God brought Reuben “Mark” Sulc home to heaven on September 16, 2023 after a two-year battle with Glioblastoma.
Born on September 29, 1957 in Hagerstown, MD, Mark spent most of his childhood living in Brasil where his parents were missionaries. After graduating as valedictorian of his high school in Campinas, Brasil, he moved back to the states and attended Iowa State University where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master's degrees from the Department of Agronomy.
At Iowa State, Mark met Sally at an event that mainly had students from Brasil in attendance. Since Sally didn’t speak Portuguese yet, she ended up following Mark around and by the end of the night was quite impressed by the eligible young bachelor she had just met. They were married on August 7, 1982. Mark and Sally continued to share a common burden for ministering to international students during the 41 years of their marriage. There was no question that Mark loved Sally and the family they built together — he was a faithful provider, a devoted husband, and a loving and fun dad.
Mark went on to get his PhD in Madison, WI before starting his 30 year career at The Ohio State University in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences where he was a forage extension specialist. Mark was an intensely focused, disciplined, dedicated, and honest man both professionally and personally. He set an example to strive for excellence and to never stop learning. He would spend hours painstakingly reviewing his graduate students’ papers to ensure each sentence was perfected. Everything he did, he did to excellence.
Mark enjoyed woodworking, hiking, sailing, camping, biking, studying, and the beach. During one vacation to the beach in March, he was the only one out in the freezing cold water, surfing the waves and pleading with Sally to stay for “just one more perfect ride.” On the other hand, he hated mayonnaise, mustard, avocados, cilantro, tuna, shoes on the floor, and eating the same thing for dinner twice in a row. He tolerated card games for the sake of his wife and children, but loved to play sports, especially soccer. He thought deeply about everything, thrived with order, and never did anything half-heartedly. Loading the car for vacations was a marathon event, but everything always fit! He had a tendency to miss when a conversation had progressed; his family and friends often teased him when he would interject a thought that he had been mulling over while the rest of them had moved on. But Mark wasn’t always serious; he loved “dad jokes” and playing with his grandkids.
Mark exemplified humility. Though he was often hard on himself, he also understood that perfection could only be attained through trusting in Christ (Philippians 1:6). He knew God loved him and had forgiven him and he directed much of his discipline and focus to communicating God’s love to the people God had placed in his life. He and Sally faithfully led bible studies for international students in their home for years, impacting hundreds of students by teaching them the Bible and loving them wholeheartedly. Mark was also an elder at Vertical Church and was consistently dedicated to serving behind the scenes. Throughout his journey with cancer, Mark’s ambition was to know God in a deeper way and to share his hope with others.
Mark is survived by his wife Sally; children Peter, Kelsey (Quest), Nathan (Maggie), Jenna (Josh); grandchildren Joshua, Milly, Easton and Laney; siblings Debbie (Tim) and Mike (Julie); brother-in-law Jeff; and golden retriever Kody. He is preceded in death by his parents Reuben and Kay and sister Beverly.
Mark’s life was a living testament of Psalm 34:8, “Oh taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed (happy, joyful, full) is the man who takes refuge in him!”
Family will receive friends for visitation from 4-7pm on Friday, September 22, at Vertical Church (1290 Old Henderson Rd, Columbus, OH 43220). The memorial service will be held 3 pm on Saturday, September 23, 2023 at Vertical Church. A private burial for the family will be held on Saturday morning at Wesley Chapel Cemetery (3225 Dublin Rd, Hilliard, OH 43026).
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to IFI's Columbus Ministry Fund in honor of Mark: