Obituary: Mark William 'Poogie' Hough, 74

2011-10-24T00:00:00Z Obituary: Mark William 'Poogie' Hough, 74 Montana Standard
October 24, 2011 12:00 am

Mark William ‘Poogie’ Hough, 74

Mark William ‘Poogie’ Hough, aka Milford Humdaak, aka Phipps McGreevie, aka Loretta, Farley J. Culpepper, Doyle Flabbert, Adison Trubshaw, Guido Cogliuzzi, and Smacky Deponce, 74, long-time resident of Butte, died of a heart attack on the 13th day of October, 2011. In his own words, he “took the king whipper.”

Mark was born in Chicago, Ill., on Feb. 13, 1937, and was adopted from The Cradle adoption agency to parents Mark Harold Hough and Beulah Belle Lillibridge Hough of St. Charles, Illinois. Mark was raised with his adopted sister, Marlene Hough Eschenbacher.

His early years were spent in St. Charles, developing a curiosity for chemistry and physics, which lead to self-directed experiments in chemicals, explosives, astronomy, electronics, and fishing — typically, but not exclusively, separately. 

Following graduation from St. Charles High School in 1955, Mark attended Iowa State University against his parents’ wishes and studied physics. Before completing his four-year degree, Mark moved to Beloit, Wisc., where he attended Beloit College.  In Beloit, he met the love of his life, Valerie Ann Ramsing, whom he married in 1964.  

After college, Valerie and Mark moved to Minneapolis, Minn., where Mark started his working career as a self-taught electronics repairman.  He was employed by Univac, a division of Remington Rand Co. in Minneapolis. During his tenure at Univac, Mark designed rubber band machine guns and circuits for computers used in early unmanned moon missions. 

Mark and Val had two children, Winston and William, before moving to a farmhouse in rural Hennepin County, Minnesota, where they had their third child, Ian.  

Following their dream to live in the West, Mark and Val went seeking work in Eugene, Ore., in 1968.  Unable to find work, Mark took the family to Boise, Idaho, where he was employed by Turtlings, an electronics repair shop.  Soon thereafter, Mark joined the Soil Conser-vation Service, working as a snow surveyor during the winter months and inventing survey electronics in the summer. 

Mark and Val had their fourth child, Miriam, in Boise in 1970. 

The Hough family moved to Butte in 1976, where Mark worked for the Forest Service maintaining radio communications for the Deerlodge and Beaverhead national forests. His work for the Forest Service often took him into the mountains. 

Mark was a member at one time or another of the Dillon, Anaconda and Butte amateur radio clubs, building radio equipment for all three.  His involvement in amateur radio leaves a lasting imprint in southwest Montana.

Mark passionately enjoyed the outdoors, where he worked and recreated. Family vacations mostly involved camping near survey sights, or at an abandoned mining claim at Abby Creek. Mark's enjoyment of the outdoors lasted to his final days. He spent many of his last days traveling through the open country of the Southwest, where he would hike, bicycle, and camp. He loved the Grand Canyon, condors and camping on the less traveled north rim.

An avid inventor, Mark had a profuse number of designs for things as far  ranging as telephones made from empty SPAM cans to toys and night lights he called Winky Blinkies. His last project was a circuit that carried a person’s voice on laser light across the room. 

His ability to fix anything and everything, his incredible memory for historical and scientific facts, and for details of maps, movies and place names, and his stubbornness and healthy skepticism against all things established as normal will long be remembered. 

Mark possessed an endless depth of knowledge and an intellect and sharp wit to match. Mark also had a love for language. Playing with words was one of his signature traits. The loss of his creativity in inventing off-kilter ways of describing the world is one of the many ways he will be missed dearly.

Mark had many idiosyncrasies, which he threw himself into wholeheartedly. He learned the entire script of Monte Python the Holy Grail and many scenes from the other Python movies.

He created a multitude of pseudonyms for himself — a lifelong project of which a handful are listed herein. He invented names for common everyday things — somehow making the ordinary, extraordinary. He loved stoats and wore colorful crocs. 

Mark’s dearest and truest loves, however, were his wife, his family and his close friends. He will be remembered for his great generosity, his use of humor to teach and to heal, and his quiet yet commanding presence.

He was particularly empathetic and compassionate towards young disenfranchised people who struggled to swim against the current and find their place in the world. Many times he opened his heart, mind and home to those needing to talk, drink and feel loved. Mark was not afraid to be himself in each moment, which was the foundation of his philosophy of life — “be kind to others, be yourself always and laugh often at yourself and with others.” 

After his beloved wife succumbed to bone cancer earlier this year, Mark traveled a great deal, visiting his family in Portland, Ore., and the Grand Canyon, Ariz., as well as numerous friends along the way.  

Mark was preceded in death by his wife, Valerie; his son, Winston; his adoptive parents, Mark and Beulah; and his sister, Marlene. 

Mark is survived by his daughter, Miriam; and his two sons, Ian and William; as well as his grand-children, Joshua White, Emmett Hough, Maura Hough and Nyla Hough.

A celebration of Mark's life is planned for 10 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011, at the Butte Unity Church, 300 S. Montana in Butte.

Contributions may be made to the following organizations: Paul Clark House and Highland Hospice, both of Butte; West National Parks Association; Camp Mak-a-Dream; and Eagle Mount.

Express condolences at www.mtstandard.com/obits.

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  1. buttejunto
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    buttejunto - October 24, 2011 9:40 am
    We are so sorry for the loss of Mark. We talked to him at the Hummingbird Cafe a couple of days before he left for the Grand Canyon. He was so happy and excited about his trip. He said that he was doing what Valerie told him to do - travel, visit people, and do fun things. We talked about Devil's Tower and he told us he climbed it twice and came down in the dark. What an adventurous person. He will be missed!

    Don and Janice Plessas

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