Father Mark Spring, 71, died Sept. 1 at Fort Madison Community Hospital, one day after his retirement.
He was born in Kiel, Germany, the son of Lawrence and Roberta Guthrie Spring. He resided at an orphanage in Hamburg, Germany, for a period of time. He graduated from Fort Madison High School and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1969 to 1973. He then graduated from St. Ambrose College in Davenport with degrees in sociology and philosophy and completed his theology studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis.
On Aug. 29, 1980, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gerald O’Keefe at Sacred Heart Church in Fort Madison. Fr. Spring served at St. Joseph Parish in Montrose, St. James Parish in Washington, St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Bloomfield and St. Aloysius Parish in Eldon before serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. He returned to parish ministry at St. Mary Parish in Muscatine. He then served at St. Mary Parish in Riverside while also assisting with needs in the Iowa City Deanery, followed by assignments at St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville and Sacred Heart Parish in Melcher. He served as chaplain at Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison and finally as parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison and St. Joseph Parish in Montrose.
Fr. Spring was involved in Boy Scouts for years and received the Eagle Scout Award in 1965 as a member of Troop 7, at that time chartered to Sacred Heart Church in Fort Madison. He also earned the Catholic Church’s Ad Altare Dei Award for Boy Scouts. He belonged to the honor camping organization, Tribe of the Silver Tomahawk, holding the paint station of Keeper of the Wampum. Fr. Spring completed the Wood Badge Training Course, which provides the highest level of training for adult scouters.
Fr. Spring received the Silver Beaver Award from the Mississippi Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Quincy, Ill., the highest award given by a Boy Scout Council. He also received the St. George Award, presented to adults active in supporting and fostering the growth and development of Catholic youths under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church. St. George is the patron saint of Boy Scouts.
Fr. Spring’s funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 5 at Ss. Mary & Joseph Church in Fort Madison. Burial will be at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Fort Madison.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for Boy Scouts of America for Camp Eastman or Holy Family Parish.