On Jan. 25, 1959, Mark Andrew Oswalt entered the world, probably already wearing the cheeky grin his friends and family would come to see so often throughout his life. He was born in Newton, to Owen Eugene Oswalt and Kathryn Fisher-Oswalt. Mark was the third of four children blessed into the Fisher-Oswalt family. On March 21, 1986, Mark married his soulmate, Barbara Clark Oswalt. To this union, two kick-ass children (Chandra and Samuel) rounded out their Fab Four.
Some of Mark’s strongest passions included sports, music and a fierce love for his family. He was a competitor at heart, playing basketball at Newton High School and then Indian Hills Community College. Like most Oswalt men, Mark loved Cubbies baseball. Growing up, he got to watch Cubs legends like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Fergie Jenkins, and he watched every Cubs game he could his entire life. He loved talking about baseball history and his memory for past players and random facts always impressed anyone who got to hear it.
Mark loved to attend concerts, often taking in and sharing music from all sorts of genres with his friends and family. Although he was a blues man at heart, his favorite bands were Little Feat and Parliament-Funkadelic. In fact, he liked Little Feat so much he wanted to name his son Sam after Lowell George, their former lead singer.
Mark enjoyed playing music too. He brought a couple harmonicas to every show he went to just in case someone invited him on stage, where you could see him come alive. Many nights you could find him just sitting out by the garage, picking his guitar. Making music brought peace to his soul.
One of Mark’s favorite things to do was getting together with his family. Every year the entire family would gather for the Indian Hills Community College golf tournament, and his eyes would light up around loved ones, he livened every room he was in. He absolutely adored kids, and you could see his inner child come out whenever he was around them. He loved spending time with Chandra and Sam, and more recently, loved being Papa to his granddaughter, Elliott. He always enjoyed telling stories about whatever new silly things they had done, and they both loved spending time together.
Mark also had a way of making people laugh. From the way he’d tell stories to his everyday, silly antics, nothing made him happier than making others happy. He had an infectious charm and people around him couldn’t help but gravitate to him (as long as he wasn’t grumpy). Even when going through the checkout line, he’d make small talk, seeing if he could get the checker to crack a smile. He touched the lives of everyone around him.
On March 29, 2021, surrounded by his wife, children, siblings and sister-in-law, Mark took his last earthly breath. He was at home with the sun shining, the breeze blowing and he was at peace. It was everything he wanted. Cancer may have set Mark upon this journey, but in the end — in the game of life —Mark won. The imprint he left on this world is larger than life.
Mark’s cancer diagnosis came right at the start of the COVID outbreak. This robbed him of the opportunity to see his friends and family while he was sick. For this reason, we will not let COVID define his celebration of life. Anyone who knew Mark knows he would have wanted people to gather and have a good time together. Sometime within the next few months, when we can safely gather, we will have an amazing party to celebrate the man many knew simply as Ozzy.
We have heard so many stories about Mark over the past few days. We would like to collect these to share at his celebration of life party. Please email any stories, memories, pictures or videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.