Mark Haines, 54, from Jackson, Michigan, was struck by three vehicles and killed on November 14, in the Florida Keys, while attempting to cross the street on foot U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 59.
The founder of the popular web site Mark’s List had just finished an exhausting day competing in his first Smart Ride. One of the country’s leading HIV/AIDS fund raising venues, Mark had spent months losing weight, getting in shape, and preparing for the adventure.
Friends who were with him on the night of the ride said he had been “beaming; that he was celebrating the night of his life.”
According to a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol, Haines was on Grassy Key at approximately 7:05 p.m., when he walked in front of a southbound pick up truck, which clipped him and lifted him into the path of another vehicle, which was swerving to avoid the truck. Sadly, a third vehicle, also seeking to avoid an accident, then struck Haines. Haines died instantly. All three drivers remained onsite to offer aid.
Haines had gathered with other riders at Hawks Cay Resort after the first leg of the ride, which took them from South Miami to Duck Key. After participating in the early evening festivities, he walked south towards a hotel that he and his brother James were staying in.
The South Florida Gay News profiled Haines in 2012 for his popular website where he oversaw its growth after moving to South Florida in 2003, first to take a job with the Nielsen Ratings Company. As reported in SFGN, Haines jumped into re-making his own website under the Mark’s List brand.
The online edition of ‘jump on Mark’s List’ was produced weekly, featuring the LGBT community in popular venues, celebrating nights out and days at play. It is populated with photographs taken by one of Haines long-time friends, Stephen Lang. Over 250,000 photos have been archived by the “Mad Paparazzi.”
The company is run by an LLC, with Haines as the only shareholder. “The site is about being fabulous and having fun,” Haines would boast on its front page, “highlighting diversions of interest to the LGBT community.”
Having apparently passed without a will, the site and its domain name will inure to the benefit of his brother and sister. His nephew, Matthew, was making arrangements at press time to “keep the legacy alive” and find a buyer. Peter Clark, the owner of the Hotspots Media Group, scheduled a meeting for this week.
Meanwhile, the Pride Center, whose team, the Pride Pack, Haines was competing with, has announced a public memorial service for this Saturday, at 1 p.m. on the campus of the Pride Center at Equality Park, 2040 Dixie Highway in Wilton Manors.
Most of the riders of the Smart Rider learned of the fatal accident during the closing ceremonies on the White Street Pier on Saturday afternoon.
The Ride’s founder, Glen Weinzimer, read a statement to the stunned crowd, prepared by Matthew Haines, Mark’s nephew, which brought tears and shock to the audience. A moment of silence followed. Tributes began pouring in on Facebook almost immediately, from LGBT leaders around the country, as Mark’s List has online portals from across the continent.
“He was truly loved by everyone,” said Robert Boo, the executive director of the Pride Center, who will open Saturday’s memorial service. Mark’s brother, James, who rode the Smart Ride with him, and his sister, Cindy, along with his nephew Matthew, will be at the memorial.
From the Community:
Deidra Doc B
Mark Haines, I miss you, you were with us ALL on THE SMART RIDE. You are an angel watching over us, and we made it safely. I hope the flowers I placed, bloom forever, as you did.
Love, Hugs, and all the good times, you will always be with us.
The Miami & South Florida LGBT Community and supporting organizations are deeply saddened at the loss of MARK HAINES, founder of Mark’s List Media. Most of us have worked with & known Mark for some time now, and respect his professionalism, support for the community, generosity and all around kindness.
At this difficult time we offer our deepest condolences to his family & friends, and are currently working on various ways to honor his memory and legacy.
Oh my god Mark Haines, I honestly can't believe that you're gone. From the moment I met you, you inspired me. You created an entire new industry by bringing your dreams to reality. You became a success where others dared to dream. Your enthusiasm and love for what you do has been a guiding light to so many of us in the community. I don't know how we will ever fill the incredible void that you're passing leaves us.
So Mark Haines passed last night shortly after we spoke. We had just rode 100 miles in the Smartride. I congratulated him for such a grand accomplishment. As we talked I admired silently how good he looked. He recently lost a significant amount of weight training for the Smart Ride. He had such an excited look on his face. Proud. Elated. Thrilled like a kid on the first day of school. He seemed equally proud of the fact he just walked 4 miles from his hotel to join us for the dinner and festivities. I said, "seriously? We just rode 100 miles." Then I thought, well, that's who he is. He walks and rides his bike all the time and I shared in his pleasure. I am truly saddened. I will miss you Marc.
John Gio Spano
It is a very sad day for the South Florida community as Mark Haines was killed last night by a car hitting him while he was crossing the street after dinner on his way back to his hotel. He was participating in the SMART Ride, which is just one of countless charity functions he supported and he had just completed half the ride to Key West when his life was cut way too short in Marathon, FL. The only solace I can find in this tragedy is that he died doing what he loved best, riding his bike and helping others. I had the pleasure of working with Mark at the start-up of JumpOnMarksList many years ago and I have long admired his tenacity, courage, strength and fortitude. His contributions are far too many to list here and he has touched literally 1,000's of lives over the years. Mark, may you rest in peace and may the angels above wrap you in their arms and give you the everlasting love you deserve. My thoughts and prayers are with his close friends and family at this difficult time. You will be missed...
I'd like to take this second to acknowledge everyone whose reached out to Stephen R. Lang and I. We all have different ways of dealing with loss. Mark Haines picked me up when I was at a low point in my life. He believed in me. As he has believed in many of you. Please please please cherish every moment you have with your loved ones. Forgive. I love and miss you Mark.
I'm saddened and shocked to have awakened this morning to the news that Mark Haines had been struck by a car in Key West and immediately had passed away. Mark and I worked together for many years & I considered him friend. God Bless family & friends of Mark! Such a sad day! #RIP
Mike Trottier“My friend and colleague of almost 10 years, Mark Haines, has died. He rode day one of the Smart Ride but didn’t make it to day two. As Bike Parking Manager, I made sure his bike made it to Key West and I personally loaded it on the truck back to Fort Lauderdale. Goodbye my friend. It was a pleasure knowing you.”