Consultant reached past politics to people
In the nearly 30 years since Mark Zabierek moved from the Boston area to become the communications director for former Pittsburgh Mayor Richard Caliguiri, he gained a reputation as a masterful political consultant.
But his true mission was helping the less fortunate, his friends said.
“Mark was one of the few people I've come into contact with who really understood government and politics, especially Western Pennsylvania politics,” said John Chapman of Greenfield, who met Mr. Zabierek shortly after he arrived in Pittsburgh in 1985.
“But his work with Salvation Army and youth organizations was absolutely as meaningful, if not more so,” Chapman said.
Mark L. Zabierek of Elliott died of cancer on Saturday, June 8, 2013. He was 58.
In addition to operating a successful marketing and consulting company, Mr. Zabierek had run the Salvation Army's annual Christmas dinner program since 2007.
“When he started with us, we were down to serving meals at three locations instead of the six we previously had,” said Jerry Johns, the Salvation Army's director of social services. “But Mark was so well-organized and had such a persuasive manner that he was able to help our volunteers serve meals to more people than we had in the past. And every year he'd be out there on Christmas Day, making sure things ran smoothly.”
Mike Dawida, head of nonprofit Scenic Pittsburgh who is a former state senator and Allegheny County commissioner, said Mr. Zabierek was instrumental in his Senate win.
“I was the longest of longshots to win that race,” said Dawida, who was in the Senate from 1989 to 1996. “But Mark was a brilliant tactician with sharp instincts for politics. He never asked me what I wanted to get out of being elected. He asked what I would do for folks if I won.”
Mr. Zabierek's concern for others led him to work with a mentoring program operated by North Way Christian Community Church's campus in East Liberty.
“Mark was a strong advocate for kids and really provided us with some great ideas on the best way to help them,” said the Rev. Bryan McCabe, a North Way pastor. “He served as mentor and would join the kids when they went out on things like community cleanup projects.”
Mr. Zabierek is survived by his mother, Marilyn Doyle of Philadelphia; three brothers, John of Philadelphia, Peter of Montreal and Paul of San Francisco; and three adult children, Alexandra of Cambridge, Mass.; Brie of Manhattan; and Matthew of Elliott.
Funeral services will be private.
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pa. police departments worry order on criminal seizures hurts bottom line
- Federal grand jury indicts man for violating poultry law while operating illegal slaughterhouse in his Jefferson Hills home
- FTC chief Brill calls on companies to protect privacy online
- New Turnpike Chairman Sean Logan institutes Wolf’s gift ban at commission
- Pa. Turnpike claims software fraud, wants $45M
- Penn Hills water main break creates car-swallowing sinkhole
- Fitzgerald nominates mining industry businessman for Finance and Development Commission
- Veterans Affairs settles another Pittsburgh-area Legionnaire’s lawsuit
- Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to host humanities festival
- 3-D images to help police in Western Pa. navigate terror, hostage scenes
- Pipelines key to growth in shale industry