Obituary: Mark Ransom, 1950-2022 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Mark Ransom, 1950-2022 

Passionate and prolific musician was also a beloved early childhood educator

Published January 4, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated January 24, 2023 at 2:33 p.m.

click to enlarge Mark Ransom - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Mark Ransom
Mark Ransom, 72, of Burlington, Vt., passed away suddenly on the afternoon of December 27, 2022. Mark was a shining light in the community and will be missed by his family and many friends. He was a hard-rocking musician and a beloved early childhood educator whose kind and gentle nature endeared him to all who knew him.

Mark was born on May 19, 1950, to parents Robert and Louise Ransom (née Bristol) in Bronxville, a comfortable suburb north of New York City. He grew up with five brothers in a family that encouraged a love of music. Mark sang in the church choir and played trombone in his high school orchestra.

In high school, Mark formed his first rock-and-roll band, the Good Things. He played lead guitar and was the group’s leader and arranger. They played many church dances and parties and were considered the best of the thriving local “garage” scene at the time. Brother Larry played bass and would return from Amherst College for weekend gigs.

Mark moved to Burlington in 1981 to join the iconic Burlington band the N-Zones and soon met his future wife, Brooke Hadwen. His prolific musical credits include local institutions the X-Rays, the Fortune Tellers, the Chrome Cowboys, Mango Jam, Barbacoa and the Magnolias. Mark was a dynamic and talented musician with an unmatched passion for rock and roll in its many forms. He was often in multiple bands at the same time because he just couldn’t get enough. He was an accomplished bass player with a passion for the craft, and he rocked every note.

Mark and Brooke were married in 1984 and had their son, Drew, in 1986. He was a wonderful and loving father who espoused the value of skiing, music and taking the time to have a little fun.

In 1992, Mark began working at Trinity College Child Care Center (now Trinity Children’s Center), where he would become a fixture for the next 20 years. He is fondly remembered for his kindness and patience by the many children and parents whose lives he touched during his time there. Music, of course, was a big part of the curriculum.

Mark moved to Hawaii in 2012 with his then-partner, Mia Adams. After checking out the music scene there, he joined the Saloon Pilots, who billed themselves as “Hawaii’s Best Bluegrass Band.” He continued writing songs, recording music and teaching bass guitar. Wherever Mark was, there was always music.

In 2013, Mark was diagnosed with throat cancer. The treatments were rough, but he rebounded and continued to enjoy island life. That included tennis, hiking and daily bike rides up the coast road from his Kuli'ou'ou home to swim at his favorite spot, the Halona Cove, also known as the From Here to Eternity beach. He even tried surfing a couple times.

Mark moved back to Burlington in 2020 and picked up where he left off, reuniting with his musician friends and rocking as hard as his health would allow. When Mark wasn’t onstage, he was in his home recording studio, working alone or with other artists to create music.

Mark was predeceased by his parents and his eldest brother, Mike, who died in Vietnam in 1968. He is survived by his son, Drew, and daughter-in-law, Erin, of Burlington; brother Larry and his wife, Gail, of Seattle; brother John and his wife, Susan, of New York City; brother Matthew, also of New York; brother Daniel and his partner, Dorothy Casale, of Manchester, Vt.; former wife Brooke of Burlington; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

A memorial concert will be held on April 6 at Higher Ground in South Burlington.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Big Heavy World:
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