Mark Ristow, 54, passed away Aug. 26 after a three-year battle with cancer. He was in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his family. He was born to Harold and Monica Ristow in LaCrosse, Wis., on April 6, 1958. In 1981, Mark moved to the Vail Valley, where he began his career with FirstBank, retiring in June of 2011 as the president after 29 years of service.
Mark's greatest accomplishment was raising his sons, Oliver and Elliot. His biggest joy was watching them grow up, but also enjoyed spending time with them boating, snowboarding and joining them on the field for the annual Thanksgiving football game. He was an incredible mentor and friend to his boys and to everyone who had the good fortune to know him. He loved wakeboarding and was always in search of that perfectly calm early morning water. Much of his free time was spent between his lake house in Michigan and his home in Edwards, which he shared with his wife, Margie. His love of music inspired him and those around him, making every gathering something to be remembered. Listening to The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young or Jimmy Buffett will never be the same without Mark. He truly left his mark everywhere he went.
Mark will be fondly remembered as a smart, fun, kind, generous, stubborn, loving and loyal man. Not only was he fully committed to his family and friends, but he also had great passion for the community he has called home for the past 30 years.
As a member of the Vail community, Mark was chairman of the Board of the Vail Local Housing Authority, treasurer and board member of Habitat for Humanity, secretary and board member of The Learning Foundation (a local nonprofit that works to provide financial resources to children with learning disabilities) and president of the Booster Club of Vail Christian High School.
Mark "Boo" Ristow, you were our fearless leader and you have led the way to heaven. We look forward to the day we can be together again. We miss you already and we will never forget you! You will live in our hearts forever!
Mark is survived by his wife, Margaret Stout Ristow; his two sons, Oliver and Elliot; their mother and our friend, Renee Ristow (Howard Gardner); his sisters and brother, Jane (Jim) Petershmidt, Ann (Angus) Kessler, Mary, Ellen, Lorna (Ed) Koelbl, Sue (Corey) Ridner, John (Shiho), Peggy (Steve) Doncov. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, Harold and Monica Ristow.
A memorial service will be held at the Vail Christian High School on Sept. 8 at a time yet to be determined.
A scholarship fund has been set up at Vail Christian High School in honor of Mark Ristow. Donations can be made to Vail Christian High School, Mark Ristow Scholarship Fund, 31621 Highway 6, Edwards, CO 81632.