Mark Alan Ertelt was born on December 27, 1962 in Valley City, ND to Harold and Audrey (Camas) Ertelt.  He was the only son amid a family of four loving and patient sisters.  He was a drummer from a very young age and never stopped, even using his siblings as human drum kits.  His first drum teacher was our neighbor, Connie Huber.  He practiced in the basement with kids from the neighborhood being his earliest fans.While in high school, Mark worked at Straus Clothiers.  He was involved in Jr. Alive shows playing drum solos to the delight of the crowd.  He graduated from VC High School in 1981.  He continued his education in Recording Engineering and graduated from “The Recording Workshop” (The RecW) in Chillicothe, OH.  Upon returning to Valley City, he ran sound for the band, Karma, and toured with them throughout the upper midwest.  Later he took on the role of drummer for the band and continued playing until very recently.  Mark attended VCSU for two years.  While there he played drums for the EBC Hit Parade and in addition to showing up for the EBC Alumni Christmas Shows for decades, he continued to help the music department as a percussionist over many years when they did not have a drummer in their music programs.

While music might have been Mark’s lifelong passion, he treated his bartending career as a vocational calling.  With over 21 years employment at the Labor Club, he was a premier mixologist, counselor, and comedian to his many customers.  Mark’s family is grateful for the love that has poured forth from the people of Valley City.  On his rare days off, Mark loved to travel, spending a week in Duluth every year where he would relax quietly and take in the beautiful lake and surrounding nature.

Mark had many close friends who wanted to help in any way they could after his diagnosis of cancer.  We would like to thank Kerry and Deb Anderson along with Dean and Dixie Sauer for organizing the fundraiser at the Labor Club and Jeff Larson for organizing the GoFundMe account.  We are grateful for the many donations that came from people who loved Mark.  The money raised from these events enabled Mark to spend his last days at Sanford Hospice House in Fargo where he felt safe and was comfortable.  He was well taken care of by amazing nurses and doctors.  While there are far too many to name here, each one of you has made a difference in Mark’s life and has comforted us in our grief.  A standing ovation goes to Jeff Gylden for being available to help during Mark’s illness and the rest of the Karma band:  David Martin, Al Lerud, and Tara Budke.

Mark believed in heaven and had a quiet spirituality.  He, no doubt, is surrounded by loved ones who were eager to meet and embrace him.  He is preceded in death by his parents.  He is survived by his sisters:  Anne (Steve) Scott, and their children, Katherine Scott and Timothy (Jackie) Scott; Mary (Joel) Strom; Susan (Jon) Anderson and their children, Alyssa (Anthony) Pautauros and Thomas (Iryna) Anderson; and Debra Ertelt.  He is also survived by his great niece, Eloise and great nephews, John and Thomas.  In addition, Mark leaves behind his fur family:  Rupert and Pippen.

We will miss our dear brother, uncle, and friend deeply—his smile, humor and wit, his hugs and love, his stories and laughter.  He passed away April 26, 2021.

A memorial mass will be celebrated at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 2:00 PM.  He will be buried with his parents in St. Catherine Cemetery just outside of Valley City.  Following the service, a time of fellowship and remembrance will be held at the Labor Club.  Mark’s service will be livestreamed, then archived and available to view along with his obituary and tribute page at

Lerud Mathias Funeral Home in Valley City is assisting Ert’s family with arrangements.