Mark Harrington Notess

Mark Harrington Notess died August 5, 2019, at his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the age of 61. Born in East Aurora, New York, on August 12, 1957, he began early to develop his lifelong enjoyment of the outdoors and of books. As a high school student in Blacksburg, Virginia, he gave his life to Christ and met his high school sweetheart, Liz, with whom he celebrated 41 years of marriage this year. 

Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degrees in education and computer science from Virginia Tech. His work focused on human-computer interaction and user experience design, making software programs easier to use for countless people. A music lover, he was especially proud of his work on the Variations software at Indiana University, which allowed students to listen to a vast digital archive of music. While at IU, he also earned a doctoral degree in educational technology. 

His love of learning was also present in many other areas of his life. He spent many hours reading aloud to his children and grandchildren and served as a volunteer adult Sunday school teacher, work that was rooted in his deep knowledge of Scripture.

Mark prided himself on his unusual interests and taste in food. He loved the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, arts-and-crafts furniture, photography, cooking, and celebrating Christmas. His handmade Christmas treats including fudge, marinated mushrooms, and fruitcake (yes, fruitcake!) had a small but devoted following. 

Mark and Liz moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2015, to be closer to grandchildren, and they enjoyed spending time in the Smoky Mountains. That winter, Mark received a diagnosis of stage IV prostate cancer. While undergoing cancer treatment, he focused on traveling to spend time with family. Especially treasured were the “bucket list” trips that he and Liz took, including a tour of England, a cruise on the Danube River, and a Carribean cruise through the Panama Canal. 

He also spent much of his time writing in ways that supported others facing challenging cancer diagnoses. At the time of his death, he had recently completed a book manuscript about his experiences. His pointed and witty sense of humor buoyed him and those around him – including his cancer support group, who nicknamed him “Sunshine.” Mark and Liz’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Gibbie and Digory, were also a great source of comfort and snuggles on difficult days.

Preceded in death by his father and stepfather, he is survived by his wife, Liz Notess; mother, Shirley Neupert; stepmother, Margie Notess; brothers Peter Notess and Greg Notess; children Hannah Notess and Jonathan Hiskes, Brian and Adrienne Notess, and Ben and Shelby Notess; and grandchildren Asher Notess, Silas Notess, Luke Notess, Samuel Hiskes, and Theodore Hiskes. 

A memorial service for Mark will be held Saturday, August 24, 2019, at 11 a.m.  at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, 9132 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37923. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Cedar Springs Presybterian Church or the Cancer Support Community of East Tennessee.

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  1. Many great memories over the 60 years. Plus the early years I cannot remember being a cousin just a year or so older growing up in a neighboring town. I know you are still with the Lord, just now free of pain. Will miss and remember as long as I can.

  2. Liz my heart goes out to you. I am do sorry got this. I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through. May God’s Love and Peace guide you and protect you. I’ll be thinking of you on the 24th.

  3. Beautiful tribute, and wonderful friend. You are missed, Mark. Thank you for the many ways you were there for me.

  4. Thanks for post. I am fortunate to have known Mark. He bravely faced his ordeal. I know your pain and are praying for you and family. Sincerely Margaret Blazer

  5. Thank you for the post. Mark filed a brave battle with dignity. We were fortunate to know him and have him for a neighbor. May God bless you and your family

  6. I knew Mark as an undergrad and graduate student at VT. He was a strong and vibrant follower of the Lord Jesus. He wanted to fill his mind and heart with Scripture, and explore life’s issues through the lens of his identity in Christ. He was thoughtful of others, discerning of ideas, serious in his relationships, and certainly joyful in his walk.
    Mark’s productivity as a teaching assistant in the ESL program was extraordinary–nothing mediocre about him! Many years later, Mark was the first person (outside of the local nexus) to congratulate and encourage me when I retired. I wish I had kept up with him in the ensuing years. Mark’s impact on so many will continue to bring praise and glory to God. Now, he is rejoicing in the presence of his Lord and Savior! He will obviously be missed by his beloved family and friends. Grace and peace to them.

  7. Liz, I am so sorry to read this news about Mark. I always enjoyed my time working with you and Mark. Both of you will be in my prayers.

  8. I am very sorry to hear of this passage. I know Mark through Liz and was always struck with his passion for literature and his love for Liz and his family. He fought bravely. I am so glad he and Liz got to travel before he had to leave. I will be praying for Liz, children and grandchildren as they process this.

  9. We pray for Liz and the family at this time. I knew Mark from his Virginia Tech / Blacksburg Christian Fellowship years, and it was a joy to renew fellowship a few years back during Mark and Liz’s trips to Blacksburg. Mark was gentle, humble, and always encouraging to be around. He spurred me to deeper thought on a wide variety of topics. I appreciate his faithful walk with God. “The hearts of the saints have been refreshed through this brother.” (Philemon 7, adapted) And now he’s home with the Lord, free from pain.

  10. Liz, Mary Jean and I were saddened to learn of Mark’s passing. Although we didn’t get to know him for very long we really enjoyed the time that we spent with the two of you in the U.K. Now he is at peace with his lord and savior.

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