“Before you cross the street, take my hand.”
John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”
On September 11, 2022, Mark David Doty, our precious and beloved son, grandson, brother, and friend, died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 26.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 9, 1996, Mark’s arrival in this world seemed to foreshadow a tough mortal journey, as he came out with a bruised little face that instantly endeared him to us as we took him in our arms for the first time. In fact, Mark was a fighter throughout his short life, as he battled anxiety, depression, and the demons of addiction with the courage of a battlefield warrior for the past 14 years.
The first few years of Mark’s life were filled with happiness and healthy adventures. After spending his early childhood in Utah, where he learned to ski at age 3, swim, and jump on the neighbor’s trampoline, Mark began his education in Columbia, South Carolina, where he attended Bookman Road Elementary School from Kindergarten through 3rd grade. We will always be grateful for the kind and patient teachers there who channeled Mark’s energy and personality in positive directions and empowered him to thrive.
It was also in South Carolina that Mark had his first experiences with many different activities, including bike riding, swimming, camping, Cub Scouts, Little League baseball, and day trips to Folly Beach. However, we discovered that Mark was most in his element on a board, whether one with wheels or one with bindings. He learned to skateboard at age 9, and quickly became passionate about riding both indoor and outdoor skate parks. Around the same age, Mark learned to surf on a family trip to Hawaii, and it was not surprising to see him get right up after just a couple of tries. A year or two later, Mark learned to snowboard, and from then on, regularly challenged himself in the terrain parks at Brighton, Beaver Mountain, and Park City Mountain Resort. To observe Mark carving graceful turns through powder or doing a tail grab off a massive jump was to watch poetry in motion.
Mark also developed a love for the mountains, especially Wyoming’s Wind River Wilderness, where he first backpacked to glacial cirques and caught dozens of trout in the alpine lakes.
After our family moved back to Utah in 2005, Mark continued his education in Sandy, Utah, where he also had excellent teachers from 4th grade through his high school graduation in 2014. Some of the best memories we have from these years include watching Mark participate in the inaugural season of the Utah High School Cycling League, during which his perseverance on and off his mountain bike earned him the Jeep Extraordinary Courage Award in 2012 from the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
In March 2020 Mark graduated from the John Volken Academy in Kent, Washington, a two-year addiction treatment program where Mark succeeded at many endeavors. While at JVA, Mark was an integral part of the Academy’s moving company, call center, and furniture store; created and painted an art room; and performed an original rap song he composed at several graduation ceremonies for his fellow students. We will never forget running the Seattle Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon with Mark and his JVA mates in both 2018 and 2019. Seeing Mark achieve complete sobriety for over two years, with the health and happiness that came along with this achievement, was one of the greatest blessings of our lives, for we were able to see all of the brilliance, talent, and ability with which our Heavenly Father endowed Mark on full display.
What we will remember most about Mark is his kind heart and his amazing sense of humor. Mark always had a soft spot for the misfits, the outcast, the homeless, the addicts, the lonely, for animals of every kind, and for his family. He also had the ability to make you laugh until your stomach hurt.
We express our deepest gratitude to every person in Mark’s life who helped him to see his potential. We give special thanks to Mark’s therapist at Second Nature Wilderness, Ben Pearson; to his therapist, Rod Andrus, and teachers at the Oakley School; to Whitney Pogue, Mark’s mountain bike coach at Corner Canyon High School; to John and Chawna Volken, Terri Conger, Walker Stahle, Cody Dungan, and all of Mark’s mentors and friends at the John Volken Academy; to Mark’s therapists, counselors, and peers in recovery at Renaissance Ranch; to Bishop Shane Pace, who provided extraordinary love to Mark during his high school years; and to Mark’s attorney Doug Stowell, together with his legal assistant, Calli Baker. You and many others were angels in Mark’s life and gave us hope and time with him that we never would have had without your help.
Mark is survived by his parents, David and Rori Doty; siblings Shannon (Colby) Hall and Blake Doty; maternal grandparents Sam and Carolyn Chamberlain; and paternal grandmother, Cheryl Doty. Consistent with his wishes, Mark’s remains will be cremated.
A visitation will be held at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 295 S. Main, Bountiful, UT, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 23, 2022. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 24, 2022, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel at 900 S. 400 E., Centerville, UT.
Services will be streamed live on Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and this obituary page.
In lieu of flowers, we invite you to make a charitable contribution to the John Volken Academy, 945 Central Ave. N., Kent, WA 98032 (www.volken.org), a nonprofit addiction treatment program that helped us witness a true miracle in Mark’s life.
Fly with the angels, our beautiful boy. Until we meet again.