Homecoming 2015-09-18

Mason City High School homecoming grand marshal Mark "Doc" Detra was represented by a photo during the homecoming parade Sept. 18. He was hospitalized as part of his fight against cancer.

CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette

MASON CITY | A longtime Mason City paraprofessional known as Mr. Mohawk for his commitment to the district, its students and activities died from cancer Monday. 

Mark "Doc" Detra, 68, Mason City, had battled adrenal carcinoma for 22 months. 

"A piece of our families' heart went to heaven today," daughter Tracey Brock wrote on Detra's CaringBridge page Monday. "He was loved so much by our family and by his Mason City family."

"The town rallied behind him and helped in so many ways," Brock wrote. "I will never be able to repay you for helping us on this journey. It took a village."

Detra was honored as grand marshal during the high school's homecoming parade in September 2015. 

Although he wasn't able to attend, he greeted students by phone during the pep assembly in Central Park, thanking them for their concerns and messages.

A large portrait represented him in the parade. 

"He's certainly a special person," High School Principal Dan Long told the Globe Gazette in 2015. "When you think of Mason City High School, you certainly think Doc."

Teacher Laura Grommesh said in 2015 Detra was someone who was "everywhere, does everything and is a jack of all trades" while making students and staff feel valued.

Girls basketball coach Curt Klaahsen said via an online post that Detra was the team's biggest advocate. 

"No one cared about our teams more than Doc, and no one had a more positive attitude about life, despite everything he went through," Klaahsen wrote on the Mohawk Girls Basketball Facebook page. 

Detra was honored at the girls' first state basketball tournament in 2011 for his sportsmanship and love of the school. 

"He is also one of the many reasons why we work so hard and care so much about our Coaches vs Cancer activities — we must do everything we can to stop this horrible disease!" Klaahsen's post read. 

Mason City Mohawks — a Facebook fan page not associated with Mason City Schools — remembered Detra in a post as someone who strictly enforced rules but had a happy-go-lucky attitude and loved to joke, especially about the Vikings. 

"You knew him best for his laughter, his smile and his love for Mohawk sports," the post read. "He was a huge Green Bay Packers fan and displayed it greatly."

A fixture at volleyball, basketball, baseball and track events, Detra was also known for keeping students in line. 

"For those of you who walked the halls of MCHS the past few decades, you'd hear from out of nowhere this man telling you to get off the floor," the post read.

Visitation is 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Epiphany Parish Holy Family Catholic Church in Mason City. 

A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. May 25 at a site to be determined, with inurnment at Elmwood St. Joseph Cemetery at a later date. 

Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory is handling arrangements. 

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