Mark Lawrence "Big Foot" Rosser, 67, died peacefully Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, at his home in downtown Fairbanks. He was born Oct. 16, 1949, in Murphysboro, Illinois, and raised in a farmhouse on Oil City Road in Cassopolis, Michigan. He was the oldest of eight siblings. If you met Mark, you would never forget him. An epic storyteller with a booming laugh and a wide circle of friends, Mark loved a good party. He was a legend in the union hall and on the job site, at the Big I, The Boatel and the Hideaway, and in his river boat, which he loved to pilot down the Chena River on sunny summer days. You'd recognize him by his strong, 6-foot 4-inch frame, size 15 feet and big, friendly wave complete with missing middle finger. Mark and his wife, Michelle ("Mikki"), were married for 44 years, with two daughters and three grandchildren, of whom he was incredibly proud. Mark and Mikki were married in 1972 in their hometown, Cassopolis, and headed off to Alaska in 1973 on Mark's suggestion - much to Mikki's surprise. They jumped right in to the Alaska lifestyle, homesteading on a 5-acre plot near Talkeetna inaccessible by road. They lived in their 12 feet-by-16 feet cabin for eight years. They kept a dog team and used it to get to town for supplies, to visit friends and frequent the Fairview. In 1982, Mark ran the Iditarod, starting in 50th place in nothing but bunny boots and a RefrigiWear suit, and finished 21 days later in 32nd place with the notable distinction of being the only racer to cross the finish line with a hitchhiker in the sled. Mark was a proud union laborer and in 1974 he joined Laborers Local 942. He worked out of the hall until his retirement in 2001 at age 52. For a few years after his retirement, he had the pleasure of driving camera crews from "Ice Road Truckers" up the Haul Road and regaling them with stories of his days working on the pipeline and on the Slope. Mark (and Mikki, of course) will long be remembered for their generosity and the open-door policy at their home on Denali Way. Many friends and family members stayed with the Rossers for a few days, a few weeks and even years, benefiting from the support of honest, hardworking people who loved to laugh and share a good meal. Mark was a second father to many, a caring big brother and a loyal friend. Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Edward Charles Rosser and Isabelle Ann Rosser. He is survived by his wife, Mikki; and two daughters, Nara Rosser (Matthew Mattson) and Jessica (Joel) Burger; three grandchildren, Sawyer Burger, and Lola and Delilah Mattson; and his seven siblings, Mary Murray, Kathy (Larry) Harper, Ellen (Marc) Sulkosky, Julie (Gary) Thompson, Tony Rosser, Joseph Rosser, and Maureen Rosser; and his many nieces and nephews. He also is survived by Darrell Edie (Courtney Eggleston); and Darrell's daughters, Lydia and Lacey. A celebration of life is planned from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, upstairs at the Elks Lodge, 1003 Pioneer Road, In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mark's name to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Hospice Services, 2001 Gillam Way, Fairbanks, AK 99701.
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