Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blog Post # 19

Mark Alfred Riddle completed his mortal life early Saturday morning, June 11, 2011.   He had, with great courage and faith, battled for many months a very aggressive form of cancer. 


Mark was born on May 12, 1946 and spent his youth in Provo and Orem where he attended BY High.  He earned B.A. (in History) and M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration) degrees from Brigham Young University (BYU) and pursued graduate/ doctorate studies in economics at the University of Utah and in instructional psychology and technology at BYU.  In 1989 he was formally accredited as a Japanese-to-English translator by the American Translators Association.  His translations have appeared in such academic journals as Japanese Economic Studies, and he has delivered scholarly papers before such groups as the Association for Asian Studies and the BYU Studies Symposium. 


For most of his working career, Mark was an educator.  He retired in May 2007 as an instructor of Japanese and of English as a second language (ESL) at Wasatch Academy, in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, where he chaired the ESL Department.  He taught Japanese at Salt Lake Community College, Utah Valley State College, Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Utah.  He also taught educational psychology at BYU.   Additionally he taught ESL in Japan for several years, and owned and operated a business providing opportunities for Japanese students to study in the United States and for American students to study in Japan, as well as a company providing translation services.   After retirement he worked as an on-line instructor of Japanese for BYU-Idaho and as a volunteer on-line Japanese-to-English translator for the Tokyo, Japan, Public Affairs Office of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Neighbors knew Mark as a "green thumb," or as he called himself, a "truck farmer."  For years he was a regular fixture at the Salt Lake Farmers' Market where he supplemented his income by selling the beautiful fruits and vegetables grown in his gardens.  As a young adult, Mark worked as a journeyman electrician, following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Perry Allred. Many would be surprised at his impressive intellectual accomplishments.   His was a keen mind and he was known in the academic world as a scholar who enjoyed exchanging philosophical ideas with other deep thinkers.  He was a frequent contributor to LDS  Mark sought diligently for truth wherever it can be found, and was articulate in its verbal and written expression.  An example of his cogent writing is published at  He was avidly interested in social and political ideas and convincing in his advocacy of civility in discussing opposing points of view.  His essay on civility in public discourse, entitled Another Lesson From Founding Fathers, was published in the Deseret News on Sept 17, 2010.   


Mark felt a kinship with the people of Asia, particularly with those of Japan, where he served as a missionary (Northern Far Eastern Mission 1964-1967).  Returning to live and teach in Japan, Mark researched and studied the extraordinary number of parallels and similarities between Japan's  religious underpinnings and those of ancient Israel.  Several of his articles which document the archeological and cultural ties between the regions have been accepted for publication in prestigious journals outside of the L.D.S. community.       


Mark's deep love for his wife and children was surpassed only by his profound love for the Savior and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.   He is survived by his wife, Laurel (Cook) Backman Riddle, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, and by his 11 children, Joseph Riddle (Laura), of Commerce, TX; Brigham Riddle (Blair), of Newport News, VA; Heber Riddle, of Springtown, TX; John Riddle, of Springtown, TX; David Riddle, of Bountiful, UT; Cassandra Sanford (Jacob), of Port Neches, TX; Isaac Riddle, of Philadelphia, PA; George Riddle, of Bountiful, UT; Spencer Riddle (Nikki), of Layton, UT; Michael Riddle, of Mt. Pleasant, UT; and Merry Riddle, of Mt. Pleasant, UT.  Mark also has four step-children, Shane Backman (Adriana), of Cedar Park, TX; Melody Bearman (Charles), of Mesa, AZ; Miriam Coyle (Richard), of Pleasant Grove, UT; and Dionne Kraus (Craig), of Mesa, AZ.   Thirty youngsters call Mark grandpa.


Mark is also survived by his parents, Chauncey and Bertha (Allred) Riddle of Provo, UT and by his 10 living siblings, Neil Riddle (Elaine), of Provo, UT; Robert Riddle (LaNell), of Tracy, CA; Brian Riddle (Marilyn), of Provo, UT; Sara Okerlund (Dale), of Bountiful, UT; Paul Riddle (Lisa), of Salt Lake City, UT; Ellen Nerdin (Douglas), of Monticello, UT; Seth Riddle, of Provo, UT; Elizabeth Riddle, of Provo, UT; Matthew Riddle (Suzie), of West Jordan, UT; and Joseph Riddle, of Washington D.C..


Funeral services will be held June 27, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at the Timpanogos Stake Center, 795 North 100 West, Pleasant Grove, UT.  Friends may call Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. at Olpin Family Mortuary, 494 South 300 East, Pleasant Grove and at the church on Monday one hour prior to services.  Interment will be in the Orem City Cemetery.  Condolences may be sent to the family at    In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the purpose of assisting the needy in Japan.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blog Post #18

Dear Loved Ones,

I haven't posted for a very long time.   First, because there was never much to report.   Mark seemed to plateau for a very long time.   It is hard to continue to write that there is no change.

Mark was diagnosed with end stage melanoma almost exactly a year ago.  At the same time, he's struggled with prostate cancer and parkinson's disease.   His attitude has been wonderful - full of hope and full of determination to do his part to keep his body as healthy as possible.

