Mark Daniel Johnson

  • Born: June 16, 1967
  • Died: January 20, 2015
  • Location: Austin, Texas

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
Tel. (512) 452-8811

Tribute & Message From The Family


Mark was received by our Father on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, peacefully at his residence in Austin.

Mark was born June 16, 1967 in Seattle, Washington to Sue and Dan Johnson. Mark is survived by his wife Jocelyn Duncan Johnson; daughter Sophie Mason Johnson; and step-daughter Mary Elizabeth Potts. Mark also leaves his much loved brother Brent William Johnson; his sister in-law Katy Johnson; his nieces Emmaline and Madeline Johnson; and his parents Sue and Dan Johnson of Austin. Much loved by Mark were his in-laws Betty and Robb Southerland; sister and brother-in-law Anne and Charlie Henderson; brother-in-law Will Duncan; his sister-in-law Ashley Southerland; and nephews Will Schneiderjan and Charlie Henderson Jr.

Mark Johnson had an unmatched courage and enthusiasm for life. Whatever he attempted, you knew he was "all-in." He reached for perfection in work, with his family and his friends, with his love of the Texas Longhorns, and in his passion for the outdoors. Mark never sat still. He visited every state in the country and almost every continent. Traveling with Mark, he was the last guy to bed and the first guy awake. It was impossible to have a bad time or be in a bad mood with Mark Johnson. Mark pursued his passions and loved the opportunity to share them with his family and friends.

Mark fought cancer for over a year and, during that time, and often in great pain, it remained important to him that he visit with all of his beloved co-workers, family, and friends from across the country. This time enabled Mark to reconnect, celebrate, and talk about the journey that he and Jocelyn were on and the future. It was a joy for Mark to see family coming from so far (Pacific Northwest, throughout California, and Tennessee) to be with him and his family.

During Mark's life and throughout Mark's battle with cancer, he never complained. No one made a deeper commitment to or investment in relationships than Mark. If you asked him how he was doing, he would ask you how you were doing. He was a perfect listener and he wrote the best letters. Mark greeted everyone with a smile and a loving embrace. He always ensured that everyone else was taken care of, including his hospice caregivers. That's just how he lived.

Mark began his life in Seattle where he was introduced to the Pacific-Northwest through his grandfathers' camping, saltwater and fresh water fishing, and hiking. The family relocated to Chicago, followed by a move to Burbank, California where he was a student with his brother at Walt Disney Elementary. The family moved to Waco, Texas where Mark began the third grade and graduated from Richfield High School in 1985.

He began his college education at Biola University and graduated with a BA in History/English from The University of Texas at Austin ('90). He remained a passionate Longhorn fan, alongside a large number of fraternity brothers from Phi Gamma Delta, up to the last game this football season. He continued his education in Boston where he received his MBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Babson College ('98).

Mark was an entrepreneur at heart. He was always interested in developing new ideas, creating new opportunities, making new products, building companies, and helping others do the same. Mark worked in various companies and roles, but his true passion was centered around education technology. While earning his MBA from Babson College, he co-founded a venture, Highwired, with several classmates, which developed an online social network for high schools to publish and share information. Highwired was a pioneer in the social media space and it was a labor of love for Mark where he developed and made lifelong friendships.

After moving to Austin, Mark became COO of ESP Solutions Group continuing his leadership role in the education technology space. While still serving as COO at ESP, he founded a subsidiary called the National Transcript Center, which was acquired by Pearson in 2009 and Mark's team transitioned to the Pearson family. Mark served in several roles at Pearson, including VP and General Manager. In 2012, Mark led a new venture at Pearson creating a digital badge and credentialing management. It was in this position that Mark regrettably had to take a leave of absence to focus on his health.

Mark was an extremely devoted husband and father. He and Jocelyn had a special love for one another; they always showed each other a kind of respect and compassion that all of us should strive for in our relationships. Sophie "Trophy" was the apple of his eye, and it was apparent to all that Mark had no boundaries in his love for Mary Elizabeth as well. In response to requests from friends about how they could help Mark, he had the same response. He asked that his friends look after his girls, teach them what kind of man he was, and, please, take them hunting and fishing. Mark couldn't be around his daughters enough, whether it was fishing with Sophie in the Florida Keys, or, despite struggling with his health, recently taking the girls to Boston to show them where Sophie was born and where his career began.

Mark's heart for service was focused on The Helping Hand Home for Children in Austin, Texas. He went consistently every week to mentor a child even during this last year's struggle with cancer. The child who never smiled developed such a trust and bond with Mark that he bounded to see him with a smile on his face every single time.

Mark worked to insure that God was in the center of his decisions, dreams, and plans. He made a decision early in life to always seek the right, honorable, and lasting solutions, ones that would succeed both on earth and in Heaven. Times like these can cause one to question his faith, but Mark did not question his faith and it certainly did not waver. We should follow Mark's example and honor him every day with enthusiasm for life, by loving our families and friends, and treating everyone, as Mark did, with compassion and dignity.

