To the friends and acquaintances of Mark Burda, he regrettably passed on May 14.

He is survived by his wife, Susanne. They had relocated to northern Florida to enjoy the next leg of their journey.

Mark, the son of a military family, is survived by a brother and sister and their families. Mark was a Navy veteran.

Finished with the military, he pursued less confrontational venues and for a better part of that time wine was that venue. First-hand experience included a vineyard in Washington state and another based in Madrid. Lucky to enter this field in a time when America was just waking up to wine, he had a great time and brought great times to many people. His wine odyssey took him as far south as Texas and then on to the Virgin Islands.

If memory serves me correctly, he landed here in 1989, another just pre-Hugo story.

While in the V.I., he continued in wine and spirit sales with Bellows, Terry Buder (Quality Foods) in St. Croix, next with the Hotel 1829 group as manager at their Gregory East restaurant, and finally at A. H. Riise as the wine, spirits and tobacco buyer.

His passions, besides life, was cooking. No one in their right mind would turn down an invitation to one of his meals. His brisket, exquisite and yet so maddening as one wanted more but had to use restraint so the other guests might enjoy it also.

Then, later on in life he met Susanne. She married him, to his great joy. What a couple!

Fishing was another of his pursuits, which what it really was, if one was guaranteed to bring at least one home, the sport would be called "catching." The point, whatever Mark did, he did with passion as anyone who fishes knows passion has to be involved.

His 68 years here were too short and one can only have faith that somehow, somewhere we’ll meet up again.

Family, friends, employers and values were his life and he defended them as such.

Rest in peace Mark, and all of us who knew him give pause to remember him from time to time.

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