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With a Heavy Heart
With a very heavy heart, I must report to our members a great loss. Our friend and moderator of this forum, Mark Reich, passed unexpectedly yesterday in Belle Fouche, at home. This strikes me as lightning bolt would. My condolences, as well as EOU's, go out to Mark's wife and family. Mark and his wife were guests of mine at the farm and she is as lovely and gracious  as her husband was.

Mark was among my very first customers and that's how our long association began.  Our first meeting over the phone lasted well over an hour.  Beginning with that first call, Mark was never just a customer. Much more than a customer, Mark was always a friend, an adviser, a mentor and a confidant. I,  the BESS Exchange, his friends and family, knife makers and blade smiths everywhere, will suffer his passing greatly and forever.
Mark and I only met over the phone and through email. Nevertheless, I regarded him as a friend. He would cheerfully share his extensive knowledge and was a very generous and kind spirit who would go out of his way to help others.
We will miss you, Mark.

I too only knew Mark by correspondence but also considered him a friend.  He was just that kind of a person.  His contribution here, and to the world of knife making, will certainly be missed.
Mark’s craftsmanship and artistic vision when making knives was amazing.  Here is a picture of one of his stunningly beautiful creations.

I was so impressed I framed the picture and sent it to him. 

I feel lucky to have known him.
i never met Mark in person either, just by text or phone.

between him, Don Baily and Mr Rupert they helped me launch my meager knife sharpening adventure.

most of my sharpening prior to 2012 was with water stones and along comes a friend that knew i sharpened knives for friends and asked me if i wanted to start Sharpening at her farmers market in over the years i have gone from stones, wicked edge and belts.

all the knowledge  i have come to know and use came from three fine gentlemen above..........i talked with Mark often about his Kally techniques and even bought him 6 at one price was better than his and he and i had many many discussions regarding that, i got all my custom mark platens from him.

Rupert called me and told me................i can not comprehend it

RIP my friend.

I talked to him by e-mail. He was a kind man.
I have just planned to ask Mark what would be a suitable belt grinder for me who only occasionally makes a knife…

I admired the beauty of his knives, I admired his effort to understand the principles of metallurgy. He provided me with valuable guidance when I was designing my furnace.

I will miss you, Mark!


Thanks Rupert. Here's the piece, in-line, linked by Rupert:

Obituary: Mark Todd Reich

[Image: t.1.jpg]
Mark Todd Reich, age 52, of Belle Fourche was called home at the end of his numbered days by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, early in the morning of December 18, 2019.
Mark was born January 18, 1967 in Laramie, WY to Tim and Ree (Richards) Reich. Mark’s life was distinguished by a passion for perfection and an insatiable search for knowledge and understanding. From his early years in school, from grades, to wrestling and football, he wanted to be the best he could be. He toured Europe on a South Dakota wrestling team trip, and was part of the Belle Fourche High School state champion football team. During that time Mark was also learning to be a very skilled wood worker, building the Best of Show roll-top desk at a multi school shop fair. A comment overheard by a master wood craftsman at that event described Mark well, “a kid that age shouldn’t have that much skill, it’s just not right.”
Mark carried the striving for perfection into adulthood. His creativity and his ability to make ordinary tasks works of art was in part learned and fostered by his Grandpa Richards. His determination to finish a job and be able to relax for a job well done was encouraged by his Grandpa Reich. His tenderness and concern for others was cultivated by his grandmothers.
Mark married Carleen Moore January 30, 1986 and to this marriage 3 sons, Tyson, Devin and Dillion were born. They resided in Ft. Worth, TX and upon their divorce he moved back to Belle Fourche. He married Maryanne “Annie” Darling on April 1, 2014 at “The Ranch.”
His vocation as a builder of homes and finish carpenter was cut short by two falls from roofs onto concrete floors that broke both his wrists, several ribs and his back. Recovering from those injuries led him to find a new interest in metallurgy, and that led him into a pursuit to make the best knife anyone ever owned. Mark studied under the best bladesmiths in the US and learned what he could from them. He then refined their techniques and became one of the best. Mark’s knives are prized by knife owners and collectors throughout North America and Europe.
He loved his wife, children, family and became good friends with nearly everyone he met. He cherished time spent outdoors hiking, hunting, fishing, trapshooting, observing wildlife and watersports. He especially enjoyed sharing those adventures with his children, close friends and with his nephews and nieces, teaching them to bait a hook, squeeze a trigger slowly or make a whistle from a green willow stick. Mark took time to wonder at the detail in nature, the perfection of a rose and the beauty of a sunset.
He lived to do things for others. He cut firewood for friends, hauled manure for gardeners, got small engines running smoothly for his dad and so many simple meaningful things for those he called friends. He even started to revisit his saxophone so he could play in the Belle Fourche Cowboy Band beside his mother with her French horn because he knew how much that would mean to her. So many things that are now left for us to do, but Mark gave us the vision and the example.
Now Mark is finally resting in the perfection of the presence of his Creator. I’m sure he is asking questions, “How did you do that?” and marveling as Jesus is showing him the wonders of God.
Grateful for sharing his life are his father and mother, Tim and Ree Reich; his wife, Annie Reich all of Belle Fourche; his children, Tyson (Amber) Reich, Devin (Kenzie) Reich and Dillion Reich all of Ft. Worth, TX; 3 stepchildren, Tamora Rosenbaum, Ian Rosenbaum and Emily Rosenbaum all of Rapid City, SD; his sisters, Heather (Todd) Heckmann of White Bear, MN, Angela Reich of Belle Fourche and Holly (Jeff) Main of Aladdin, WY; 8 grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents.
Visitation and sharing of memories will be held Sunday, December 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at Kline Funeral Chapel in Belle Fourche.
A Ceremonial Tribute will be held Monday, December 30 at 10:30 AM at the Christian Life Center in Belle Fourche with Pastor Paul Howard officiating.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to the Belle Fourche High School Industrial Arts program or the Christian Life Center in Belle Fourche.
An online guest book and video tribute is available at
Whether it be champagne or orange juice, let's all remember Mark Reich the evening of the 31st. 2020 will miss him.

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