Born February 13, 1968
Born to Eternal Life February 18, 2023
It is with profound loss that we inform you of the death of Mark Jeffries McWhirter. In a tragic accident, Mark was hit by a vehicle while biking the early morning hours of February 14, 2023, the day after his 55th birthday. He was on life support for the next few days and died on February 18, 2023, the same day as his father’s funeral Mass and Celebration of Life.
He was a lifelong committed Catholic, a beloved flight attendant for America West/American Airlines, a compassionate, thoughtful, and giving friend, a loyal adopted son of Notre Dame, and a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, uncle, co-worker and employer. He leaves behind his loving wife of nearly 21 years, Katie, and four sons: Thomas Daniel (19), Benedict Leo (17), Dominic Croix (15) and Vincent Rock (12).
Mark graduated from Tempe High School and received his bachelors’ degree in History from Arizona State University. He spent a year of service in Peru to support the work of the Congregation of Holy Cross and has maintained a life-long connection to friends and family in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. He has worked for America West/American Airlines since 1991, briefly in reservations and ground crew, and then for most his 30-plus year career as a highly skilled flight attendant who was beloved by crewmates. Mark was also a property owner and manager, interacting with hundreds of people yearly and highly respected by the people who worked with and for him.
More than anything else, Mark was a humble, kind, and caring person who was gracious in all his interactions, helpful and loyal to his family and friends, fun to be with, and always treated everyone with dignity. He and Katie were committed to raising their sons as faith-filled Catholic young men who are bilingual, socially conscious, and caring. Every year he traveled with his sons to Chile or Ecuador to have long Spanish immersion experiences as part of their formation and to enhance their Spanish language development. Mark loved being in the outdoors and backpacking and hiking with his four boys and his Labrador retrievers, as well as street and mountain biking. Mark made an impact on everyone he met, and even on some he did not. As an organ donor, Mark has saved three other lives.
It is an understatement to say that Mark was a huge fan of Notre Dame football. But he treasured even more the mission, values, reach, and impact of the University of Notre Dame, where his son Thomas is now a student.
Mark lived and died in the full love of his family and is survived by his wife Kathryn Jo (Katie) McWhirter (nee Millard), his children: Thomas Daniel, Benedict Leo, Dominic Croix, and Vincent Rock; his mother Mary Clare McWhirter; his four siblings and their spouses: Robert J. McWhirter (Gina Huerta), Benedict McWhirter (Ellen Hawley McWhirter), Anna McWhirter (John Pitner), and Paula McWhirter (Mark Todd McWhirter [nee Schrader]); 13 nieces and nephews and 5 grand nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Dr. J. Jeffries McWhirter, his brother Paul John McWhirter, and uncles Fr. Robert Plasker, C.S.C, and Fr. Alexander Plasker, O.S.B., with whom he was very close.
Mark was a lifelong learner and hoped that all four of his sons will continue their educations. In lieu of flowers, donations to a memorial account for a 529 college plan will support this dream for his boys and are greatly appreciated. Venmo your gift to @McWhirterBoysEducation. Zelle will also be accepted.
Mark’s Celebration of Life will be held at the Arizona State University All Saints Catholic Newman Center on Saturday, March 11, visitation at 9:00 a.m., Mass at 10:00 a.m. Lunch and reception immediately following at the Newman Center: 230 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281.
Es con profunda pérdida que les informamos de la muerte de Mark Jeffries McWhirter. En un trágico accidente, Mark fue atropellado por un vehículo mientras andaba en bicicleta la madrugada del 14 de febrero de 2023, el día después de cumplir 55 años. Estuvo con soporte vital durante los siguientes días y murió el 18 de febrero de 2023, el mismo día de la Misa del funeral de su padre y la Celebración de la Vida. Esta fue una tragedia sumada al profundo dolor de toda la familia y la comunidad.
La Misa de funeral para Mark McWhirter será el sabado, 11 de Marzo con velorio a las 9:00 y la Misa a las 10:00 de la mañana. Recepción y almuerzo seguirá. Todo se llevará a cabo en ASU Catholic Newman Center 230 E. University Drive, Tempe AZ, 85281.
I last flew with Mark on Jan 23rd. He’s such a lovely and kind coworker who will truly be missed. He talked so highly about his father and how much he was missing him.
Condolence to the McWhirter family.
Rest in heaven, Mark.
Marks faith in God and love for his family was evident in the way he lived each day and every person he interacted with. His intellect and social conscious was to be admired as he lived what he believed. He attributed this because he was raised by amazing, loving, educated parents and aspired to be the same for his 4 sons in which he was so proud of.
He was an amazing flight attendant and touched thousands of peoples lives. Turning the absolute worst situation around to smiles and handshakes was incredible. I was lucky enough to work with him.
He was such a Notre Dame fan, I’ll think of him warmly every time I see that logo . He was so excited when his son was accepted. Praying continually for his wife and family through this excruciating time. May the love he lived make them strong.
Mark was one of my closest childhood friends. What an example of a life well lived! I have such fond memories of the time I enjoyed with him so many years ago. What a blessing it was to have grown up with Mark. Rest in Peace my friend.
Katie and boys you have been in my prayers daily. I am so sorry for your loss. You all are a remarkable family & though we didn’t see each other often, it was always a joy to get together and get caught up on the news of your family, especially the boys. May God keep all of you in His loving arms.
Although I will miss Mark in this life, I am grateful he lives on the the lives of three others. My condolences to Katie and the boys, Mary Clare and the rest of the family.
Sylvia Ann Gaffney
Katie and the boys are in our thoughts and prayers. Mark’s death is a true tragedy and leaving behind his wonderful sons and his lasting legacy of his support for the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Sending our love and support during this difficult time.
Thomas J Budnik
Dear Katie and Family
We were so saddened to learn of the untimely death of your husband Mark. Please accept our sincere sympathy. Know that we will keep you and your family in our prayers at this difficult time.
Sinceely, Tom and Terri Budnik
Mark was my elementary school friend who left to go to Turkey for a year…. I thought I would never see him again. When he returned he became my fast friend until he left for Australia in HS. When he returned we continued that friendship through HS graduation and beyond.
I look forward to my next heavenly reunion with Mark! Miss you Buddy!
Mark you were a good friend through college and a good man. Though we lost track of each other after college I knew you would continue to grow in the love of our Lord and seek to humbly serve others. Your obituary testifies to this and all those you touched. Mark truly lived liked the Dan Fogelburg song Nexus that we would sing together
“Wealthy the spirit
That knows its own flight
Stealthy the hunter
Who slays his own fright
Blessed the traveler
Who journeys the length of the light”
You clearly did all that and more. Rest in peace my friend and I will lift up your wife, children and extended family as they mourn their loss of you. Via con Dios mi amigo.