YOUNG, Mark Steven



In his own words:

I have had an incredibly lucky life. I was fortunate to have been born in Canada not long after the end of World War II, just as Canadian society was on the cusp of great change. For most, the standard of living increased dramatically. By the time I was a young adult we had universal Medicare, unemployment insurance, the Canada Pension Plan and old age security. University education was affordable and unemployment rates were low. All of these factors meant that, notwithstanding that I was born into very modest circumstances (neither of my parents finished high school) I was able to have a very successful and comfortable life.

I grew up in Brandon, Manitoba but left to go to university in Winnipeg, where I continued to live after graduating. It was there that I met my first wife, Cathy. After a short career as a professional engineer, I went back to university to get a law degree. I worked for several years as a litigator for Manitoba Public Insurance.

In the mid-1990s I felt the need to shake up my life. Within the space of two years I quit my job, went back to university to get an MBA, moved to Calgary, got a new job, divorced my wife and met my new wife, Sarah Dafoe.

In Calgary I became the head of the city’s litigation branch. I loved living and working in Calgary, but I left for Edmonton in 2004 to be with Sarah, who had moved back there for family reasons. We married shortly after. Meeting Sarah was another unbelievably lucky thing that happened to me. She is a wonderful woman who loved me as deeply and passionately as I loved her. It is only recently that I have come to realize how rare it is for people to find their soulmates.

In Edmonton I was the head of the city’s litigation section. I loved being a litigator and being in court. Early on in my legal career I realized that I had a real knack for courtroom work. It’s not often that cross-examinations unfold the way they’re depicted on TV, but I had several that did. I never tired of telling people about them.

I retired in 2013. For several years after that I was a member of Edmonton’s subdivision and development appeal board. That was a great experience for me that allowed me to use my legal training and experience. I particularly enjoyed writing decisions that involved complex legal issues.

I am survived by my dear wife, Sarah Dafoe; my amazing 96-year old mother, Pearl Young of Winnipeg (who continues to be more active than most 60-year olds!); my sister Toni Russell of Kelowna and her daughters Carlie and Michelle; and my sister Teri Young (Lorne Rear) of Winnipeg and her children Jenny and Charlie.

It was a fantastic life. Thank you to everyone I met along the way who made it so rich and memorable.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Donations in memory of Mark may be made to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

Chelsea Evans-Rymes

We are all thinking of you and your family. Mark’s inspiring words are a great reminder to live and life to its fullest.

Jim Wall

I was a member of the subdivision development appeal Board of the city of Edmonton as was Mark. I was always impressed by Mark’s ability as a member of panels particularly when he was the presiding officer. In addition to Mark’s obvious abilities I found him easy to talk to and knowledgeable on a number of different subjects and above all else Mark was a true gentleman and he will be missed. My thoughts and sincere sympathy go out to Mark’s family at this difficult time.

Gayla Kozun

Sarah, I’m so sorry to hear about Mark. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

Kathy and Rob Brower

Sarah we are so very fortunate to have had some visits with you and Mark. Never once was he without a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. May you take comfort in your beautiful memories and solace in the love of your family.

Fritzi Lindow-Sprung and Christian Sprung

Sarah, to hear from you about Mark made us very sad. We are very happy to get known him last September in Düsseldorf. It was a great day. Our thoughts are with you.

Marilyne Goudreau and Earl McNeil

Our deepest condolences to Sarah and family. Beautiful words, you can really hear Mark’s voice throughout. He clearly lived well and loved life!

Ilene and Richard Larson

Richard and I were very saddened to hear of Mark’s passing. Anytime we ran into you and Mark, we always enjoyed our conversations. We are thinking of you as you mourn his loss.
Ilene and Richard Larson

Don Fleming

I had the pleasure of working with Mark at the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. I recall saying to him that I had noticed how frequently the younger lawyers on the Board and other lawyers who appeared at our hearings took the time to compliment him on his work or to bring him up to date on those he had mentored in his career. It is clear that he earned the respect of a great many people in his life. He will be missed.

