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In Memoriam

Mark Stranahan - Class Of 1975

Mark Stranahan

Mark Stranahan class of 1975

1/30/1957 - 12/30/2020 Ann Arbor

The world is more dimly lit since Mark Stranahan, the middle child of George and Betsy Stranahan, left this place on December 30, 2020 at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a result of complications of septic necrotizing pancreatitis. He was 63.

Mark's was a remarkable life, well lived. He was an extraordinary man and his loss leaves a great emptiness in the hearts of many.

Mark's journey began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 30, 1957. He grew up as the third of five siblings. His father had a sixth child in a later marriage. Because of his father's career as a physicist, the Stranahan family lived in West Lafayette, Indiana, and Okemos, Michigan, during the school year. They spent summers in Woody Creek, Colorado while his father started the Aspen Center for Physics.

Mark graduated from Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, Colorado in 1975 and traveled the west in his 1957 three-quarter ton Dodge M-43 ambulance before enrolling at the University of Oregon. In the mid-eighties Mark moved to Ann Arbor to finish his education and start a family with his new wife, Julie Fruehauf (now Mariouw). He earned both a B.S. degree in Architecture (1987) and M.S. in Architecture (with high distinction, 1998) from the University of Michigan.

The most significant milestone of this time was becoming the father of Laine and Stephen, then known as Gus. Mark's proudest accomplishments were his cherished children, and being a father was the role he most valued. When Laine and Gus were students at Emerson, he became an enthusiastic advocate for progressive independent education. In 2005, Mark married Karen Prochnow, a lifelong friend with whom he fathered Mason and Max, now middle school students at Summers-Knoll in Ann Arbor.

As part of Mark's early professional life in Ann Arbor, he worked as an architectural intern at Archetype. There, he used his organizational and design skills to advance the projects of the firm, providing reliable leadership, camaraderie and friendship to all in the small group. Mark created human-centered, beautiful spaces, whether renovating a home or designing a school layout. Later, while running his own home inspection business, his meticulous eye for detail, encyclopedic knowledge of structures and personal integrity made him highly respected. Mark advocated for sustainable design and green development, environmental responsibility and progressive education.

He appreciated human-crafted beauty in the form of music, literature, art, craftmanship and architecture. He was a guitarist, writer, photographer and visual artist. He flew airplanes, skied, mountain-biked and paddled canoes on the Huron and the beloved Au Sable River. Mark's many international travels took him to Mexico, Nepal, China, Italy, France, Australia and the Adriatic. Mark loved cars and speed, and won a regional formula Mazda championship in 1996. He was an inveterate learner and a deep thinker. His many and varied interests included pottery, machinery, natural history and leatherwork.

He was extraordinarily well-read and enjoyed long conversations about diverse topics, including political and economic theory, art history, anthropology, sociology, systems theory and critical theory. Mark was an autodidact and was never without a book or two on his person. There was never a topic of conversation to which he couldn't lend some wit or thoughtful commentary.

He was a good listener, a caring friend, had a wicked sense of humor and enjoyed practical jokes. Mark will be loved and remembered by many for his helpfulness, kindness, generosity, friendship, curiosity and wisdom.

Mark's remaining family are grieving the loss of this unique star from their family constellation. They include his four children, Elaine Fruehauf Stranahan (Laine), of Berlin, Germany; Stephen, August Stranahan (Gus), of Garden City, Michigan; Mason Duane Stranahan and Maxwell Quinn Stranahan (Max) who reside with their mother, Karen Prochnow, in Ann Arbor. He is also survived by his partner, Gaia Swan of Detroit, Michigan, as well as his father, George and stepmother Patti, of Carbondale, Colorado; siblings Molly and her husband, Tom Curtin, of Tucson, Arizona; Patrick of Bozeman, Montana; Stuart and his wife Linda of Bainbridge Island, Washington; Brie of Nederland, Colorado; and Ben of Los Angeles, California; along with two nieces and three nephews. Mark was predeceased by his mother, Betsy Lamb Stranahan, of Ann Arbor, in 1993.

Mark was a consummate volunteer, working passionately at many levels to advance causes he cared about which included the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Summers-Knoll School, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley, and the Neutral Zone. At the time of his death Mark was serving on the board of MLCV. If you are drawn to make a contribution in his memory, he would have appreciated the support of organizations whose work was close to his heart.

An online memorial is planned for January 30, 2021, which would have been Mark's 64th birthday. The family intends to host an in-person gathering, perhaps in Colorado during the summer, to continue to honor Mark's life. Muehlig Funeral Chapel

Published by Ann Arbor News from Jan. 7 to Jan. 10, 2021.


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06/18/23 01:46 PM #1    

Phil Arnold (1975)

I remember Mark Stranahan and I think he was a friend, but I can't find him in my OHS 1975 yearbook. Is there a photo from OHS graduation available of Mark? He sounds like a remarkable human being.

06/19/23 12:16 PM #2    

Kathleen Taylor (Saurer) (1975)

 I do believe he was in our class  (graduating class of 75), but his obituary reads that he had moved and graduated from a high school in Colorado.  I too remember him as being very kind.  Peaceful rest, Mark.

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