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Mark Salopek '72 April 18, 2017 12:52 PM updated: April 18, 2017 12:56 PM

Getz Funeral Home obituary
1410 E. BOWMAN AVE.
LAS CRUCES, NM 88001-3001
Phone: (575) 526-2419
Fax: (575) 526-7944

MARK DAVID SALOPEK
November 4, 1948 - August 21, 2016

The pecan industry lost an impactful grower and respected leader. Mark David Salopek, died on August 21, 2016, in Las Cruces, New Mexico while surrounded by his wife and children. Although the world lost a one-of-a kind man, heaven gained a kind, generous and charismatic soul.

Mark was born November 4, 1948, to Tony and Tess Salopek in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We were blessed to have so many fond memories of Mark during his 67 years, among them are: his unforgettable laugh, his generous heart, his passion for Ft. Fillmore, his unique confidence in voicing his opinions, the pride he had for his kids, the love he had for his brothers, his highly anticipated annual elk hunt with the men, attending Texas A&M football games with his family, his boisterous personality that was bigger than any room he walked into, the love he had for people, his habit of going through the trash if mom had been cleaning, the pleasure of making vueltas around the farm with friends or family, and the enjoyment he had for life.

If you knew one thing about Mark, education was always a priority! After graduating with his undergraduate degree from NMSU he went on to study zinc application and pecan research under Dr. Benton Story at Texas A&M University. Following his studies at Texas A&M, Mark returned to the farm where he and the family embarked on a lifelong journey of converting a struggling cotton farm into one of the largest and most successful pecan farms in the west. Mark learned as much from his failures as he did from his successes during his farming career, and was always enthusiastic to share both with growers.

Although provided many opportunities, Mark was never one for being on organization boards. Mark believed he better served an organization through his influence as one of the rank and file members. In spite of his aversion to belonging to governing boards, he did manage to serve as a member of the board of directors for the Western Pecan Growers Association, and as an enthusiastic member of the New Mexico Pecan Growers Association, and a longtime member of Cattle Growers Association. Mark was proud of his appointment as president of The Salopek Foundation, and worked hard to ensure the success of the foundation. The Salopek Foundation provides scholarships for students, as well as funding pecan research at Texas A&M and NMSU. Many of research projects would not have been funded had it not been for Mark and his brother’s generosity, though the Salapek Foundation. Mark Salopek is an Aggie through and through, whether he was cheering for NMSU or Texas A&M.

During his life, it was always important to Mark that all he met became more than just a friend, it didn’t matter if it was a five-minute conversation or multiple interactions. He had a remarkable memory regarding not only the names of those he met, but also the important things in a person’s life. Those who've taken his lessons to heart will continue to ensure that his laugh will never be silenced, his influence will never be diminished, his wisdom will never be matched, his generous heart will always be cherished, and his perseverance will always be remembered. He will be missed as a loving husband, dad, playful tata and a big-hearted friend. No doubt, Mark Salopek will always have special place in all the lives he touched and his boots will never be filled.

His legacy is carried on by his wife, Marcie, four children, Dustin and wife Tenniel, Wendy and husband Clint, Chuy, and Heather, five grandchildren Caitlyn, Tristan, Raeley, Beckam and Jakob, and an extended family of friends from every walk of life. He is also survived by his brothers James and Benny, and sisters Mary Jane Carson and Anne Nelson.

Funeral services will be held on Friday at 10:00 a.m. at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, with burial to immediately follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery. A reception at Salopek 6U Farms will follow the burial service.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations to Mesilla Valley Hospice.

Thank you all for your love, support and prayers during this difficult time.


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