Mark London, 70, died on August 18, 2018, at Massachusetts General Hospital of precursor NK cell leukemia lymphoma. He was surrounded by his wife, Linda Thompson, and his daughters, Alexandra London-Thompson and Natasha Mast, who sang him his favorite songs, and shared stories and anecdotes from a long, productive, and inspiring life.
Mark was born on Nov. 2, 1947, in Montreal, Canada, to Jack and Anne London, where he grew up with his older sister Eleanor. He attended Northmount High School and studied architecture at McGill University and the University of Montreal.
A passionate advocate, Mark committed his professional life to public service. He began his career as an associate at ARCOP, working on large-scale projects such as the redevelopment of the Halifax and Toronto waterfronts. It was at ARCOP that he met the love of his life, Linda.
Mark went on to become an activist with SAVE Montreal, was with Heritage Montreal in its early years as the executive director, and helped start the architecture section of the Montreal Gazette. Mark then spent 15 years as an urban planner for the city of Montreal. Major projects included helping to create the first master plan for Montreal, transforming the former Expo ’67 site into the largest park in the city, rehabilitating the Frederick Law Olmsted–designed Mount Royal Park, and redeveloping the Lachine Canal. Simultaneously, Mark served on the city of Westmount’s planning board.
After spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard for decades, he made the move to year-round resident in 2002. There he became the executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, the regional planning agency for Martha’s Vineyard Island and the Elizabeth Islands. Mark devoted his expertise to the protection and enhancement of the islands’ environment, economy, character, and social fabric. He held his position as executive director until his retirement in 2015.
For all who knew Mark, they knew him first and foremost as a husband deeply in love with his wife, Linda. His devotion to her was beaming. The two were always hand in hand, went everywhere together, and were often caught dancing cheek to cheek when they thought no one was looking. Linda was the sparkle in his eye and comforting presence in his life to the very end.
Mark was a devoted husband, father, uncle, and grandfather. He and Linda raised two daughters, Alexandra London-Thompson and Natasha Mast. He was also very close to his niece Mala London, was a welcoming father-in-law to Peter Stray and Rick Mast, and was overjoyed by the arrival of his three grandchildren, Sebastian, Jasper, and Sawyer. Up to his final hours, Mark delighted in hearing news and seeing photographs of his grandchildren. Mark is also survived by Cathy and Terry Thompson, Monica Bernatowicz, and his many wonderful cousins.
Donations in Mark’s memory may be made to the Chilmark Community Center, chilmarkcommunitycenter.org, or to Dr. Fathi’s research at Massachusetts General Hospital, https://giving.massgeneral.org/donate/.
A celebration of Mark’s life will be held at the Chilmark Community Center on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 1 pm. All are welcome to attend.