Mark Charles Gulbranson, age 60 years of South Bend, Indiana, father, grandfather, brother, Notre Dame fan, outdoorsman, and seeker of solitude died a bit unexpectedly on Saturday morning, July 31, 2021 at Memorial Hospital in South Bend following an extended illness. He was quietly grateful for those who provided his care including his sister, Trudy whose daily care of Mark was recognized as “Caregiver of the Year” on April 25, 2017 by REAL Services and the Area 2 Agency on Aging.
He was born on September 28, 1960 in Niles, Michigan to James Leon and Lois (Cunningham) Gulbranson, and attended the South Bend Clay High School. He took-on the hard career of furniture moving, working for several local firms, and then for many years for the local operator of Mayflower Moving and Storage. He has lived in the Michiana area most of his life.
Mark was raised in the Baptist church, and was a great fan of all of the athletic teams at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to watching televised sports, he also watched crime shows, especially the Sunday evening “Columbo” drama series.
He was an outdoorsman, enjoying walking, and fishing – often near the Darden Bridge, and watching and counting hummingbirds. He appreciated the peace and quiet of a solitary life, choosing to leave permanent shelter to live in the woods for long periods of time, using remarkable skills to provide food and shelter and remain self-sufficient. When he was at home he would retreat to the privacy of a less-traveled railroad overpass to find temporary solitude. And whether sitting on the riverbank with a fishing pole, or out in the woods, or in the shadows, he was just a bit more comfortable with a beer in his hand.
Mark was preceded in death by his parents and by a grandson, Michael, Jr., and Mark’s siblings, Tammie Mize on May 18, 2020, and his twin-sister, Toni Kay Underwood on June 3, 2010.
Surviving family includes his children, Michael (& Chandra) Rogers of South Bend, Justin (& Lauren) Gulbranson of Watervliet, Michigan, and Mandy (& Chris) Osborn of Bristol, Indiana; grandchildren Caitlin, Max, Brett, Ryan, Nathan, Mason, Payton, and Aaron; and Mark’s siblings, Tina (& William) Joy of Granger, Indiana, Trudy Gulbranson of South Bend and her twin, Terrie Gulbranson of Mishawaka, Indiana, Tara Huffman of Mishawaka, and Eric Gulbranson of South Bend, step-sisters Pamela and Sherry; and a long-time best friend, Brian Stephens.
The funeral service for Mark Gulbranson will be at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 13, 2021 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles with Pastor Jim Wing of Niles officiating. Committal will follow at Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles. The service will be livestreamed on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/. Online condolences may be left at:
While Mark clearly had a great desire for privacy, even greater was his love for his family. Mandy fondly remembers a trip to Kentucky when her father bought her a fishing pole and taught her how to use it alongside him. Justin has wonderful childhood memories of his dad taking him on daily walks along the edge of the Blossom Trails Golf Club, collecting stray and abandoned golf balls. And Michael’s favorite memory is the smile on his father’s face when he first met his granddaughter, Caitlin.
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