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David Mark, Class of 1939
David Everett Mark (November 15, 1923 - September 17, 2005) was an American career diplomat.
Born in New York City to Leslie Mark, and Lena Tyor Mark, Mark graduated from Columbia University, and while serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he completed his studies at Columbia Law School. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1946, serving first in South Korea, Germany, Finland, Romania, and Moscow in the 1950s.
Mark met his wife, Elisabeth Lewis Mark, in Moscow in 1958 where she headed the Anglo-American elementary school. They married in Washington, D.C. in 1959, and moved to Geneva, Switzerland where Mark joined the delegation to the Test Ban Treaty negotiations.
In the early 1960s, Mark served in various capacities in the "Intelligence and Research Bureau" until his appointment as Ambassador to Burundi from 1974 to 1977. From 1979 to 1981 he served again at the U.S. State Department as a deputy assistant Secretary of State. After retirement from government in 1981, he consulted on international affairs for ALCOA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
A gifted linguist, Mark spoke fluent Russian, German, and French, and was conversant in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. With the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the dearth of Russian linguists, Mark was asked to help establish the American Embassy in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. He returned to Tbilisi in 1992 to participate in helping the Georgians write their Constitution.
During the 1990s until his death, Mark was an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. He volunteered every week for nine years as a guide and translator for Big Apple Greeters of New York. He worked full time as a licensed New York City tour guide for Gray Line/CoachUSA, sharing his love for the city with thousands of tourists each year in any number of the languages he spoke. When he was not volunteering and touring on the Gray Line bus tours, Mark taught a variety of courses as an adjunct professor of global affairs at New York University. Mark's love of travel was renown and he eagerly shared his knowledge of the world and the all places he traveled with everyone he knew. Carolyn Stone, former Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Big Apple Greeters, wrote:
"David won the hearts of every visitor he met or spoke with. At the Big Apple Greeter organization, he continued to be an Ambassador for our country — to the rest of the world. The relief and the joy that visitors felt when David spoke to them, in their own language, was a gift never to be forgotten. Letters, photos, notes and presents came to your father from these strangers-turned-friends, and I believe that the personal goodwill he spread around the globe has been a great benefit to all New Yorkers and all Americans. He made us ALL look good: kind, helpful, intelligent, educated, articulate and accomplished."
Mark, 81, died in 2005 while on vacation in northern Montana.