ROCKLAND, MAINE -- George “Two Toots” Marks, 76, of Rockland, died suddenly after suffering a cardiac event at his home, Tuesday, December 5, 2017.
George was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland as a ward of Catholic Charities. After a youth of extensive travel across the country, he found himself in Maine in 1975 as a stop on the road to following his dream of a life on the water. In 1976, he married Nancy Johnson. The couple settled in Rockland, where, over the next 41 years, he would design and build many sea worthy vessels – one of which, a catamaran, The Peachy T., he and his young family would live on in Rockland harbor for a time.
Accomplished in many fields, over the years George owned and operated a portrait studio, was a top salesman at area motor vehicle dealerships and held a master’s license as a heating, plumbing and electrical engineer. He respected history, and one of his greatest interests was WWII. Through it all, he could never escape the call of the sea, and wanting to share that passion with others. He taught a course on navigation on the local TV station, and was published in Cruising World magazine.
In the late 1990’s, George created the only free sailing school in Rockland. People traveled from throughout the north east to take this unprecedented course on the Dzuiba – a one-of-a-kind Chinese Junk he designed and built. From there, he constructed small dinghy sailboats to teach children the love of the water.
Having earned his Master Captain’s status, George’s sea faring evolved into “Two Toots” Launch and Mooring service, offering water taxi and mooring services as well as harbor tours. He soon became known for his depth of knowledge, dependability and, often, opinions on city politics and goings on in the harbor. Two Toots’ painted mooring balls were floating works of art. For nearly 20 years, George was the unofficial face of Rockland by way of sea, welcoming sailors from around the world to the city. Seven days a week from April -October, he could be spotted puttering around the harbor or tied to “his” middle pier awaiting the next call from a boater.
While his reputation as a crusty curmudgeon often preceded him, those who knew George best appreciated the wisdom of his life experiences, dedication and desire to teach. Outside of his public persona, his family knew George as hard working, loyal and forward thinking. He was an old salt with a heart of gold, unafraid to fight for what he believed was right. To know him wasn’t always to love him, but to know him was to respect him.
Always quick with a story, few people were aware of all that he had achieved over his lifetime. George was humble about his accomplishments, excepting the pride he had in his family. He enjoyed nothing more than watching his grandchildren, nieces and nephews enjoy life.
George is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughter Marlayna Rutter, her husband Jesse, his beloved grandchildren Max, Carly, Sam and Audrey Rutter, all of Sound Beach, NY, and his many nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly.
To honor George, an informal gathering of friends and relatives will be held from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Make-A-Wish Foundation, 477 Congress St., Suite M1, Portland, ME 04101 or Coastal Opportunities, 35 Limerock Street, Camden, ME. 04843.