Obituaries for the day of April 3, 2012

By Observer Upload April 03, 2012 12:26 pm


Mark Hentze

Formerly of Baker City and La Grande



Mark Hentze, 37, formerly of Baker City and La Grande, died March 6 as the result of a flash flood on the Santo Domingo River in Colombia, South America.

His family and friends will celebrate his life April 13 in Redmond.

Another celebration of his life will begin at 2 p.m. April 15 at the United Methodist Church, 1919 Second St. in Baker City. Pastor Juanita Bergacker will officiate. 

Mark was born Nov. 9, 1974, to Dick Hentze and Jan Hentze. He grew up loving the outdoors and a variety of outdoor activities. He graduated from Baker High School in 1993 and Eastern Oregon University in 1999. While attending college, he began working for the U.S. Forest Service as a seasonal fire fighter. Mark worked with the La Grande Hot Shots before becoming a smoke jumper in 2000. He was with the Redmond Smoke Jumpers’ Loft throughout his smoke-jumping career. 

Mark was a freelance writer and photographer at heart and had made kayaking and photography expeditions all around the globe. He first traveled to Colombia, South America, in 2005. He quickly fell in love with the warmth and hospitality of the people and the beauty of the landscape. He returned every year thereafter, exploring and documenting rivers for the book, “Colombia Whitewater,” which is co-authored with Aaron Rettig.

Survivors include his father, Dick Hentze; mother, Jan Hentze; brother and sister-in-law, Brad and Stephanie Hentze; grandmother, Alice Hentze; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Mark’s gentle nature and warm smile will always be remembered by his family, large circle of American and Colombian friends, “Bros” at the loft and by kayakers around the world. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wild Land Fire Fighters Foundation, World Vision or another charity in care of Gray’s West and Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.


The Observer publishes free obituaries as a community service. Obituaries are edited to fit news guidelines. Photos are encouraged. Paid space is available for families who would like to include more information. Both Daniels-Knopp and Loveland Funeral Chapel post unedited obituaries on their websites. The sites are and, respectively.