As many of you already know, my wonderful partner Mark died suddenly last week while in Texas on business. So many have asked for funeral details that I will post his obituary here. Thank you for the hundreds of kind messages that have arrived over the past few days — they have been a deep source of comfort and encouragement.

Donald Mark Perez, 53, passed away unexpectedly February 16, 2018, in Dallas, Texas. He was born December 24, 1964, in Mobile, Alabama, to Donald Edward Perez and Carole Moncada Perez.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where his quick wit and warm personality led to lifelong friendships with his brothers in Delta Chi.

He was successful in a number of careers. As a young man, he combined his love of the culinary arts with his talent for organization to staff and develop new Cracker Barrel restaurants across the southeast. Later, Mark returned to his hometown and joined his father to become a custom homebuilder. He served on the board of the Home Builders Association of Metro Mobile. Most recently, he worked as an insurance adjuster for Worley Claims Services.

Mark loved his family, his friends and his community, and was always generous with his time and talents. He organized culinary workshops and taught them in his own kitchen. He was a founder of Mobile SketchCrawl, a quarterly public arts event that continues to grow and thrive, and Postcards from the Gulf, an international arts fundraiser to help with disaster recovery. Mark was happiest when he was helping someone else.

Preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Cynthia M. Perez, Mark is survived by his partner, Val Webb of Foley; stepdaughters, Hannah Milne (Joe); Nissa Gordon (Ricky); Zarah Webb; and five grandchildren.

He also leaves two sisters, Karen Perez Leonardo (Joe) of Tampa, Florida; and Kathy Perez Baker (Patrick) of Memphis, Tenn.; nephews Greggory J. Leonardo of Elmhurst, Illinois; Matthew J. Leonardo of Boston, Mass.; Kevin Baker (Noelle) of Waco, Texas; and nieces Allison Baker of Dallas, Texas; and Laura Baker of New York, New York.

Funeral services will be Monday, February 26, 2018, at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church, 308 East 22nd Avenue, Gulf Shores, Alabama. Visitation will be at 9:45 am. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in memory of Mark at 10:30am, and burial will follow at Pine Rest Cemetery in Foley.  A reception will be held afterward at The Gift Horse Restaurant, 209 W. Laurel Avenue, Foley.

Mark also will be missed by his rescue dog, Atticus. Memorial donations may be made to Mobile SPCA, 620 Ziegler Circle West, Mobile, Alabama, 36608.