community development from Southern Illinois.
Reading about other places as a child later drove Mark to travel abroad. During his college years, he went to Poland as part of the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE), where he learned his first foreign language. Some of the poignant moments of the trip included a somber trip to Auschwitz and watching the U.S. land on the moon on Polish TV. He later joined International Voluntary Services focusing on agricultural programs, which brought him to Laos and later Indonesia, adding more languages to his repertoire. These adventures expanded his cultural breadth and life perspective.
He met his wife, Wiwiek, in Indonesia and they married in 1974. His sons were born in 1977 (Ibra) and 1980 (Aleh). They eventually moved back to the U.S., to Montana, in 1983. Mark put his education in community development to use as a land use planner in Glendive and city manager in Belgrade (both in Montana). Mark and his family eventually settled in Colfax in 1990, where he served as Whitman County Planner. He retired in 2008.
Mark loved baseball. He spent countless summer hours teaching his sons the finer points of the game during their childhoods. Mark’s passion was board games, and he amassed a collection over the years, having steadily accrued them while browsing thrift stores or garage sales. He also invented his own games and playtested them with his kids and grandkids. His laughter could start with a slow rumble and crescendo in an uncontrollable belly laugh, punctuated at the end with a heavy sigh and an “Oh, no.” He also enjoyed the company of his cats, which included an extraordinary rescue specimen named Jordie, who was blind.
In recent years, Mark volunteered his time playing board games that showcased the intricacies of the English language with college students at the WSU International Center.
In his final days, Mark reveled in listening to the Dodgers take on the Rays in the World Series on the radio, which brought him full circle from when he listened to baseball games intently as a kid.
He was a worldly person, having visited different corners of the world and adopting various customs along the way. But he always held the wide open spaces of Montana, as well as his Stetson and cowboy boots, fondly in his heart.
He is survived by his wife, two sons, three grandchildren and sister. His wife, Wiwiek, lives in Colfax. His son, Aleh, and girlfriend Heather live in Spokane, with daughter Aeda Sue. His other son, Ibra, and wife Martina live in Bellevue, Wash., with daughter Maya and son Rio. His sister, Susanne, and husband Obed live in Eagen, Minn.