It has truly been a year of miracles.   We are so thankful for each day, for each act of kindness, for sweet relationships, for children, brothers, sisters, parents, friends, for the miracle of forgiveness and hearts mended, for the many gifts of the Spirit.   We are most especially grateful for the miracle of our Savior's love which we have felt, and continue to feel, so abundantly.

Now more recently, I haven't posted because there is too much to report, and no time in which to express it all in writing.   Mark celebrated his 65th birthday on May 12th.   On that day, he sat in the backyard and enjoyed visits from all of his children and grandchildren living in Utah.   He also enjoyed phone calls from all of his children living far away.   He either saw or heard from almost all of his siblings, and of course, his parents.   It was a wonderful, beautiful day.    Also, on that day, he was put on hospice.   But for lack of age, he would have qualified for hospice months ago.   Miraculously, neither he nor I really needed that kind of help until now.    But, how we need it now!   

Mark's health has precipitiously declined - truly as if he stepped off a cliff.    For many days, I was assisting him around the clock getting to and from the bathroom.   I went 15 days without a full night's sleep, and in some of those days I got no sleep at all.    Then, just as suddenly, Mark can no longer get out of bed, even with assistance (unless he is literally lifted and carried).   He is unable to swallow easily, he is often confused and rarely communicates.   It is thought that the cancer has reached his brain, which doctors expected to happen months ago.   I am caring for him at home, with the help of family and friends who come in regularly to give me time to rest or work.    Mark spent a few days in a care center (after the 15 days of little rest), but did poorly there.    He is much happier and peaceful at home.     I have become an expert at many of the things nurses do.    (I was thinking that during the millenium when the only advocate (attorney) we'll need is the Lord, I'll have to change professions.   Maybe I can be a nurse - but oh! wait!  We won't need them either! Won't that be wonderful?)

Yet, during this stressful time, I continue to see miracles.   I certainly feel the sustaining love of the Lord.  I am touched by the many people who are willing to help.  I am so grateful for so many things.    And tonight - another miracle.   Mark was lucid and we shared our feelings as I read chapter 8 of Romans.   He led us in prayer, and as I finished it for him, he said, "Yes! Yes!" as I expressed our trust in and love for the Lord, and as I prayed for our children.

I feel certain peace, a gift for which I am most grateful.   Mark is in the Lord's hands and we both totally and completely trust the Lord.   I testify that "all things" do truly work together for our good if we trust our Father in Heaven and His Holy Son.    Whether Mark miraculously recovers, or passes through the veil to the world of spirits, or lingers in a disabled condition longer in mortality, I know that it will be okay because He who loves us is in charge. 

Thank all of you for all that you do.   Please hold us in your prayers.

Love, Laurel  


Friday, December 17, 2010

Blog Post #17

Dear Family and Friends,


Someone just pointed out to me that I hadn't posted since October 13th and that some of you out there still worry and check!   So, so sorry!


No news is very good news.   Mark continues to improve and get stronger.   We are still juicing and using supplements and other natural therapies.    I keep threatening to write up what we are doing in case anyone is interested for themselves.  


We love all of you.   I believe the most important thing we are doing is praying and exercising faith.   We surely appreciate all of your prayers on our behalf.  It's not over yet.


Love,  Laurel    

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Post #16

Oops!  I just read my last few blog posts and realized that I hadn't yet reported the results of Mark's last doctor's visit.    You may recall that he had the primary tumor removed some time ago.   There was no attempt to "get it all" as it was considered hopeless - the cancer had already spread.   The removal was "palliative," in other words, to make Mark more comfortable.    He finally went in for a post-op follow up.   The doctor was very surprised - surprised that the cancer had not progressed (or gotten worse) or regrown.    I wasn't surprised in the least, other than that the doctor was so willing to express surprise at how well our patient is doing!


Post #15

Well, we are proof that "no news is good news."    Mark continues to feel well.   He walks a couple of miles on most days.  His cancer symptoms are virtually gone.    We haven't had any medical tests to confirm that the cancer is gone, as it cost thousands to just to get to a diagnosis - with no treatment.    But feeling well and having no symptoms - that's saying something!    Thank you so much for your continued faith and prayers!   If any of you would like more details about Mark's diet and supplements, you can email me:   


Mark's struggle now is with Parkinson's disease.   It may seem strange, but if you google melanoma and Parkinson's, you will find that there is a significant correlation - almost two times the average occurance of one if you have the other.    You can guess where I am headed again - back into the medical research.

Did any of you know that I wanted to be a doctor when I was growing up?    I actually considered going to the Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine a few years ago, but decided that launching a new career was impractical.


We love and appreciate all of our wonderful friends.   Without you, our journey would not have been so successful.    Hugs for all of you.




Sunday, September 26, 2010

Post # 14

I thought all of you would enjoy reading Mark's essay which was recently published in the Deseret News.  Click on the following link to find it:



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Post #13

Wow!   I came home last night and Mark said to me, "You know what I feel like?  ...... cancer?  What cancer?"    He really is feeling and acting like he is well and healthy.    Thank you, Heavenly Father!