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Mark Reel

Mark R. Reel, Age 56, Firefighter and Paramedic, died September 7, 2018 in the line of duty, as a result of occupational cancer.

Devoted father of Adam and Randy; cherished son of Richard G. and Patricia A. (nee McCormick) Reel; loving brother of Sandra Reel (husband Bruce Merchant), Claudia McCollim, and Cynthia Locker (husband John); dearest uncle of Justin and Caitlin Locker, and Brian Busch; former husband of Kathryn Reel; treasured son-in-law of George Schnur (wife Linda) and Erika Schnur; dear brother-in-law of Karen Busch; dear cousin of Debra and John Ryman; survived by his dear friends Colette Willins (sons Joshua and Aaron), Justine Wells, Becky Beckrest, and Steve Deuschle.

And to the many active and retired Firefighter brothers and sisters, and their families, who visited, sat with, helped, loved, cared for and supported Mark throughout his career and especially during his last challenge, we give our undying gratitude and love.

U.S. Army Veteran.

After graduating in 1980 from Euclid Senior High, Mark joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany, where he learned to downhill ski, which became a wintertime passion for Mark.  He then joined the Cleveland Heights Fire Department where he served as a firefighter and a paramedic.  He retired on April 30, 2018 after 32 years of service.  He regularly volunteered at Camp Cheerful which provides recreation programs for burn victims and children with disabilities.  He was also a member of Team RWB whose mission is to enrich the lives of veterans by helping them connect to their community through physical and social activity.  He coached soccer when his boys were in school and was in a rowing crew on the Cuyahoga River.  He enjoyed experiencing different cuisines and cooking, and he planned to go to Chef School when he retired.

Mark always had an adventurous spirit.  As a child growing up in Euclid, Mark explored the neighborhood with his close friend and neighbor; to the chagrin of their parents, the two musketeers enjoyed bumper hitching in the winter, fishing, camping out, walking the railroad tracks and sneaking into the drive-in theater.

More recently, Mark lived surrounded by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where he would hike and bike. He was always pointing out the birds and knew where the eagles were nesting.  His favorite bird was the black capped chickadee.  In the winter, he loved cross country skiing, especially in the early morning or on a moon lit night when he had the park all to himself.

Mark hiked and traveled all over the U.S. and abroad. His travels took him to Great Britain, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, Thailand, Guatemala, Morocco, and Hawaii.  He even auditioned for the TV show The Amazing Race with his former wife Kathryn.

Following his cancer diagnosis, Mark kept this quote by Jonathan Dorn with him. It reflects the courage with which he faced the challenge.


Death Be Not Boring

Spare me the mundane fade of natural causes, the gentle expire in the dark

of night. Take me rudely, in a frantic gnashing of claws and canines in

some far wilderness. Unleash your vipers, your flash floods, your

stampeding wildfires. Give me the awful clarity of free-fall, the mad

carnival ride of avalanche. Drag these well-used bones from the trail into

one final glorious maelstrom of discovery and while you’re at it,

release the goddamn kraken.

I’ve lived well.  I’ve adventured widely.  I will not die poorly.


With gratitude to the staff at Holy Family Hospice where Mark spent his last days, and to the Taussig Brain Cancer Oncology staff at Cleveland Clinic.

Contributions may be made in memory of Mark to Camp Cheerful, through Aluminum Cans for Burn Children, 4758 Ridge Rd. #166 Cleveland, 44144.

Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, 3649 E. 65th St., Cleveland. Burial following with Military Honors at Lake View Cemetery. Family will receive friends to pay tribute to and celebrate the life of Mark at THE DeJOHN-FLYNN-MYLOTT FUNERAL HOME OF SOUTH EUCLID, 4600 MAYFIELD RD. (just east of Green Rd.) FRIDAY 1-3 and 5-8 PM. Online obituary, guestbook and order flowers at




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Condolence Messages

  1. Jerry Kazimir CHFD :

    Mark was a great man and a great firefighter. He lived by the Marine Corps definition of integrity.
    ” Always doing the right thing, when no one is looking”. He served the citizens of Cleveland
    Heights with honor and integrity. God Bless you Mark. Rest in peace my brother.

  2. Dave Rossy CHFD :

    Funny as hell ! He would talk about 4 things at the same time. Dedicated to everything he was a part of. Rest easy kid.

  3. rosemary wysznski :

    In behalf of Bob Wysznski, I am sending our prayers. Bob has dementia and doesn’t remember much but when I asked him about Mark He knew him So Mark must have made a memory with Bob.

  4. Mark lived his life everyday . He also lived a very healthy lifestyle . He was genuine and treated everyone with respect . God took Mark way too soon . You’re already missed

  5. Norma (Byers) Mlinac :

    Cynthia and family.
    I am so sorry for the loss of your dear brother Mark. I remember my David, Ricky and maybe Steven we’re buddies with Mark. I’m sure they have a lot of stories to tell. I was very shocked to hear of him passing. Truly very sorry. May he rest in peace.

  6. I worked with Mark for many years… He was a good, dedicated, compassionate person. Always a ball of energy. Constantly on the move, making us all better. Good To Go, brother. Your time is done and we honor you for the great man that you were. Rest easy. We will carry on in your tradition.


  7. Colette and Aaron Willins :

    A great friend passed away early Friday morning. He will be dearly missed. Love you Mark.
    Aaron Willins

    Aaron and I are grateful that we were able to be there for Mark this past year- and at his side when he died. We have so many wonderful memories from the fun things we did and the great meals we had together. He was an important part of our family. He made sure we knew that he loved us and he knew we loved him.
    We will miss him terribly.
    Gone from this earthly plane – but forever in our hearts. Love you Mark

  8. I went to Euclid High School with Mark. I remember him well and smile when I think of our days together there. He was a great guy, funny, start and just a joy to be around. So sorry for your loss. The world will be a little less happy without him.

  9. Kathy Vuraich Rinicella :

    I went to grade school with Mark and a classmate shared his obituary . My deepest condolences to his entire family ! May you all find peace with all the fond memories of the full life he lived ! Prayers

  10. Jim McManus Retired CHPD :

    My condolences to the family and his fellow firefighters. I recall being on many calls over the years when I was with CHPD. Always a professional.

  11. Colleen Cleveland :

    I went to school with Mark. Didn’t know him well. Happy to read that he had a full life and made a difference in this world. RIP

  12. Maureen Sweeney :

    Outstanding obituary for a true hero!

  13. One of the best guys I ever worked with. Lived life with a great deal of passion. I will miss our conversations about politics and life. Heaven just got an upgrade.

  14. Annie Krysiak Debevc :

    Oh my goodness. So sorry to hear of Mark’s passing. I went to grade school with him and graduated Euclid High with him. I remember him and Steve D. were inseperable. Two partners in crime. Mark was always smiling, laughing. He was taken way too soon. My deepest sympathies extended to his family at this difficut time.

  15. Dick and Pat and family, I can only imagine the terrible sadness you must be feeling at this time, and my heart goes out to you. You must be very proud of the good man Mark was and how in his short 56 years he made the world a better place. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  16. Rachel Whitehead :

    I never met Mark but my brother Johnny worked with him and here are some nice things he had to say about Mark..

    “He’s one of those guys I wish you would have met because of how unique and great he was
    A fireball of energy.
    He would talk and talk and talk and he never said a bad word about anyone or anything.. I would be in the locker room and I could hear him having a conversation with someone and I’d walk in and it was him just talking to himself ” RIP Mark

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