Mark James Boatman, 42, of Lolo, left the earthly world on Monday, Dec. 8, 2017.
Born on Aug. 16, 1975, in Jamestown, North Dakota, to Jim and Linda Boatman, Mark was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 1980.
Mark graduated from Jamestown High School in 1993. He was one of the first students with a significant disability to attend all 12 years in the Jamestown school system.
After graduating, Mark moved into his own apartment in Jamestown. He enjoyed his independence and the many friends he made there. In 2003 his need for a full time ventilator forced him into a local nursing home. That began Mark’s fight to regain his freedom.
In 2006, he moved to Missoula to live with friends Dustin Hankinson and Theresa Martinosky. Living in Missoula offered Mark opportunities that were unavailable to him while he lived in North Dakota. He enrolled at the University of Montana in 2007 and graduated from the School of Journalism with high honors in 2012.
After graduation Mark freelanced for New Mobility magazine, one of the largest disability publications in the country. He also contributed articles for Quest magazine, the Missoulian and maintained a blog.
Mark was a tireless advocate for people with disabilities, serving on various committees, participating in organized actions, writing letters to elected officials and testifying before the Montana state Legislature.
Mark is survived by his parents, Jim and Linda Boatman, Jamestown, North Dakota; one sister Becky (Jason) Faller and beloved nieces Mallory and Lucy, Casselton, North Dakota; also special friends Theresa Martinosky, Susan Ferrara, and his “heart” pug, Frankie, Lolo. He was preceded in death by his grandparents and aunt, Lori Schatz.
Mark requested donations be made to the UM School of Journalism, or Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, 401 Hackensack Ave., 9th Floor, Hackensack, NJ 07601.
A celebration of life will be held Sunday, Jan. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m., at Montgomery Distillery in Missoula. Mark requested that those attending wear casual and bright colored clothing.
Cremation has taken place by Cremation and Burial Society of the Rockies, Missoula.