A memorial service to celebrate Mark's life will take place at 3pm on Sunday, January 25th at Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway, Austin, Texas 78751.

In lieu of flowers, the family has designated Hospice Austin and the Helping Hand Home for Children for memorial contributions.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Deeply saddened hearing about Mark's passing and very sorry about your loss. I had the privilege of working with Mark at Pearson and will always remember his relentless energy and positivity. May he rest in peace and inspire a whole new generation.

Posted by Juan Lopez-Valcarcel - London, UK - Former colleague   July 17, 2015

So sorry for your loss. In my thoughts and prayers. Carol Brown

Posted by Carol Brown - Waco, TX - friend from high school   March 08, 2015

I was privileged to work with Mark at Highwired. His energy and excitement made that company great, and he was always reaching out to everyone in the company to make a personal connection. Everyone who met him loved Mark. My thoughts are with all of his family.

Posted by Lori Stokes - Arlington, MA - friend   February 13, 2015

Jocelyn, I have thinking about you all and am so sorry for your loss. Praying for your family and may Mark rest peacefully now.

Posted by Jennifer Walden - Austin, TX - Friend   January 27, 2015

Praying for you & the girls. So so sorry to hear of this.

Posted by Ryan Morgan - Nome, TX - Friend   January 26, 2015


Dear Jocelyn, Sophie, Mary Elizabeth and Family, What an amazing spirit Mark was in this world. We keep you all in our prayers, that you will be uplifted in the sadness of this significant loss and granted peace, strength and courage in this transition. Sincerely, Anitra and Joel Richardson

Posted by Anitra and Joel Richardson - Austin, TX - Friends from Good Shepherd   January 26, 2015

Heart felt blessings to the family and friends Mark left behind. I known he will be deeply missed but will watch over you all until you meet again...

Posted by Ann Murray - San Clemente, CA - Friend   January 26, 2015

Mark, may you rest in God's caring hands.

Posted by Mary E Graham - Waco, TX - friend   January 25, 2015

Our love and support will always be here for you.

Posted by Jim & Mary Lou Morrison - Austin, TX   January 25, 2015

Mark was a sweet and gentle sole. He will be missed by many

Posted by Dale Huggins    January 24, 2015

We know friends of yours, Matt and Kathy Robb. We are touched by your story and your life. We pray for you and your family. We pray for God's comfort to be felt on the 25th when you honor Mark and lay him to rest. We especially pray for the weeks and months ahead when you're feeling the incredible loss. How wonderful to have such a great man to call father, husband, friend...Our sympathies to you and your family. --Jack and Valerie Krygsheld, Austin,TX

Posted by Valerie - Austin, TX - friend of friend to Mark   January 23, 2015


Jocelyn, Sophie, Mary Elizabeth, and all of your family: My heart is heavy for all of you. I will be praying for peace that passes all understanding to move with you in the days, weeks, months and years to come. I know this is a long process you are beginning and it will remain in my consciousness. Be patient with yourselves and practice self-compassion above all. You are in a tender place. My love, always. Blair Newberry

Posted by Blair Newberry - Austin, TX - Friend   January 23, 2015

I am so sorry for your loss, Jocelyn. What a beautiful tribute to an extraordinary man. I only wish I had had the chance to meet him. Through all of the photos I have seen on your past year through Facebook I could see the fun loving, caring man he was.. What a blessing to have been a part of such a life. My prayers are with you and the girls. Love to you my friend-

Posted by Brandy Archer - Austin, TX   January 23, 2015

My deepest condolences to you Jocelyn and your family. My prayers are with you.

Posted by Russell Berry - Dallas, TX - Friend   January 23, 2015

My sympathies to you dear Jocelyn, one of my Jenny's special friends. I'm so glad to know that all of you Anderson High girls have remained so close through the years and that they will continue to be there for you in the months and years ahead..

Posted by Sue Walker - Richardson, TX - mother of Jennifer Walket Rutter   January 23, 2015

My deepest condolences to Mark's family. I watched Mark brighten every room he walked into during our time together in college / fraternity. He was like Santa Claus and his gift was laughter, optimism, enthusiasm, friendship and love. He will be missed by all. Rest in peace Mark.

Posted by Kirk Kauffman - Austin, TX - Friend   January 23, 2015

Our deepest condolences to all of Mark's family. He had such a great spirit and bright smile. Mark will be missed by many. May you find peace in the memories you share.

Posted by Danny & Stephanie Sachnowitz - Austin, TX - Friends   January 23, 2015

To the Johnson Family: I am deeply saddened to hear about Mark's passing. He was such a passionate person full of life and joy to be taken so soon. I had been wondering recently about how he was doing and was shocked yesterday when I learned that he was gone. Keeping you all in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.

Posted by Donna Groppel - Dallas, TX - Friend   January 22, 2015

My heart and prayers are with you during this time of sadness and loss. Mary Briggle

Posted by Mary Briggle - Austin, TX - Friend   January 22, 2015

Family Album