Northwest Indiana has lost its voice of conscience with the passing of Mark Kiesling.
And The Times family has lost a valued friend.
I have many memories of Mark, from his dedication to uncovering wrongdoing to his love for antique cars.
He was the most knowledgeable local newsman about the region’s gangs. He could smell a “chop shop” where thieves were dismantling cars. Most would say he knew where the political bodies were buried. After all, he often helped put them there with his writing that served as a white hot spotlight.
He proved his value time and again during the season of elections, connecting the dots of politics and government.
And though he portrayed a lack of fear, Mark endured his share of threats. He knew to watch over his shoulder, and more than once those wanting to silence him came to visit me.
Mark was a newsman’s newsman, ever wanting to get the latest scoop.
In later years, his column became a fixture in the region. In it he offered his opinion on issues of the day, favoring no one but quick to recognize those who did good. In the few times I questioned his column he looked me in the eye and said, “Well, it is my opinion, and I am a columnist.” He was, of course, right.
There was also Mark in the newsroom, cracking jokes and sharing his knowledge of the region. His encyclopedic memory of events and the region’s cast of interesting characters always entertained and informed.
To be sure, Mark had his demons, but he always kept them at bay. He knew what his job was, to ferret out the truth and inform readers. He never lost touch with the community as he focused on making it a better place.
I am honored to have my column — a salute to Mark — published on Page A3, the longstanding home of Mark’s column.
Mark Kiesling was a superb journalist. Most of all, we of The Times share the joy of having known him as a genuine friend. We will miss him.