By Marie Tolonen
Chisholm Tribune Press
BUHL — The city of Buhl is mourning the loss of Dennis Marks, a former mayor and city councilor who died last Friday after a short but courageous battle with cancer. He was 75.
Marks served one term as a city councilor in Buhl, from 1998-2001, before being elected as mayor in 2002. Throughout the years, he also represented the city on various boards and commissions, including the Buhl Parks and Recreation Board and the Central Iron Range Sanitary Sewer District.
During an interview on Wednesday, St. Louis County Commissioner Mike Jugovich described Marks as a “tireless advocate for Buhl and the Iron Range.”
Buhl Mayor John Klarich echoed the commissioner’s sentiments, adding that Marks had been a progressive mayor and dedicated volunteer, who always had the city’s best interest at heart. “He was a good citizen and a good mayor,” Klarich said.
Buhl City Clerk Ryan Pervenanze said on Wednesday that he never had the opportunity to work with Marks on the city council, but that it was apparent from conversations he had with the former mayor that he deeply cared about his community.
Marks graduated from Martin Hughes High School in Buhl in 1962. Three years later, he married Sharon. Besides his wife, survivors include his daughters, Kim Poaletti and Stacy Houge, siblings Betty Cipperly, Dick Marks, Tom Marks, Debra Bachel along with grandchildren: Tony Poaletti, Brayden Houge, Mikko Houge, Adriana Houge and numerous nieces and nephews.
Marks spent decades working for Hanna Mining Company in various locations including their research lab and ore docks on Lake Superior. As a city leader, he played a major role in bringing a number of major projects to his hometown.
He helped launch the former Kids Peace juvenile detention center. He was a board director for the Buhl Nursing Home who was instrumental in the development of Cornerstone Villa nursing home and assisted living facility. He also was part of a mineland reclamation project that led to the creation of the Stubler Beach and Campground. He also served the city as a volunteer fireman and ambulance driver. And as the chairman of the Buhl Parks and Recreation Board, he helped bring youth hockey to the community. He would also volunteer as a youth hockey coach for a number of years.
In 2005, Marks stepped up to fill a void on the CIRSSD Board of Directors, with the passing of former chair and Buhl representative Craig Pulford.
“During his tenure on the CIRSSD Board, Dennis proudly represented the best interest of the city of Buhl providing valuable insight and input,” CIRSSD Executive Director Norm Miranda said on Wednesday. “We will always appreciate his contribution to the success of the district."
Marks is remembered for his willingness to help others. In his spare time, he enjoyed woodworking and was known to share his projects with others.
A memorial service for Marks is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, at Rupp Funeral Home Chapel in Chisholm.