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Markku K. Karell

July 14, 1946 July 11, 2020
Markku K. Karell
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Obituary for Markku K. Karell

Markku “Mark” Karell, 73, of Commerce Township, died Saturday, July 11th from pancreatic cancer. He battled the disease courageously for eleven months.

Mark’s wife, Heidi (Kress) Karell, his son, Erik Karell, and his daughter-in-law, Alicia (Smith) Karell were by his side when he peacefully passed.

Mark was born in Karhula, Finland on July 14, 1946. He and his family came to America in 1957 and settled in Wixom, Michigan. Mark attended Walled Lake High School and later Oakland University where he studied engineering. He worked his entire career in the automotive industry working mostly for Chrysler. He developed influential intake manifold designs, worked on early fuel injections systems, and assisted with numerous engine development programs.

One of Mark’s greatest passions was skiing. Mark was a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) for 54 years which is nearly as long as the association has been in existence. Mark taught at various local ski areas and eventually with the Blizzard Ski School for many years. He has passionately taught thousands of children and adults to become much better skiers and to enjoy their time on a slope. In the 1970s, Mark taught the ski teams at Milford High School and Lakeland High School.

Additionally, Mark served the Alpine Valley Ski Patrol for 42 years. He selflessly volunteered countless hours to teach future patrollers how to ski better, along with patrolling and coming to the aid of numerous injured skiers. For Mark’s service, he earned the Purple Merit Star (For saving a life through emergency care and use of ski patrol skills), National Appointment (For patrollers who have demonstrated leadership, good character, diplomacy, positive attitudes, good judgment, exemplary patrolling abilities, and extraordinary service), and a Service Recognition Award.

Mark was known far and wide for his incredibly smooth turns on any ski hill in any conditions. More importantly, he was known for his kind, calm, patient, confident, and joyful demeanor as he put you “out of your comfort zone” on the hill with all manner of skiing drills. You knew you were in a class with Mark when you found yourself skiing on one ski or holding Mark’s hand while you skied next to each other making turns in sync.

When not playing in the snow, Mark loved to spend time with his family, building things, fixing things, or teaching his granddaughter to fish. He was a dreamer who encouraged others to dream. He was always there for his two sons, supporting them in any way he could. His love was a quiet love and he was humble almost to a fault. Mark was a selfless, kind, caring, and joyful person who would drop anything to help someone in need. You could always count on him to solve whatever problem you might be facing.

Mark will be deeply missed, but his life will live on in the hearts of his family and friends and every time someone he taught makes a better ski turn.

Mark is also survived by his son Adam Karell, his daughter-in-law Monica (Constantino) Karell, his granddaughter Lily Karell, his sister Marianna (Karell) Webb, brother-in-law Darryl Webb, nephew Ryan Webb (Julie, Tyler, Luke), nephew Scott Webb (Lincoln), sister-in-law Linda (Kress) Tyson, niece Laura (Tyson) Trenary (Scott), and niece Kelly (Tyson) Trouba (Jacob).

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Alpine Valley Ski Patrol to help cultivate the next generation of patrol instructors.

Donations in Mark's memory may be made online at:

For those who are more comfortable mailing a check, please send them made payable to: AVSP to:

Alpine Valley Ski Patrol
c/o Bessie Montante
1965 Teggerdine
White Lake, MI 48386

Please add in the memo line “in remembrance of Mark Karell.”


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