LA JUNTA, Colo. — Mark Alan Ricken, 64, of Centennial, Colo., and former La Junta resident, passed from this life at the Porter Hospice Center in Centennial on April 14.
Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 22, 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Guadalupe/St. Patrick Church in La Junta with Bishop David Ricken officiating. The vigil service and rosary will be held Monday, April 21, 7 p.m., at Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home. Interment will take place at Fairview Cemetery immediately following the Mass.
Mark Ricken was born in Dodge City, Kan., on Jan. 25, 1950, to G.W. “Bill” Ricken and Bertha Fern Davis Ricken and was married to Linda Rader of Las Animas on July 7, 1984. He grew up in Dodge City, Kan., and was educated at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Dodge City; Windthorst High School, Windthorst, Kan.; and Kansas Newman College in Wichita, Kan. (bachelor’s degree in education), Georgia State University, Atlanta (master’s degree in education), Western State University, Gunnison, Colo. (superintendent endorsement), and the University of Colorado (education specialist, May of 2000).
He taught social studies in Atlanta and became principal of Las Animas High School in Las Animas, Colo., from 1977 to 1984 and the superintendent of schools in Branson, Colo., from 1984 to 1987. He assumed superintendent responsibilities of the newly formed Arriba-Flagler Consolidated School District in Flagler, Colo., from 1987 to 2006.
Mark was well known in the communities where he lived. He was active in the Catholic parishes, serving in various church ministries. He volunteered his leadership talents in service to various public entities: Boy Scout leader and chaplain in High Plains District; Centennial Mental Health Association; Southeast Colorado Mental Health Association, including board president; Volunteer Emergency Services Flagler and the Diocese of Pueblo Finance Council.
He served as the president of the alumni association of his alma mater, Kansas Newman College; Colorado Association of School Executives; Colorado Association of Rural Educators; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; and volunteer at Channel 8 Public Television in Pueblo.
He is survived by his wife, Linda; two daughters, Lori Ruth of Castle Rock, Leslie (Bert)
Branson of Fayetteville, Ga.; son, Christian Ricken of Centennial; brother Bishop David Ricken and sister Carol Ricken of Green Bay; grandchildren, Brittany, Luke, Sydney and Samuel Alan; Aunt Doris Ricken-Rizzuto; Uncles Joseph (Ruth) Ricken and Lee (Kay) Ricken; Aunts Madonna Ricken, Tommie Lou Ricken, Fern Ricken, Jerry Ricken; and numerous cousins.
Mark had a great devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus.