Mark Heistad age 59, of Sioux City, Iowa, died April 17, 2017, of esophageal cancer while overlooking Lake Superior at his sister Carolyn’s house high on the hill in Duluth, Minn. Mark was born Aug. 30, 1957, to Ruth and Gordon Heistad in Minneapolis and went to Washburn High School. As a young man, he worked for Wilderness and Amnicon Canoe Bases, played on the church softball team, and sang in several choirs. He also loved to fish in Canada and cross country ski on the Gunflint Trail. Mark graduated from Luther College in 1979 with emphases in education, history and political science. He managed the college radio station for several years and went on to be a host and producer for public radio stations in Marshall, Minn., Cedar Falls, Iowa, and St. Paul, Minn. From 1991 to 1992, Mark hosted Morning Edition for MPR in St. Paul. He produced 15 documentaries, including a story on Dorothy Molter, the “root beer lady” of the Boundary Waters, a piece on farmers still using plow horses, and a documentary on Hubert Humphrey. Mark was the recipient of 23 state, regional and national journalism awards.
Mark earned a Ph.D. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota in 1997. He was a professor of journalism at Penn State from 1996 to 2000 and spent the last 15 years of his life as “Doc,” the beloved professor of mass communications (with the really long beard) at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. He was very proud of the many students and interns he mentored throughout his career. Mark was devoted to his family and is survived by brother David (Kristi) from Edina and sisters Carolyn of Duluth, Minn., Marie (Heistad) Vandenbark ‘84 of Eau Claire, Wis., and Kathy Blessing (Dave) of Boulder, Colo. He was especially close to his Aunt Esther and Uncle Clyde Allen of Moorhead, Minn., and cousins Cindy Rogness of Duluth and Scott Allen of Fargo, N.D.
Memorial service was April 29th at Bethlehem Lutheran, 4100 Lyndale Ave So, Mpls. Memorials preferred to Minnesota Public Radio.