Wall of Remembrance

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning; We will remember them. These famous words come from the famous poem, For the Fallen, by Robert Laurence Binyon.

We invite you to add veterans to our interactive Wall of Remembrance website. We hope that by sharing who they were, it will provide us with another opportunity to honour their contribution. We will remember them.

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Date of Birth: December 11 1970
Date of Death: February 11 2015
Province: NB
Served With: Canadian Forces
Served In: Air Force
Search and Rescue Unit - 435 Squadron Winnipeg
435 Squadron
Rank: Sergeant
War/Conflict: Other

by : Elizabeth A. Quinn

Sgt Mark Anthony Salesse
December 11, 1970 – February 11, 2015

My beloved son Mark died in an avalanche during a Canadian Armed Forces training mission in The Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park on a very challenging and sought-after ice climb named ‘Polar Circus’. On Thursday, February 5, 2015, Mark and his climbing partner had reached the summit of Polar Circus and were on the descent; Mark was the leader and was walking across a large ledge (20m x 100m) when he was swept away, by an avalanche, approximately 80 metres below only to be swept a further 100 metres. His climbing partner luckily was unhurt. Although Mark was an experienced climber, it was humanly impossible to survive this fall. After searching for a few hours, the partner could not locate Mark. It was snowing lightly at the time; however rescue operations altered due to impending bad weather and to the threat of further avalanches; the area had to be secured before rescue could be continued. – The facts, however, made it obvious that the rescue mission was to become a recovery mission. With the help of probes, K9 units, metal detectors, and sonar wave, Mark’s body was recovered under 2.7 metres of snow by Parks Canada Search and Rescue crew on the morning of February 11, 2015.

Mark was the son of Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Quinn (Robert Brady) of Moncton, N.B., and of Maurice Salesse (Melita Roy-Gionet) of Chamberlain Settlement, N.B. – He was predeceased by an infant sister, Micheline Yvonne (1975).

As a young child growing up in Chamberlain Settlement, he enjoyed his time with the Boy Scouts and later Air Cadets. In January 1982, Mark and I moved to a downtown apartment; times were tough as a single parent so Mark took on a delivery route for the Northern Light along Murray Avenue and tributaries to make some spending money.

In the summer of 1984, while I was recuperating from cervical cancer surgery, Mark returned to reside with his father and be closer to his childhood friends; he remained with his dad till the late fall of 1985 when he moved in with his beloved grandfather Leo Quinn. He finished his year at Bathurst High School, and then in late June 1986, Mark moved to Ottawa with me. In his drafting course at Merivale High School he achieved the highest award for his architectural drawing; although he never pursued a career in this, he was quite capable of designing free-hand any project he needed to construct. – While at school, Mark worked part-time job at a pharmacy filling shelves and at a bike repair shop, and later was employed with a courier service in downtown Ottawa where he became known as the fastest and dependable runner/biker on staff. – Mark was always a gentle caring boy growing up however life wasn’t always roses for a single parent and a teenage boy in a big city. Between the ages of 15-17, Mark was a regular teenage boy with growing pains and challenges; tough love played a role. I was happy that with professional guidance and my continued support he chose the right path in life. I met my husband Robert in January of 1987; he was a positive and loving influence in Mark’s life.

In the fall of 1989, after years of wanting to become a Footguard but too young to enroll, Mark was accepted in the Governor General’s Footguards, a Reserve Infantry Unit; he served on Parliament Hill and at the Governor General’s manor in Ottawa in the summer of 1990. Robert and I, and my brothers George and Johnny and sister Anna, were at Mark’s graduation; it was such a proud moment for all of us! We were, and are, so very delighted of his focus and his achievements.
At my wedding in September 1990 he was best-man to my husband Robert Brady; they had become great friends and would enjoy each other tremendously over the next 25 years. Mark looked to Robert as a mentor and sought his wisdom on many of his life’s journeys..

In October 1990, Mark moved to Vancouver and enrolled in the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), a Reserve Force armoured reconnaissance unit, and served until 1998. It is during this time that he met his lifelong friends, Denis & Claire Byrne. – Mark, as Master Corporal, served as Peacekeeper with the NATO mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of Operation Palladium on two separate tours, one for which he was awarded with the NATO Medal for Former Yugoslavia, the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, and the Non-Article 5 NATO Medal for Operations in the Balkans. Upon his return to Canada, Mark transferred to the Regular Force with the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI) based at Winnipeg where he served with honour and distinction.
He received a Land Force Western Area Commander’s Commendation on Operation Prudence for his deployment in the Central African Republic from October 1998 to January 1999; Mark was noted as a role model and a team builder.

In late June 2002, Mark was with special security forces during the G8 Summit which was held at Kananaskis, Alberta. The summits are unofficial forums which bring together the heads of the richest industrialized countries. They are also a venue for widespread debates, protests and demonstrations; some of which can become quite volatile.

It was in the summer of 2004 when Mark fulfilled his ultimate career aspirations when, after a strenuous selection process, he was selected to undergo intensive training to become a SARTECH (Search and Rescue Technician). With his previous experience in the Army, Mark was more than prepared for the various aspects of his SAR paramedic training including winter and mountain operations. However it was his ability to motivate and inspire others to accomplish tasks as a team when faced with challenging circumstances that really stood out in the minds of his SAR instructors.

