BELLEAIR — Like a lot of good lawyers, Mark Marquardt had a competitive streak.
He liked getting up in the dark, driving two hours north and racing a canoe in cold rivers. If he could beat other lawyers and judges who had faster canoes with his slower canoe, so much the better.
He also liked to win in court. An expert in health care law, he served as president of the Florida Academy of Hospital Attorneys, chairman of the Pinellas County Health Facilities Authority and on a governor's task force on medical malpractice.
Other lawyers regularly sought his advice.
"His door was always open," said James A. Martin Jr., 67, a colleague of 40 years. "There might not have been a line outside it, but there was a steady stream."
He enjoyed simple pleasures most, and could often be found paddling a kayak near the Clearwater Marina. Sometimes, dolphins swam beside him.
"If he wasn't in the boat and he saw them, he would run and jump in the boat and try to catch them," said Carol Marquardt, his wife of 47 years.
His competitive streak helped bring them together.
She was Carol Southmayd in the mid-1960s, a world-ranked tennis player at Duke University, where Mr. Marquardt was attending law school.
"Someone told him I could probably beat him at tennis," his wife said. "I said, 'Let's not keep score.'"
Emil C. "Mark" Marquardt Jr. was born in Clearwater in 1940. His father, businessman Emil C. Marquardt Sr., was named Mr. Clearwater in 1973; his mother, civic activist Connie Marquardt, became the first Mrs. Clearwater in 1983. Mr. Marquardt played baseball and football at St. Leo High and graduated from the University of Notre Dame.
He served as a Judge Advocate General in the Air Force, then joined a Clearwater firm in 1968. By 1973 he had made partner in McMullen, Everett, Logan, Marquardt and Cline, which later merged with Macfarlane Ferguson of Tampa. Mr. Marquardt served as chair of the combined firm from 2000 to 2003.
He was an involved member of St. Cecelia Catholic Church, and led men's spiritual retreats and prayer programs.
"We can't make sense of our lives without a prayer life, which is merely entering into a conversation with God about what he desires for our lives," Mr. Marquardt wrote on the website for Our FIAT, a structured prayer program.
In October, doctors diagnosed melanoma that had spread. He made it to two Notre Dame football games after that, including a national championship loss to Alabama. Over the last few months, friends and colleagues have thanked Mr. Marquardt for a lifetime of kind actions. "He knew and they knew they were pretty much saying goodbye to him," his wife said.
Mr. Marquardt died at home Aug. 17. He was 72.
Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.