Mark Stephen Torok

Mark Stephen Torok

Mark Stephen Torok traveled the world, visiting six continents for work or for fun, but was always grounded by his family.

“He was a very caring person,” said his mother, Margaret Nicholson Torok.

Mr. Torok died at Pikes Peak Hospice in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. He was 59.

He was born in Knox, the son of Margaret Torok and the late Stephen Torok. His mother is a Knox native and his father, who worked as a surveyor for the railroad, moved his family for various jobs.

The Torok family moved to West Berne when Mark was 2 and lived there until he was in sixth grade.

“He spent a lot of time in the Fox Creek across from our house; the kids swam there all summer long,” his mother recalled. “He went in the woods and climbed trees as boys do. And he crawled in the gorge with friends.”

The family moved to Ohio when Penn Central was building a railroad yard outside of Columbus, and then moved to Niagara Falls in Ontario when Stephen Torok was surveying to build a tunnel under a canal.

Mark Torok was close to his sister his whole life and she remembers how, as a teenager, he went to his first live concert, to see Neil Young perform in Buffalo. “He loved it and went to hundreds later on,” said his mother. “He loved the excitement of seeing it live.”

The family returned to the Helderberg Hilltowns, where Mark Torok graduated from Berne-Knox-Westerlo. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University at Buffalo.

During his high school and college years, Mr. Torok had a summer job at the Thompsons Lake campgrounds. “He met a lot of nice people there. Some people came back every year. They’d even bring him dinner,” said his mother. “He made sure everyone was happy.

“When he was at UB, he was on the concert committee,” recalled his mother. Mr. Torok told his mother with great excitement, “I picked up a group from England and drove them in Grandpa’s car.”

After graduation from university, Mr. Torok found that jobs were scarce, his mother said. He went back to school at Schenectady County Community College to study non-destructive testing, a technology that largely uses ultrasound.

“He worked in that field for 31 years,” said his mother. “He tested wells on the Alaska pipeline and worked on testing at nuclear plants and pipelines and all sorts of things all over the world.”

At the time of his death, Mr. Torok was employed by the Fluor Corporation, which his mother described as a global engineering construction company.

His world travels brought him a bride. On Sept. 22, 2001, he married Jommhok Kuttanam from Thailand. “She came to the United States to get married,” said Mrs. Torok. The ceremony took place in the Knox town park. The couple was just shy of their 15-year anniversary when Mr. Torok died.

His mother had moved to Colorado to be near both of her children after her husband died in April. She misses the Hilltowns but enjoys seeing Pikes Peak out of her window.

“Mark said he felt the healthiest in Colorado. He loved to hike,” said Mrs. Torok. “He’s hiked in Nepal.”

Mr. Torok and his wife both enjoyed traveling and vacationed in six of the seven continents (they didn’t make it to Antarctica). One of their favorite trips was a safari on the Serengeti in Africa; he enjoyed seeing the wildlife in its natural habitat.

“He saw all the wild animals,” said his mother. Ever since he was a boy, she said, “He wanted to see live animals where they lived.”

Mrs. Torok also said, “We were a close family, even though he was traveling and working. I have many, many memories. We all do.”

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Mark Stephen Torok is survived by his wife, Jommhok; his mother, Margaret Torok; his sister, Susanne Snyder, and her husband, Wayne; his nephew, Eric Snyder, and his wife, Andrea; his niece, Jessica Snyder; and his great-nephew, Toby Snyder all of Colorado Springs. He is also survived by aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, and close friends.

A private memorial service will be held at the at a later time.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the American Cancer Society, 2255 Oneida Street, Denver, CO 80224; please designate that it is for kidney research.

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