Door and Window Musings
by Tara Taffera
April 25th, 2018

Missing One of Our Own

One of the greatest things about this industry is the people. You really do form relationships that quickly turn into friendships, as many of you know. Yes, we are industry colleagues first, but sometimes the lines are quickly blurred and you can’t help but call a particular colleague a friend. They ask about your kids, your spouse — bottom line, they just care about you. There are certain people who stand out, and for me Mark Toth was one of those people.

Mark Toth was a devoted AAMA member (he’s shown here at a meeting in 2006).

So when another one of my industry friends and colleagues, Jim Plavecsky from Windowtech Sales, emailed me on the afternoon of March 31 to ask me if I knew Mark had passed away, I was shocked. Mark was one of those great people who stood out. I knew him mainly from his time at HB Fuller, and then Momentive, and he was an expert in insulating glass.

As a regular at AAMA meetings, he was one of the first people who welcomed me in many years ago. He always had a hug (he did remind me of a Teddy Bear) and kind words. “How’s the family?” was one of the first things he would always say. He never greeted me with anything other than a big smile.

In fact, another one of his IG industry friends and colleagues, Rich Brevik from Argon Filling Systems, says that’s what he will miss most about Mark—his smile and his wit.

“I have known Mark more than 15 years,” said Brevik. “As both colleagues and friends. We traveled a lot together, went on a few fishing trips … He was very funny.”

He really was a friend to all.

“Mark had customers in every part of the USA and Canada, and knew stories of each one of them,” said Brevik. “He was a positive and friendly voice in the industry who shared a big smile with everyone he met, and he remembered your name when he saw you, even if it had been many years since your last encounter. His absence at national meetings will be felt by many.”

Jim and Mark have been friends since they both started working for Tremco together in the late 1980s, when Mark was in sales and Jim was in marketing.

“It was like boot camp,” Jim said. “We worked for someone who was a leader in Vietnam—a real tough guy. He would call us in if we were losing an account and he would ream us out and yell. We would just laugh about it later on over a beer.”

Jim was cracking up when he told me that story (and a few others) and had me laughing right along with him as he shared stories of Mark’s dry-witted humor.

Even when the two left Tremco for different companies, and even worked for competitors, they always stayed friends. “He was just an awesome guy,” said Jim.

No one knows that better than his family. Mark is survived by his wife Lynn, two daughters and a son. Brevik said Mark doted on his family and his increasing number of grandchildren.

Mark passed away a few days before I received that email from Jim on that Sunday afternoon. There was no obituary published and no service held per his wishes. His final resting place was perhaps fitting; his family reportedly scattered his ashes into his favorite fishing spot in a lake in Northern Minnesota.

He will be missed by all. If you would like to share a memory of Mark, please post a comment here. I know myself, Rich, Jim and others in the industry would love to hear them.

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6 comments
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  1. Tara,.

    Thank you so much for writing about Mark. Like you, Jim P emailed us and told us the news. We were absolutely heartbroken.

    I’ve known Mark for over 15 years and as you noted, he ALWAYS welcomed you with a smile and a hug and knew your children’s names and what grades they were in. One of the kindest and most genuine people in the industry. He was just the proudest Father when talking about his daughter’s wedding and was beyond the proudest grandfather!!!

    We will miss Mark tremendously!!!

  2. Tara,

    A great tribute to a great guy.

    I’ve known Mark for well over 25 years as a vendor, customer, and friend. He was always a professional and a gentleman. We were partners in just about every AAMA conference golf scramble that we both attended. When he connected, NO ONE could hit the ball further. We always enjoyed looking for and picking out XL and XXL “gear” together in the pro shop with our prize money.

    Thank you for writing such a nice story about him.

  3. Everyone has heard the phrase “he is a gentleman and a scholar”. Mark wrote the book on being a gentleman and was a scholar in his approach to dealing with people. I feel fortunate to be able to call Mark a friend and to have worked closely with him during our time together at Tremco. Mark told me that the best thing about his job was building relationships with his customers, I am quite certain he did a very good job.

  4. Thanks for your warm words Tara, Erin, Ken, Joe, Rich and Jim! You all said it right and complete!

    I was working as Mark’s technical support in HBFuller Canada for 10 years….
    We traveled a lot together….
    I took care of customers technical needs…and Mark was taking care of me! He was REAL GENTLEMAN! I knew I was SAFE, had place to stay, well fed….and always was picked up and dropped off….I didn’t feel spoiled, I just felt safe and appreciated.

    FULLER and FULLER’s customers were our main bond, but we had 2 major mutual interests : JAZZ and GRANDKIDS! Who had more grandkids and we both had a grand-daughter named Scarlet with one “t”.

    When Mark joined Fuller in 2008 he called me and ask if he can visit to Toronto to meet Canadian customers end of June. “Sure! It’s end of June : I will pick you up in airport, take you to hotel and I am going to jazz festival in down-town Toronto” “I said “OH! CAN I JOIN YOU?” I bought 2 tickets for Gene Harris Quartet ….and came to pick him up to airport. I had no idea how he looked but he had Fuller shirt and hat (ALWAYS!).
    We had a great time! Dinner and music!
    Few days later I received the card with big THANK YOU and personal check covering both tickets : Mark’s and mine! Gentleman!

    Me and all Fuller Window Team were shocked and heart broken when we heard the news about Mark’s sudden death. It’s the way too early!
    We will miss Mark a lot!

  5. Tara,

    This is a great tribute to Mark.

    I am glad to be able to add to the list of the people who knew Mark and know that he was a positive influence for many people.

    I was always impressed by the way Mark would remember peoples’ names, and truly be interested in them, their family, and who they were. Not only customers, but all people Mark interacted with.

    Mark was genuine, honest, witty, and just a great person to be around. I will miss Mark.

  6. Thanks for doing this Tara,
    Anyone that knew him misses Mark. He was a great friend, full of knowledge in all aspects of the fenestration business and always willing to help. Mark could always make you laugh. He also knew where to fish and find a good veal chop with a good bottle of Zinfandel. Mr. Fun was Mark Toth!

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