Mark's picture from our 10th class reunion in 1975 at the Elk's Club.
Mark Mielke was my closest friend during high school. We both lived in Corralitos, both were in Boy Scout Troup #15 together, and we both loved the out of doors. Mark was an incredible pianist, and loved to play modern jazz on his piano. I played the drums and also loved to play jazz. I would take my drum set to Marks house on many many weekends, set them up in his game room and he and I would play jazz and jam for hours. Many of his jazz tunes he made up himself, and they were terriric. When we would get rired of playing jazz, we would take breaks and play ping pong. He beat me almost every time.
We would frequently go to Big Als pizza parlor in Santa Cruz (directly across the street from the Giant Dipper) on Friday & Saturday nights, and the band that played there would invite us to sit in and play jazz for them. Boy did we love doing that. We also played jazz a few times at the The Catalyst coffee house/club in Santa Cruz. We loved going there and playing jazz there (wonder if the Catalyst is still there?).
Mark was a terrific dancer, and my twin sister, Kathie, loved to dance with him. I, on the other hand, had 2 left feet, and often asked Mark to teach me some dance moves. He tried, I was awfull.................
We went to different colleges, but met up for a while at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. After I got out of the service, I lost contact with Mark (our lives took different paths).
While visiting in Watsonville in October of 1975, I was getting a haircut and while reading a newspaper (Santa Cruz Sentinel) in the barber shop I found that Mark had died and his memorial service was at White's Memorial Chapel that very day. I attended his memorial service and was saddened to learn that Mark had died quite unexpectely at the age of 28. He was born in 1947 and died in 1975.
He was my best friend and I wish we could have played some cool jazz together just one more time. I'll never forget Mark, he was a great guy and a terrific friend.
Marilyn Miller (Biancalana)
Mark was the gentlest soul with remarkable musical talent. He had a little psychedelic room where we would go to listen to music after a barbeque with his sister and parents. After graduation, he came to my little cottage in Capitola where we listened to more music--I particularly remember Claudine Longet.
I was in Washington state when I had a dream--it was Mark's face coming right to me with a smile.It was so real that I sat up, expecting to see him. I later learned from Barbara Hedlund that he had died.just about then.
I think of him so often--he had a special place in my heart and now in my memories.
With love and respect,
I went through grade school and high school with Mark and even saw him occasionally at San Jose State.
What I so remember about Mark was at the monthly dances we Corralitos School kids had at the local Grange Hall when parents would spin the records. And yes, he could dance. I wasn't able to dance with him often but I sure had a good time when I did. Then there was his sax playing in the band at Corralitos and his piano playing(rag time style as I remeber) when there were house parties. He is greatly missed.