Mark A. Senftner, 60, of Onida passed away Saturday, October 15, 2022. The family will greet visitors from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday, October 20, 2022 ending with a prayer service at 5:00 p.m. at the Sully Gymnasium in the Buttes school in Onida. Christian Burial Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, October 21, 2022 at Sully Buttes School Gymnasium, followed by interment at Onida Cemetery.
Mark Anthony Senftner, our beloved husband, father, son, friend and coach, passed away on Saturday October 15, 2022. He was 60 years old. Mark’s battle with brain cancer and its lingering effects was approached with the same zest and tenacity he has used throughout his coaching career.
He was born on April 30, 1962 to Clarence and Jean (Keller) Senftner in McLaughlin, South Dakota. Mark spent his early years on the farm south of town. His adventurous and stubborn spirit provided tough days for his mother and sisters, as Mark’s plans often involved someone getting hurt. One summer day, Mark decided it would be fun to have a rodeo. A small unauthorized event, it involved Carol, the contestant, and Mark, the chute leader wielding a plank, urging the stock (cow) to fight. He quickly went into paramedic mode, using his shirt as a scarf when Carol’s ride was a “No Score.” This little performance was kept secret for a while until Barbara overheard them talking about the incident while working in the garden and ran to tell Jean. After his early years on the farm, Clarence and Jean moved to town. It was the end of the Senftner Rodeo Company and, luckily for her sisters, the beginning of safer options for adventure and fun.
From the start of his life, Mark loved competition. He loved being outdoors and spent his hours playing around McLaughlin’s quarters. He loved everything related to the ball and the scoreboard and this passion guided him throughout his life. Football, basketball, baseball, track and field, tennis, golf and even board games gave him many hours of enjoyment. A member of the McLaughlin Class of 1980 (Go MIDGETS), Mark had the chance to play in the State B basketball tournament in both his junior and senior year.
After graduating, Mark enrolled at Northern State University. It was here that his life was further enriched by the people and opportunities he experienced and learned to love. He managed to cut four years of college into five and earned his teaching/coaching degree from NSU in May 1985. In the last week of his senior year, after a particularly long week of testing, Mark was met another student who also had a tough day in the finals….Lynn. I wish I could say we were celebrating our successful experience in Dr. Stahl’s class, but alas, that would be a lie. The last chance… where it all began.
Mark’s first teaching and coaching job was in Roscoe, South Dakota, where he worked from 1985 to 1990 teaching physical education and business classes for the Hornets. Roscoe was a special place filled with wonderful people and great mentors. Meanwhile, he was still unable to shake his beloved fan Lynn, so on the only free weekend between the state softball tournament and the coaches clinic, they were married on July 25, 1987 in Winner, SD surrounded of our amazing families and friends. . After his much-loved stint with the Hornets, Mark moved the couple to Gregory, South Dakota where he coached women’s basketball, men’s basketball and soccer during his 8-year career in as a gorilla. The move to Gregory provided more learning and growth as an educator and coach and a chance to enjoy Lynn’s family on the road to Winner. While at Gregory, they expanded the roster by adding sons Tate Benjamin in 1992 and Scott Robert in 1996. Many fun memories were made when the Senftner team cheered on the Gorillas.
Mark’s career took an incredible turn when he decided to move to Timber Lake, South Dakota in the fall of 1998. That leap of faith to join the Panthers was just what Mark needed, both on both professionally and personally. He was welcomed and supported by the Timber Lake community upon his arrival. In his first season with the Panthers, his team qualified for the State B tournament. Mark often spoke of the strength, coaching and fun of this team. And other teams followed suit – hard work and tenacity perfectly described its Panther athletes. At Timber Lake, Mark was a business teacher, boys and girls basketball coach, and athletic director. The Senftners will forever cherish their time at Timber Lake. Saying goodbye to school and community was one of the hardest decisions the family has ever made.
The Senftner team moved to Onida in the summer of 2005. Mark was able to benefit immensely from his students and athletes. His competitive spirit and stubborn streak, coupled with a talented student-athlete pool, administrative support and supportive parents, were the perfect equation for some special teams over the past 17 years. Marc worked hard. He prepared and over-prepared. He was always scouting, always watching tapes, and the notes and pieces written on the programs of his travels fill the files and the drawers of the desk. His passion was teaching the games he loved so much. Tough but kind, competitive but compassionate, sweet but incredibly sarcastic, he was decidedly old school. One of his saddest days was when his flip phone crashed…
A tote in the garage contains various plaques and awards from various associations never displayed because he was not interested in recognition. He was interested in people. He was strong in faith. He cherished the memories he made coaching and staying in touch with former students, fellow coaches and friends who made his life rich and amazing. We loved being his booster club and will forever miss his earthly presence.
A special thank you to the hundreds of people who have joined us in the fight over the past two years. The support and kindness of the school and the ABO administration will never be forgotten. Mark loved his career and they allowed him to enjoy more days than we ever thought possible.
Mark is predeceased by his son Tate and his sister Julie, as well as his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Left on the list to mourn his passing are his wife Lynn and son Scott. Mark is also survived by his parents, Jean and Clarence Senftner of Selby, his sisters Barb (Matt) Sheppard, Carol (Keith) Kracke and brother Tom (Kari) Senftner, his sister-in-law Amy Daughters, his brother-in-law Ted daughters, nieces and nephews Nathan, Kyle and Zachary Sheppard; Kadin Kracke; Marriann and Brit Senftner with her goddaughter Molly (Grayson) Pirner and many Keller/Senftner cousins.