Mark Allan Bigger, 62, of Fertile, MN, passed away unexpectedly at his residence of natural causes on Monday, November 25, 2019.
Born on May 14, 1957 at Detroit Lakes, MN, Mark was the oldest of five children of the union of Samuel and Norma (Yoki) Bigger. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith and his first years were spent on the family’s farm near Frazee, MN. Sam’s work, first as a teacher and later as a county extension agent, meant family moves to the Minnesota communities of Olivia, Ada, where he started kindergarten, and Kennedy, before coming to Crookston in 1965. Mark attended Crookston schools and enjoyed participating in Polk County 4-H. He graduated from Central High School with the Class of 1975 and went on to attend UMC in Crookston and NDSU in Fargo, majoring in Ag Management. After returning to Crookston Mark was self-employed doing custom haying, anhydrous fertilizer applications, farming, and owning 200 head of sheep. He participated in many Sheep Shearing contests and won or placed highly at several events held throughout the country. During these years he also pursued his passion for bull-riding at rodeos around mid-west Minnesota. Despite the punishment to his body from a huge animal that absolutely did not want to be ridden, Mark absolutely loved the dangerous sport. Later, after time spent working as a carpenter, Mark began employment with the American Crystal Sugar Company in Crookston. On October 24, 2009 he was united in marriage to his longtime friend, Lori Swanson. Mark and Lori made their home on a hobby farm, near Mentor, MN. Following his retirement from American Crystal in 2011 he worked for the Reitmeier Cattle Company for several years. Mark was a longtime member of the American Quarter Horse Association. A lifelong animal lover, he owned many horses over the years, with a favorite being ‘Too Bad Toby.’
Mark was an exceptionally skilled carpenter. He loved bringing old barns back to life by straightening and strengthening them. He paid great attention to the detail work in the finishing work of homes. He even took on remodeling his sister Cindy’s townhome, to rave reviews.
Animals have always been a part of Mark’s life. While raised with livestock, he was most proud of his and Lori’s hobby farm with a few sheep, hogs, chickens, ducks, horses, a llama, and beloved dogs.
Treasured times were spent with his son, Cade. They would go shooting, ice fishing, and hang out together. He was extremely proud of the man Cade has become.
Mark is lovingly survived by his son, Cade Escue of New Underwood, SD and formerly of Crookston; Lori Swanson of Mentor, MN; step-son, Joel Swanson of Erskine, MN; four siblings: Cindy Bigger of Alexandria, MN, Scott Bigger and wife, Bev, of Portland, OR, Kevin Bigger and wife, Barb, of Hawley, MN, and Jeff Bigger and wife, Julie, of Alexandria; 5 nieces and nephews: Megan Bigger Grey, and Jacob, Amanda, Lukas, and Joseph Bigger; together with several aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sam, who died on August 26, 1993, and Norma, who passed a two weeks later on September 10th; maternal grandparents, August and Aina Yoki; and paternal grandparents, Samuel and Cornelia (Belle) Bigger. Blessed be the memory of Mark Allan Bigger.
The memorial service for Mark will be held at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston at 3:00 pm, Friday, December 6, 2019. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service. Inurnment will take place next to his parents, Sam and Norma Bigger, at the Pickeral Lake Cemetery, rural Osage, MN, next Spring.