Mark graduated from CFSSAR in June 2005. Mark’s postings included 442 Squadron at CFB Comox on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.; 444 Combat Support Squadron at CFB Goose Bay, Labrador; and finally at 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron at CFB Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The love for outdoor sports and physical challenge is what really drew Mark to a life on the West Coast. With the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean at his doorstep, Mark pursued his interests for volunteering in various ground SAR and ski patrol (Comox-Courtenay Ground Search and Rescue & Mt Washington Ski Patrol), in mountaineering, rock climbing, ice-climbing, and in scuba diving; he was certified for decompressed diving. Mark was a well-respected certified hang-glider pilot and instructor; owning and operating his hang-gliding company for several years. He also enjoyed the Ultimate Frisbee sport at Winnipeg. His many endeavours were completed with passion. He was a Big Brother at Winnipeg in 1998-2003.

Mark had many mountain climbing feats around the globe including: Mt Matterhorn (4,478 m) in the Alps; Mt Logan (5,959 m) in Yukon; Mt McKinley (6,168 m) in Alaska; Mt Baker (3,286 m) and Mt Rainier (4,392 m) in Washington State, USA; Mt Cook (3,724 m) in New Zealand; and Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) in Africa. Mark was scheduled to climb world-renown Ama Dablam (6,812 m) in the Himalaya range of eastern Nepal this November; he invited my husband Robert and I to join him nearby in Nepal as he climbed Ama Dablam which means “Mother’s Necklace” because of the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother protecting her child.

My husband Robert & I spent much time with Mark coast to coast. We were present at his graduations including Governor General’s Footguards (Ottawa) and SAR (Comox). - We were fortunate to enjoy many activities with Mark over the years, including camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing (the Churchill River in Labrador & the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg), RV’ing, touring, attending music concerts, or simply going for long walks or discussing history and genealogy over a pot of tea. Mark enjoyed cooking; we prepared and enjoyed many meals together. During one of my visits he requested I teach him how to make pie dough and tea biscuits; imagine Mark at 6′5″ and me at 5′1″ at his kitchen counter making pie dough together…teaching him not to overwork the dough with his strong hands and long fingers! These memorable moments are absolutely priceless!

I was grateful that, after years of living his hang-gliding feats through his many awesome photos, we (mom & son) jumped off the mountaintop at 2,000 feet and were up in the sky together; he was on his hang-glider & I was on a paraglider over the Fraser Valley near Chilliwack, B.C. – Precious memories captured on video! – Many of his friends and comrades gathered at our home over the years sharing stories and laughter around our backyard campfire. Cherished photos! We also enjoyed many indoor & outdoor building projects together at our home or at his. Last November, Mark visited after we moved into our new Moncton home and helped Robert build shelving units and a work bench in our storage shed. We see his ‘chi’ everywhere.

The body rested in the tender care of Comox Valley Funeral Home at Courtenay-Comox, Vancouver Island, B.C. ~ Over 500 attended the full Military Funeral, officiated by Padre Mathew Lucas, held on February 28th, 2015 at CFB Comox.– The Military made arrangements to have his body flown across the country to the care of Elhatton’s Funeral Home at Bathurst where a wake was held for family and friends. A mass, held at Holy Family Church on March 3rd was officiated by Father David Ferguson and Father Wesley Wade; ironically, Father Wade who presided at Mark’s funeral mass had also officiated at his baptism in 1970 as a recently ordained priest.

Military memorials for Mark were also held at CFB Winnipeg (Manitoba) on March 6th and at CFB Goose Bay (Labrador) on March 10th. – Flags were lowered at several cities including overseas at Belgium and at Afghanistan where many of his former comrades are deployed. - The Sherpa guides held vigils at mountainsides in the Alps in memory of their beloved climber. – His many friends and neighbours gathered to celebrate ‘Mark left his Mark on Me’ with their own special memorials in Vancouver, in Winnipeg and in Comox.

Mark was a gentle giant among men; one who saved people and troubled souls. He had a zest for life and touched the hearts of those whom he met. His positive attitude was an inspiration to many. Mark was dearly loved and will be sorely missed by family, friends, his SAR family, and past & present comrades..
My husband and I have received overwhelming support; we would like to extend our deepest appreciation to family, friends, colleagues, Comox Valley Funeral Home, officiating Padre Lucas at Comox, officiating Fathers Ferguson & Wade at Bathurst, Elhatton Funeral Home at Bathurst, to the Canadian Armed Forces and its members, and the brotherhood of SAR (Canadian Search and Rescue) for their unending support and assistance. We acknowledge all of Mark’s friends, neighbours, and comrades ‘coast to coast’ and around the world for standing alongside us in thoughts or in presence.. We are grateful. Thank you! RESCUE!

His remains were cremated following the Bathurst service. – The burial of Mark’s ashes will occur on: a part of his ashes at St Mary’s Cemetery in East-Bathurst, N.B. on my birthday July 3rd; a part of his ashes will be honourably buried at Beechwood Military Cemetery at Ottawa on July 11th; and a part of his ashes will be respectfully scattered in his beloved Rockies on February 5, 2016.

NOTE FROM MOTHER: I was 17 years old when I gave birth to Mark. My aspirations for him were that he does goodwill towards others and sees the world beyond Bathurst; he did this and much more. I celebrate the person he was; I was proud to call him son. Mark was, and is and always will be, a part of me. I loved him dearly and will miss him terribly; I will long for his visits, his phone calls, his postcards, his long ‘SitRep’ emails, and his dozen roses each Mother’s Day.
Once a mother, always a mother; although I will no longer see him, Mark will remain forever in my heart alongside my daughter Micheline..
~ Elizabeth Quinn (mom)