Obituary of Mark Vian
Mark Louis Vian, salesman, outspoken Democrat, and unsung hero of the early 1990s video game industry, passed away on July 9th at the age of 62. He is survived by his two sons—Jared Louis Vian of Denville, New Jersey, 35, and Seth Vian of Altamonte Springs, Florida, 31, as well as his four sisters—Cynthia Vian, Taryn Vian, Leslie Zalewski, and Melissa Larkin.
Mark was born on August 9th of 1954 in Newark, New Jersey, to Joseph Louis Vian and Barbara Conahey. He grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, alongside his sisters and numerous dogs, including Lady and Jesse. After graduating from Rutgers University with a major in African, Chinese, and early American history, Mark later married and moved to Glen Ridge, New Jersey, to raise his two sons and two dogs of his own—Hugo and Jake. During this time, he worked for Sega of America, managing sales for the company’s northeastern-based clients including Toys R’ Us, Kay Bee Toys, and Electronics Boutique (later Gamestop). A lifelong fan of Star Trek in all of its incarnations, he contributed to naming the Sega Genesis based on a plot element of the film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” He also planned the pre-order campaign, known as “Sonic 2uesday,” for “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” the first of its kind in the United States, and hired his father-in-law, DC Comics writer John Albano, to write the storylines for the Sonic games and comics. He later moved from Sega of America to Spectrum Holobyte due to his love of Star Trek, selling so many copies of their “Star Trek: The Next Generation” line that he won a dinner with actor Marina Sirtis. After Spectrum Holobyte went defunct, he moved on to become the top-producer for Inverse Ink, an early electronic comic publisher that produced CD-ROM comics based on popular DC Comics, Warner Bros, and Fox Kids properties. In 1998, Mark moved to Orlando, Florida, and started his own business, “Touchdown Mobile Homes,” which specialized in finding affordable housing for the mentally and physically disabled. When his clients couldn’t pay their bills, Mark would pay for them, going to endless lengths to help needy people keep their homes.
Outside of work, Mark enjoyed following every professional sport in the country, memorizing stats and odds with his 140+ I.Q., despite not having even the slightest interest in gambling. Although he considered himself a fan of every team out there, he avidly followed the Giants and the Mets above all others, never allowing disappointment to dull his pride in New Jersey. He enjoyed taking his family on vacations to Disney World, canoeing through the white water rapids of the Delaware river, and collecting literally every Star Trek novel and action figure in existence. He loved Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, and his family very much. Although he was taken from the world too young under tragic circumstances, he passed among those who loved him the most with an enduring legacy left behind.
Cremation will be private. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Mark’s memory to the ASPCA by way of www.inmemoryof-memorial.org. Please leave a condolence and special memory for his family at www.normandean.com.