It was not a coincidence that July 29th was his 80th birthday and
Mark Foutch Day in Olympia, Washington.
The Olympia City Council picked that date to honor Mark, an AFPAAA Lifetime Founder, for 35 years of service to the area as a community activist, neighborhood association president, member of the City Council, and the mayor of Olympia, as well as other civic activities.
Mark fell in love with Olympia while assigned to McChord AFB’s 25th Air Division in 1971-72. When he retired from the Air Force in 1985 he settled there. He joined his neighborhood association and had the opportunity to observe and interact with the City Council.
In 1991 he ran for the council and began his 16 year council membership, which included ten years as the council appointed Mayor Pro Tem and a four-year term as elected mayor.
Mark said that everything he was involved with during the 35 years was important but being Board President for the Association of Washington Cities while he was mayor was particularly significant.
“It added the opportunity for even more interaction and influence with state officials than being the capital city’s mayor and carried into my work with the National League of Cities, especially at the annual meetings in Washington, D.C., where we met with our senators and representatives to lobby on city issues,” Mark said.
As mayor he made ‘sister city’ trips to Japan and a Washington state trade mission to China and Hong Kong. His military career made him a logical choice to be Olympia’s liaison with Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“My wife, Janet Charles, thoroughly enjoyed being Olympia’s First Lady,” Mark recalled. “She went with me to as many as five events in a day in town, at JBLM, and meetings around the state and nation, as well as on overseas trips --none at taxpayer expense.”
Reflecting on a lengthy civic career that far exceeded his time in the Air Force, Mark observed. “The pay was nothing much but the ‘psychic income’ was terrific, and the IRS hasn’t figured out how to tax that yet.”