Barry Clothier and Maggie Lair

We are so saddened by this… words are inadequate. Mark was the finest kind. Sarah, know that you are both in our minds and in our hearts.

Nolan and Debbie Steed

Mark wrote a beautiful obituary. It was full of thankfulness for life. Our deepest sympathies.

Tom Rothwell

Sarah, I am sorry to hear of your loss. I never met Mark but heard about his skills and talents from many lawyers. Please accept my sincere condolences on your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Gary Lutz

Sarah and family. I am so sad to read about Mark. I had the pleasure of working with Mark for many years at the Law Branch. In that time I came to know Mark as a man of intelligence, integrity, quick wit and a wonderful sense of humor. And, a husband who loved his wife very much. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Rana and Robert Burley

Dear Sarah, Rob and I truly loved getting to know Mark when he entered your life. We admired his intelligence and humour. And his style and joy for life. The racing stripes! The vespa! The vivacious woman at his side! It was obvious that the two of you made a perfect match. It is very special to read this notice in Mark’s own words – it shows his strength of character and his compassion and pride in a life well-lived. Please know that we are steadfast in our love and support for you.

Richard Dekker

My sincere condolences Sarah on your loss. I first met Mark while he kept leaving the city parkade downtown in his Miata and caught up with him one day, after which he joined the Miata club. Two Miatas later and it was always nice to see him or the two of you out an event. Be well and the club will help you through the difficult times ahead.

Jenny Randall

Sarah, I sorry that I never met Mark but since you chose to share life’s journey with him he must have been a fine man. I am sad that I cannot come to be with you and support you in this great loss but I am glad you have a support network around you there. Our prayers and thoughts are with you at this time. Aroha mai, aroha atu (Maori meaning “Love received, love returned”)



I have many happy memories of you and Mark. No matter the place, occasion or company, the one constant was the joy you and Mark felt in each other’s company. I am so sorry your time together was not longer, but what a wonderful journey you shared.

Verna Kwan

Sarah, sorry to hear about Mark. My deepest condolences to you and your family. My thoughts are with you.

Rob Beck

Cheryl and I wanted to express our deepest sympathies to Sarah, her family and Mark’s family at this difficult time. Our thoughts are with you.

Marie Strauss

Sarah: My deepest condolences to you and your family. Thinking of you during this difficult time, and I am hopeful that you can find some solace in the memories of the time you had together. Take care.

Shelley and Peter Teasdale

Sarah, we are so sorry to hear about Mark. We recall seeing you both at Interstellar Rodeo and you both had that joie de vivre aura as you shared in your joy of music. Out thoughts are with you.

Allan Delgado

Mark – you will be missed. As Director, you lead our office with kindness and friendliness. As a friend, you were the exact same person. Your thoughtfulness, gracious demeanor, and humor made a mark on me. My first and only trip to Vegas was with you and our colleagues and it was a great experience. I will always remember the great meal at the Gordon Ramsey restaurant.

Sarah – my deep and sincere condolences for your loss. Mark is an amazing person and I am thinking of you and your family.

Marc Song

Sarah- My sincere condolences. I will always think of Mark as such a kind person. I always looked forward to playing against him at the Granite curling club lawyer’s league. He was always genuinely friendly and had an easy going way about him. He will be missed. Take care.

Cathryn (Cathy) Duxbury

I worked with Mark at the City of Edmonton. He was a wonderful colleague and a good man. I admired how much he enjoyed his work, his calm and steady approach as a manager, and was touched by his very obvious love for his wife, Sarah. I am so sorry for your loss, Sarah. My deepest condolences to you and to your entire family. Take care.

Erin Skinner

I met Mark just once and was struck by the deep and obvious connection and love between the two of you. I’m glad you were able to travel with a soul mate along a portion of life’s journey. I am so sorry your time together was cut short.

Will Randall and Graham Axford

We want to express our deepest condolences to Sarah and the larger family. May you take solace in the memories of the fine life that Mark led. You are in our thoughts.

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