RIP: Mark Marush, saxophonist for Wailers

I’m exhausted from two days of the LOUIE FEST. I met a lot of old friends, and new friends, including many I’ve first met via the web. When I get more time, I’ll be posting more photos, and possibly even some video links.

Mark Marush, saxophonist for Wailers

The sad news of the event was hearing that Mark Marush, the original saxophone player of the Wailers, passed away recently. I don’t have a lot of information about his death, or even what he’s been doing all these years, but I’ve been told that he died in Aberdeen, Washington.

I never had a chance to interview him, unfortunately. He was the original sax player on the 1961 version of THE SONG by Rockin’ Robin Roberts and the Wailers, which was a major influence on The Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders.

By all means, if you have any Mark Marush memories, please feel free to leave comments on this blog as means of remembering him.

12 comments to RIP: Mark Marush, saxophonist for Wailers

  • Carol Greco

    I worked with Mark at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort for about 3 years. I think it was 1984- 1987 and he lived in Greenwater for that time. I’m real sorry to hear that he passed. We spent alot of foggy days cooped up in the skilift booth during the summer. He did forget me on the lift for about 45 minutes when I went up to get him some coffee and toilet paper. I told him he would be plugged up for two weeks before I bring him toilet paper!!! We joked about that for weeks. He was a funny guy and will be missed.

  • Morgan Knudsen

    I loved reading Carol’s note…Mark was my dad and I love to hear the stories. I spent a lot of time at Crystal Mountain at that time with him, and it was some of the most special times I had with him.

  • EP

    I’m so glad to see these comments about Mark Marush on this blog! Let’s keep his legacy alive with more stories!

  • Carol Greco

    I am so sorry for the loss of your father, but he will always be alive in my memories. That is one thing that can’t be taken from us….the memories. Man we had some laughs!!!!

  • Judie Clark

    I went to high school with Mark and yes, had a crush on him, even before I knew the Wailers existed or ever went to a dance where they played. He and I were in DECA (Distributive Education) together. We had to make a notebook showing a product from the begining of making a product to end, selling the product, as a final class project. Mark Made his on Saxiphone, of course, I did mine on sweaters. We tied for first and both were able to attend the National DECA convention held at the Winthrop in Tacoma. I do remember the cover of his notebook was done in small tiles, which must have been very heavy, and had a saxaphone on the cover. I don’t know if he did the work himself, but it was great. I cheated and had a local company knit my cover in the good ole Gold and Blue. I also remember that at the senior overnight party, held in Seattle, that the Wailers played all night and we came dragging home on chartered buses at about 7 a.m.

    He was a quiet guy, but very nice.


  • Bob Williams

    I used to hang out with Mark in high school. He was truly a great guy. Back then, he had a black MG convertible and was backing up with Dave Leach in the passenger seat when Dave opened the door and the door broke off. Mark drove the car with the door missing for some time, but finally got it re-installed. It required a certain degree of courage to ride around with Mark in his car when the door was missing, as Mark would get a little wild and crazy at times. I would often go with him to Wailers gigs, and sometimes to the parties they had afterward. Mark was not a prude, but he just didn’t hang that much with the rest of the Wailers. If you went to a Wailers party, Rich Dangel, Buck Ormsby, Rockin’ Robin, Little Bill and others might show up, but typically not Mark or Kent Morrill, who lived on the other side of town.
    I lost track of Mark after high school, but I think he worked in the fishing business like his family had, but down at the shore. Maybe his daughter can fill us in as to what he did after high school until his passing. He was a tried and true friend, and I wish the best to his family and friends.
    God speed, my friend.

  • Gabi Marush

    I am Mark Marush’s grand niece, his brother is my grandpa. Sadly, he passed away nearly a decade ago. At this point in my life I am in college in Washington D.C, my father, his nephew moved to NY and met my mother a couple decades ago. I do think of Mark often and realize what a huge role he’s played in my lineage and in my life. I never knew him, but from what I’ve heard.. being “quiet but nice, wild and crazy” I can see a bit of him in me too! Thank you so much for your appreciation for him and for my family.

  • Leighanissa Marush Lister

    Mark was my Dad. I miss him terribly – he died of a heart attack in 2007, just a few days before his birthday. It’s wonderful to read everyone’s memories of him here. He was a very special person, with a unique perspective that I found endlessly fascinating. We will always remember him with love.



  • Ray Perry

    I just looked up Mark while listening to a band at the Spar. I met mark while working up at Paradise, Mt Rainier in 1982 I think. While driving him back into Tacoma on our day off he mentioned a band he was a part of. He was a very fun man to get to know for the brief time we worked together. I appreciated reading the kind comments written about him.

  • John Laughter

    Mark’s solo on “Tall Cool One” was an inspiration to a new generation of Rock & Roll sax players. I played that 45rpm over and over!

  • Don Watland

    Mark lived with me for a while, around 1975, in Old Tacoma. He was working at Dickman Lumber at the time. We spent a lot of time shooting pool in the Spar Tavern…he wore out most of my vinyl LPs, and loved reading books about the sea; he would have made a good pirate, had he been born a couple hundred years ago. He practically existed on a sole diet of cheeseburgers and beer! I saw him once when he visited my home in Seattle in 1977, where he bit off a huge hunck of handsoap he thought was a piece of cheese. I saw him a last time when my wife and I drove to see him, years later, in Westport.

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