Mark Twain Justice, 73, of Huntington, Utah, died Sunday, March 5, 2023, at his home, surrounded by his loving family. Mark was born on March 7, 1949, in Price, Utah, the last of six children born to George Jennings Justice and Esther Jerome Majors. He was reared and educated in Huntington and graduated from Emery County High School in 1967. His love of learning and people served him well throughout his life. He enjoyed school and had an affinity for sports, both of which he excelled at. He went on to play baseball and basketball for the College of Eastern Utah. Many individuals may not know his full name, as he was often referred to as Coach Justice. Mark was very goal-oriented, so finding a notebook, a scrap of paper, or a cut piece of cardboard with the tasks he set to accomplish throughout the day wasn't unusual. His ability to set and achieve goals, his work ethic, and his genuine love of the youth were all characteristics that made it so natural for him to be a coach for 57 years of his life.
During his junior year at college, Mark married Kathy Nielson and, shortly after, entered into a family wood and coal sales business in Salt Lake City. While both went on to remarry later in life, Mark and Kathy raised seven wonderful children over the next 40 years together. The travel back and forth to the city became difficult with a growing family, so in 1972 Mark joined brother Orson in Justice Meat Packing. In 1975 he sold out his interest and went to work as a warehouse manager at Wattis Plateau Coal Mine, and a year later, he left the mine to become an American Coal purchasing agent. When an insurance firm representative approached him in 1978, the idea of working for himself was appealing. In 1980 he bought an old dry goods store and turned it into an insurance office. Mark is quoted as saying it was the best move he ever made. During his first few months with Canada Life, Mark won the Pepper Award, and he completed his first year by winning the Captain's Club Chair. Mark later purchased an office in Price and brought his son Chris into the business as a partner in 1999. Mark learned tax preparation from his brother, John, and was able to add personal and business returns as a service to the community as well. His sons Chris and Mike now run Carbon Emery Insurance with an office in Price and Huntington.
Mark was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among the many callings he held over the years was that of church auctioneer, where he used his salesmanship skills to help increase the church building fund. He liked to be involved, to help others, and has always been very community-minded. Bringing people together, planning community events, participating in social activities, and supporting his friends and neighbors during times of happiness and sorrow meant a great deal to him. Mark served on the Huntington City Council for 12 years. One of his favorite duties was preparing for Huntington Heritage Days, an annual city celebration commemorating the history and traditions of the valley. He was also very fond of the Castle Valley Pageant, performed in an authentic pioneer-like setting where true stories of the valley's settling are portrayed. He served as president of the pageant for several years.
In 2013, Mark married Julie Thompson Kofford. When Mark wasn't selling insurance, preparing taxes, playing or coaching sports, or raising a family, he was constructing houses. Together with his wife, Julie, they built a house in Huntington. Over the past ten years, they have enjoyed working in Carbon and Emery County, visiting kids and grandkids or watching them participate in various activities all over the state, leisurely travel, and another of Mark's passions, planting trees and flower and vegetable gardens. He is known affectionately as the Main Street Gardener.
Mark was diagnosed with cancer in April 2021, and a new journey began. As stated by Stuart Scott, "When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live." Mark exemplified patience, tolerance, and courage during his journey, never complaining and continuing to take advantage of opportunities to serve others as was his way. He is quoted as saying, 'Life and happiness are determined by one's attitude.' As evidenced by his contagious smile and bright and engaging personality, Mark loved life, and he loved people. He will be missed by so many!
Mark is survived by his wife, Julie, his children, Mark Justice, Jr, Chris (Courtnee) Justice, Jenny (Mike) Gagon, Matt (Breezee) Justice, Tim ( Brianne) Justice, Mike (Tiffanie) Justice, Dave (Keera) Justice, step-children, Kyann (Bowdie) Feichko, KC (Taylor) Kofford, Jed Kofford (deceased), 26 grandchildren and 1 great-grandbaby.
Funeral services will be held at the Huntington Stake Center on Monday, March 13, 2023, at 11:00 am. A viewing will be held Sunday evening from 6-8:00 pm and between 9:30 and 10:30 Monday morning. Interment will follow in the Huntington City Cemetery entrusted to Fausett Mortuary.
Family and friends may sign the online guestbook and share memories of Mark at www.fausettmortuary.com.
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