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.

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