Mark Dempsey, 55, passed away at Grant Hospital on January 10th, surrounded by family and the music of Queen and U2. A life-long Columbus resident and a proud south-ender, Mark graduated from South High School and later earned an Associates degree in Business from Columbus State. In between stints at Deibel’s Restaurant, catering, and owning Costello’s bar in Thurber Village, Mark worked in key positions for the State of Ohio, the City of Columbus and Franklin County governments.
Mark married Megan Stapleton, the love of his life, and they were married for nearly 30 years. Megan was his partner, greatest supporter, and his rock – Mark was well aware of the fact that he had lucked out in the marriage department. Mark’s greatest achievement and biggest source of pride was his family. Mark had five kids: Allison (Brady); Celia (Geff); Michaela, Conor and Mary Kate; and seven grandkids: Ava; Norah; Rowan; Haddie; Logan; Marek; and a namesake on the way—who he adored. Besides his family, Mark had three great passions in his life: the restaurant business, local politics, and his Irish heritage.
Mark was a leader, a charismatic and colorful character, and the hardest working individual on the face of the planet. He had an unmatched drive coupled with an Irish twinkle in his eye, ready to stir up trouble at will. The Blarney Stone will never be stolen again. Mark was someone whom we all truly adored one minute and wanted to throw out a window the next. He took perverse pride in this attribute.
At the time of his passing, Mark was the proud owner of Dempsey’s Food and Spirits, located Downtown across from the County Courthouse, where pictures of past and present elected officials and noteworthy people in the Irish community adorn the walls. Mark also revived the historic Jury Room around the corner, and hosted special events in the space.
He served as past president and was an active member of the Columbus Shamrock Club, and was also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the 4S Club. He threw himself headlong into local politics, supporting local candidates, hosting fundraisers, and held an elected position on the Franklin County Democratic Party Central Committee.
Mark Dempsey was a force, a truly larger-than-life character, and he was taken from us way too soon. We’ll not see the likes of him again. Sosa i síocháin, Mark.
Mark is preceded in death by his mother Barbara, brothers Daniel, David and Timothy, and sister Shelley. Besides his immediate family, he is survived by uncles James and Jerry Dempsey, aunt Mary Dempsey, cousins, and many, many friends.
Megan and the family would like to express their deep appreciation to the doctors, nurses and support staff at Grant Hospital for all of their hard work and for their sensitive care of Mark.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Columbus Shamrock Club, 60 W. Castle Road, Columbus OH 43207.
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