The following obituary was sent to us from Nathan Benedict of the Union Seattle bar which was originally developed in 2018 by former Thumper’s owners Nathan and Steve Nyman who partnered with Mark Engelmann, a longtime manager of several notable LGBT bars in Seattle over the years. Mark was a familiar and much beloved face in Seattle’s gay nightlife scene for many, many years. He will be much missed.
A toast to Mr. Engelmann: Salud, kind sir.– M. Strangeways
In Memorium: Mark Engelmann
Oct. 3, 1957 – June 21, 2023
Union is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Mark Engelmann at his home. Mark was one of the original founders and managing partner of Union, and was an integral part of it’s founding.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday July 28,2023 from 2 – 4 pm at Union.
Mark David Engelmann
October 3, 1957 – June 21,2023
Mark David Engelmann was born in White Bear Lake, MN and passed over at his home in Seattle WA.
Mark was a dedicated student of bars and restaurants. Over many years in the industry, he developed an immense knowledge of what makes them tick and an ability to make them “happen”.
In Seattle, he worked at and then managed Mike’s on Madison, and C.C.Slaughters/Cadillac Grill from 1993 to 2005 when it closed at the original location. He then left Seattle, and worked at Scandals in Fort Lauderdale, and then at Camp Bar, and the Tailgate Sports Café in Minneapolis / St. Paul.
Returning to Seattle in 2009, he did free-lance consulting and bartending while searching for the right venue and opportunity. It was at this time that Mark teamed up with Steve Nyman and Nathan Benedict from Thumper’s to develop a bar consulting business called Joint Venture which eventually led to the concept of opening a new bar together.
At the same time, Mark teamed up with Mike Reis and Mark Hurst to open Diesel in 2011 as a founding member and manager. He helped develop Diesel with Mike and Mark into a mainstay of the Seattle bar scene.
After years of discussion and being competitors directly across the street at Thumper’s, Mark, Steve, and Nathan opened Union in 2018. Union’s name was chosen because it represented the uniting of Thumper’s, CC’s, and over 100 years of combined experience in the gay bar business. Union would not have happened without Mark’s involvement.
In the past few years, Mark faced multiple health issues with grace and determination. His health led to him withdrawing from an ownership role at Union, and spending time learning everything he could about living with Parkinson’s with which he was diagnosed in 2015.
Mark was preceded in death by the love of his life, Brian Walters (Seattle; December 23, 2015), with whom he shared many adventures for 17 years; his mother Ida Chukel (White Bear Lake MN; 2007), and his sister, Janine Rundall (2013). He is survived by his sister Julia (Julie) Johnson (Mecosta MI), nieces and nephews Joni Brown (Cedar Springs MI), Jeffrey Johnson (Columbia Heights MN), Jayme Strom (Plymouth MN), and Jason LeZalla (St. Michael MN), and loyal friend and housemate Harry Hoglin.
Mark, you will be missed forever. The impact you had on Seattle’s gay nightlife will be felt for years to come, both by all the people you touched as well as by the many people who never knew who was responsible for so much of Seattle’s gay scene for the last 30 years. Well done! Rest in peace!
Donations in Mark’s memory to the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation NW Parkinson’s Foundation (nwpf.org)