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In Memory of Mark Maley
$2,600 raised
26% of $10k goal
19 contributors
35 Weeks running

Hi, I am Rich Allen, a friend of Mark’s for 48 years.  The one thing about Mark is that he was a friend and mentor to everyone he met.  On February 8th, Mark left us way to early due to cancer.

I am establishing this crowdfunding campaign to provide a vehicle for those who want to remember Mark and provide funds that the family can use in the short term while they are working through estate items.  All funds raised go directly to the family.  At the memorial service, I will provide the family with a condolence card with a listing of those who gave to the campaign.  

 

Mark Maley, 61, Was Hardworking Journalist, Dedicated Father

Mark Maley brought a teacher's acumen and a tireless work ethic to the profession he loved for more than 30 years.

By Scott Anderson, Patch Staff| Feb 8, 2019 12:29 pm ET | Updated Feb 8, 2019 12:30 pm ET
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WISCONSIN — Mark Maley was known as a tireless editor who devoted countless Diet Coke-fueled hours honing and elevating the work of local reporters over his 30-year career in journalism.

He was also known as a gentle family man who was so moved by stories of foster children that he welcomed an adopted son into his family later in life.

The people who worked with him simply called him "Maley" - a title that conveyed a sense of urgency in whoever was on the other end of an early-morning or late-night phone call about a story. He relished this throughout his long journalism career.

On Sunday, Dec. 30, Maley was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Doctors said the cancer had spread throughout his body and that he had between three to six months to live.

Maley's cancer took its toll more rapidly than anyone expected. Surrounded by loved ones, Maley died peacefully on Friday, Feb. 8, just 40 days after his diagnosis. He was 61 years old.

Maley was Wisconsin Patch's founding regional editor nine years ago, launching every Patch in the state. His three years at Patch were but a sliver of a career that included work at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Suburban Milwaukee's CNI Newspapers, Suburban Chicago's Pioneer Press and the Elkhart Truth in Indiana, and finally as a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

At Patch, Maley was tasked with leaping into journalism's online world with both feet in order to grow a network of community news websites from the ground up, staffed by a team of ambitious local reporters.

Mark Maley, second from right, at a company outing during his Patch days.

Former Editorial Director Sherry Skalko remembers hiring Maley in 2010 to lead Wisconsin — and what made him stand out.

"Mark could have worked anywhere, but he was in local journalism for so long and in the same place because that's what he was meant to do," she said. "He was tenacious, not just as a journalist but as a leader. There was nothing his team couldn't accomplish — he not only believed that but he lived it."

Maley led Patch reporters through Wisconsin's controversial 2012 gubernatorial recall election, 2012 Oak Creek Sikh Temple mass shooting, 2013 federal government shutdown and 2012 Azana Spa shooting.

"Their work shaped national coverage and was emblematic of what Patch was always meant to do, harness the power of local journalism to empower communities," Skalko said.

Heather Asiyanbi helped grow Patch from the ground up with Maley from 2010 to 2013.

"Maley was my biggest supporter and most constructive critic. He trusted me implicitly to cover my communities, and I knew that any edits he made to my work only made it that much stronger and that much more useful," she said. "Maley was a man of unshakable integrity, and we are all better for having worked for and with him."

Denise Lockwood worked with Maley at CNI Newspapers and later at Patch.

"What drove him, and us, was finding the meaning in things, the relevance, and why people should care about the complicated-ness of life," she said.

"He's the hardest-working person I've ever met," former Patch reporter Mark Schaaf said, who also noted that his Diet Coke stories were legendary. "He drank Diet Coke like it was water."

The stories abound: at one job, a vending machine company couldn't keep the soda machine stocked with Diet Coke just because of Maley. At another job, he kept a fridge in his office stocked with the soda just so he didn't have to venture to the cafeteria to get one. To those who knew him, the trademark silver-and-red can was more of an appendage that traveled with him wherever he went.

In his later years, Maley always looked more grandfatherly than grizzled. Beneath a receding hairline and aviator-style eyeglasses was a warm smile and kindly ambition that endeared himself to those who knew him.

Maley was born in 1957 in Elgin, Illinois, and grew up 20 miles east in Rolling Meadows. He's also a lifelong diehard Chicago White Sox fan.

Debbie Maley said she met her future husband when he worked at a Jack In The Box fast food restaurant in the early 1970s. His ambition to jump into the workforce was apparent even then. "When Mark was 15 he wanted to work, so he lied about his age. His birthdate has always been off by a year," Debbie said. But Maley couldn't let the mistake stand. Just this year, he went to the local Social Security office to make it right.

"Mark's one goal in life that people don't know about was to get his college degree," Debbie said. Maley left college early to take on his first journalism job. Decades later, at the age of 61, he finally fulfilled the promise he made to himself, earning a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst just days before he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Maley is survived by his spouse Debbie, daughter Erica and his son Kobi.

Debbie said her husband was struck by stories about children and families — and how an open heart and abiding faith in doing good led them to add Kobi to their family.

"Mark worked for the newspaper, and was always reading stories about children in the foster care system and that they needed homes. It made him so sad to think of all these children needing homes," Debbie said. "We found out that we could adopt the foster children that weren't going home, so at the age of 50, we decided to adopt. That is how Kobi became our son."

Submitted Photos, Published With Permission

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