Mark Robert Hepner, 55, died at 3:05 P.M., Monday, April 29, 2013 at his home on Brandenburg Corners, Kewanee Township following a courageous battle against cancer.
Funeral services will be 11:00 A.M. Saturday, May 4, 2013 at the Church of Peace, rural Kewanee, Il. Pastor Dan Craig will officiate. Burial will be in the Garden of Peace. Visitation will be from 2-7 P.M. Friday, May 3, 2013 at the Schueneman-Tumbleson Funeral Home, Kewanee, Il. where Masonic Services will be conducted at 7:00 P.M. Additional visitation will be one hour prior to services on Saturday at the Church of Peace. In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be directed to an education fund for Mark’s daughters Linnea or to the Church of Peace Building Fund.
Mark was born November 13, 1957, in Kewanee, the son of Robert and Norma (Sellman) Hepner. He was a 1975 graduate of Kewanee High School. He attended Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Il. earning a B.A. in 1979 and M.A. in 1984, both in history. In 1992, Mark was awarded the Ed.S. Degree in Educational Administration from Western Illinois University in Macomb.
Mark taught history at Atkinson High School and Kewanee Central Junior High School. He served as an administrator at Lombard Junior High School in Galesburg. From 1989 to 2003, he was Assistant Principal at Washington Junior High School in Rock Island, Illinois, and 2003-2013 he served as Principal of Washington Junior High.
Mark was involved in many organizations and served in many leadership roles.
He was a member of the Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, on the board of Illinois State Dean’s Association, Illinois Principal’s Association, National Association of Secondary School Administrators, and Rock Island-Milan Secondary & Elementary Administrators Association. Mark served as Regional and State Director of Black Hawk Illinois Principal’s Association. He was named Middle School Principal of the year by the Black Hawk Region of the Illinois Principal’s Association in 2010 and was named the IPE State Principal of year for middle schools. Mark received the Illinois State Dean’s Association 2001 R.O.S.E. Award and in 2003 and again in 2010 was named the winner of the Illinois Principal’s Association/Horace Mann Community Service Award. In 2013 he won the IPA Herman Graves award.
He was a baptized and confirmed member of Church of Peace. He served as church board president, member of the Brotherhood, served on many committees, and helped conduct the annual memorial service for the deceased veterans of the Church of Peace on Memorial Day for many years. He was noted as the Church Historian. He also planned a Sept. 11th community service of remembrance and a candlelight vigil to celebrate the spirit of America and remembrance of those who lost their lives held at the Church of Peace.
Mark belonged to the Kewanee Historical Society, serving on the board of the Francis Park Foundation, Henry County Farm Bureau, the Henry County #377 Board for Abilities Plus as their chairman and he and his wife Annette are leaders of the Kewanee King Pins 4-H Club.
Mark was an active Freemason. He was a member of the Kewanee Masonic Lodge #159 AF&AM for 21 years, where he served as Master twice. Mark was past High Priest of Kewanee Chapter #47 Royal Arch Masons and the recipient of Order of High Priesthood, and Commander of Kewanee Commandery #71 Knights Templar. He was past Eminent Commander of Kewanee Commandery #71 and is a life member of the IL Past Commanders Association. Mark was Past Thrice Illustrious Master of Rock Island Council #20 and recipient of the Silver Trowel Award. He was a member of the Mohammed Shrine of Peoria and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, Central IL Forest No 208. Mark was also a member of Peoria Council 35 Universal Craftsmen Council of Engineers, Warren Chapter 119 of the Sword of Bunker Hill in Chicago, and Zal Grotto of Moline. He was Past Excellent Chief of Earl of Torrell and Past Pussiant Sovereign Master of St. Helena. Mark was a charter member of Fort Armstrong Council #436 AMD in Rock Island and served as Sovereign Master in 2005. Mark was a member of Central Illinois York Rite College 42 in Pekin, Earl of Torrell Council 24 of Knight Masons in Springfield, St. Helena Conclave of Red Cross of Constantine in Peoria, and Illinois Priory #11 K.Y.C.H. Mark was also a member of the GROTTO of North America. He was Past Sovereign Prince and Past Most Wise Master of the Moline Scottish Rite. As a member of Moline Scottish Rite, Mark received the MSA award and in 2006, he received the highest award for Scottish Rite Masons which is the 33rd degree.. The ultimate honor bestowed upon him by the State of Illinois was the Distinguished Service Award in 2010.
Mark Married Annette Zink on October 14, 1995 at the Church of Peace. Surviving is his wife, Annette, daughter Linnea, at home, parents Robert and Norma Hepner, Kewanee, sister Dianne (Jeff) Wasson, niece Annika, and nephew Trevor, of Iowa City, Iowa. He was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents.
Mark enjoyed the outdoors, yard work and gardening, and spending time with his family and friends.