In Memoriam: Mark Haines (1960-2014)
South Florida has lost not only a business and community leader, but a dear and loyal friend. The founder and CEO of Mark’s List, Mark Haines, was tragically killed Friday evening, November 14, after he was struck by multiple vehicles while crossing the street at Mile Marker 59 on U.S. 1 near Marathon in the Florida Keys.
Mark had completed the first half of the two-day SMART Ride bicycle ride and HIV/AIDS fundraiser earlier that evening. The SMART Ride was an endeavor that gave him great joy. Giving back to the community in which he lived was one of the things Mark lived for. In a bittersweet irony, he left this world while pursuing that goal.
Glen Weinzimer, founder of The SMART Ride, took notice of Mark’s enthusiasm to participate in the famed bike ride and fundraiser. “He had dinner with us Friday night at Hawk’s Cay [Resort] and told everybody it was one of the best days of his life,” he said to the Sun-Sentinel.
“He [was] hit by a car while walking home from dinner after the best day and the best ride of his life,” his nephew Matthew Haines said in a statement on the Mark’s List website. “…I tenuously reach for some ray of happiness in knowing that he died while doing what he loved most.”
Mark Haines, a native of Jackson, Michigan, moved down to Fort Lauderdale in 2003, and shortly thereafter created the website Mark’s List. It grew to become one of Florida’s largest entertainment and nightlife websites, promoting upcoming events and fun attractions across the state. In recent years, Mark had entered into publishing, and the Mark’s List website branched out to promote events and nightlife venues in places such as New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston. Mark’s staff included his longtime photographer and close friend Stephen Lang, who participated with Mark in this year’s SMART Ride.
Mark’s brother Jim took part as well, traveling from Kansas to be a part of the weekend. “[Mark] was really motivated for this ride,” he said. “I have been riding for several years, and when he told me about his training, I thought that sounded too good to be true. But he wasn’t exaggerating…He had plenty of reasons to be upbeat at end of that first day’s ride, and he was feeling good about it.”
Robert Boo, Chief Executive Officer of the Pride Center at Equality Park said: “Our community has lost a wonderful human being. Mark continuously gave back to so many without ever asking for something in return. I’m going to miss meeting him at Starbucks where I could
always count on seeing his smiling face.”
Hotspots Publisher Peter Clark admired Mark’s drive and tenacity. About Mark, he said, “I was proud to have known [him] as a personal friend and a business ally. He was truly a champion for our community.”
Mark’s positive impact on the South Florida LGBT community was immeasurable. Whether he was promoting nightlife venues and events, or supporting local non-profit service organizations and progressive causes, his work brought him into contact with nearly everyone in the community. Today, the community has lost a friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his friends at this time.