DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Life Events > In memoriam: Mark Joseph Bielanski, father of Student Affairs' Jessica Peterson
By Division of Mission and Ministry /
April 27, 2021 /
Posted in: LIFE EVENTS /
It is with sadness we have learned of the death of Mark Joseph Bielanski, father of Jessica Peterson, the marketing communications specialist in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Bielanski passed away on April 18, after a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. He was 71.
Bielanski is survived by his wife of 49 years, Maria; his sister, Donna Siwek; his brother, Russel Bielanski; his children Marc (Gina), Jessica (Christian), Matthew (Roxana) and Jacob (Jamie); his grandchildren Ella and Casimir (Casey) Peterson; Matthew and Sophia Bielanski; Lee and Gabriel Peacock Bielanski and Charles (Charlie) Bielanski; and several nieces and nephews.
He was a retired U.S. Army Reserve member after 32 years of service as an artillery person and educator. In 1999, Bielanski was awarded the Honorable Order of St. Barbara, bestowed upon those individuals who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, served the Artillery with selflessness and contributed to the promotion of the Artillery branch.
For much of his life, Bielanski was an avid outdoorsman. He frequently camped, hiked, canoed, kayaked and cross-country skied, almost always with his family. His outdoorsy nature brought him to depend on and love his trusty Swiss Army knife, Maglite and Leatherman tool, which he always wore on his belt. He also was a keen bird watcher and could identify many species simply by their call and the time of year during which he heard that call.
Bielanski was intelligent, curious and creative, and an excellent writer, actor and storyteller. He enjoyed making home movies with his good friends, and his family and friends had great fun joining him and watching his creations. He was a voracious reader, taking to anything and everything he could get his hands on. He particularly loved Mark Twain, Mike Royko, Robert Heinlein, James Michener and Andrei Codrescu. Almost to the day he died, Bielanski loved to challenge himself with crossword puzzles -- the New York Times puzzles were his favorite. He would enjoy watching and talking to the people who crossed his path in his beloved adopted home of New Orleans, La. May he rest in peace.