Mark Jeffrey McNamara

Mark Jeffrey McNamara, 56, of Houston, Texas, died on August 20, 2021 following a difficult battle with cancer.  He is survived by his wife Karen and his son Patrick, his brothers Frank (Lisa) of Marblehead, MA and John (Christa) of Darien, CT, his sisters Moira (Lance) James of Marblehead, MA and Kathy (Bob) Hugin of Summit, NJ, his stepmother Lois McNamara of Vero Beach, FL  and many nieces and nephews.

Mark was born in Stamford, Connecticut to Francis J. McNamara, Jr. and Noreen O’Connor McNamara, and he lived in California, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut before relocating to Houston in 2011.

Mark was devoted to his family and loved spending time with Karen and Patrick.  Mark and Karen were married in 2009, and Karen had an immeasurable impact on the course of his life.  Mark enjoyed going with Karen and Patrick to an Astros baseball game or a Texans football game, taking an occasional family vacation, participating in all of Patrick’s school and athletic activities, and just being with them while grilling dinner in the back yard.

Apart from his family, Mark’s second love in life was sailing.  Mark was a lifelong sailor, having grown up sailing dinghys at the Stamford and Noroton Yacht Clubs.  His passion for sailing continued into adult life, and his career spanned almost all aspects of the competitive sailing world.  Mark was a boatyard worker, race boat captain, sailmaker and finally an integral cog in the youth sailing world for the past 15 years.

In 2007 Mark began a business specifically to service youth sailing in the United States. In 2011 he acquired KO Sailing in Seabrook, Texas, where he was able to continue the programs he had developed and add a variety of new ones.   His vision was to help sailors and their parents in whatever way he could, and he became a fixture at youth sailing events.  Mark was always stationed at the “KO Truck” to help any sailor, from the Opti beginner to the most competitive young sailors on a national and international level.  He did all this while always maintaining the emphasis on kids having fun sailing. This attitude was most clearly demonstrated when it came to his son Patrick.  There was nothing Mark loved more than watching his son learn to sail.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, November 6 at 1 pm at Stamford Yacht Club, Stamford, CT.



  1. Condolences to John and Christa, Mark’s direct family, the entire McNamara clan and the world of youth sailing.

    Michael Shea
  2. Mr Mark! I’m extremely happy for the opportunity I had to meet you back in 2009. You were always a good friend, very stubborn sometimes of course always happy after a talk. Thank you a lot for all the support to our team and myself. Wish we had more time together, I do take all the great memories with me of our talks in the trailer or on the phone. I told you, I was there for Patrick when he needs me and I will do my best to coach him sooner or later. Thanks for being you! Wish you great winds! Big hugs my fiend! Nos veremos en el futuro! Te mando un abrazo enorme!

  3. What a beautiful tribute to Mark, Karen and Patrick. We are so very sorry for your loss. With sympathy and love, Cheryl, Jimmy, Matt and Desi.

    Cheryl Duey
  4. Mark was special to say the least in the little time I got to know him working right next door. We formed a bond exchanging stories about life and work experiences. His friendship kept me going when I was ready to give up on the boating industry and I’ll never forget the time he took out of his busy schedule to check on me. After I no longer worked next door to Mark he continued to check on me even coming by the house because my number had changed. This is the extra mile we all talk about when someone goes above and beyond. That is what Mark was all about going as far as he could until his last day. I cannot begin to express my condolences without telling you the good I knew in Mark. He will be missed by many but most of all his family which he often spoke of along side Captain. I’m so sorry for your loss Karen and Patrick I’m here if y’all need anything. I know there is a lot to sort out so if I can help in any way please don’t hesitate to call. Mark was truly special, caring, compassionate, humerus and yet humble in all his accomplishments always willing to lend an ear or a hand.

    Jason Guillot
  5. Karen and Patrick – while we never met I have very fond memories sailing with Mark as a Junior on LIS and later on big boats from the day. He is my contemporary and I felt that over the years he became a true leader and coach in the sport of sailing. He will be greatly missed but for me his presence will always be on the water.

    Andy Giglia
  6. My condolences to Mark’s family. Mark’s kindness, counsel, honesty, and guidance was a constant a bright spot in our family’s opti experience. His presence in the sailing world is a loss to all!

    Wendy Diaz del Valle
  7. Our sincere condolences to the McNamara family, Mark was a sailor in heart and soul and an asset to starting sailors, he will be missed!!!

    Family Mike E. Riet
  8. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful man and family. We are so sorry for your loss, I have no words. Sending love

    Jeanne and Steve Zieger
  9. My most heart felt condolences to Karen and Patrick. Mark was a special person to me. Our relationship extended over a 15 year period. I admired his love of family which was always most important to him. I also respected his commitment and drive to advancing youth sailing throughout his career. Mark and I both knew the trials and challenges that he would always face in doing the right thing for the good of the sport. The amount of miles and hours he committed is truly immeasurable. However he always had a positive outlook all the time towards his passion and joy of introducing a sport to countless youths throughout this country.
    Rest in Peace, Mark. We will miss you dearly.

    Tom Sharkey
  10. My thoughts are with you Karen, Patrick, family and friends. I remember Mark as a young boy, with his great big smile and enthusiasm for life. What a loss and my heart is with you all.

    Kim Oster (cousin)
  11. My prayers are with you, Karen & Patrick.

    Monica Giuffre
  12. It was just over a month prior to Marks passing that I had the great opportunity, and privilege, to not only just meet but also work with. That was such a great opportunity to do so. I was very fortunate to transport a boat of Marks out to Norfolk, VA for a boat sailing event that he & Karens son was participating in. And to get the boat & his truck back to Houston, Mark was gracious to have confidence and trust in me to do that job and that is something that I hold very dear in my short knowing and dealings with Mark. It was a short to know Mark, however I will not ever forget him nor the two times working with him. I also got to meet Karen when I made the return trip and saw how she is a great woman herself and my condolences and heart are with her and their son.
    No more pain for Mark, that is one thing we all can hold dear.
    Until we meet again Mark, look over us from time to time good Sir!

    Chad Valdez
  13. My prayers and sympathy to all family and friends. I always enjoyed chatting with Mark regarding sailing and business. He was a inspiration to many .
    Nolan Vander Haagen
    West Marine

    Nolan Vander Haagen
  14. I met Mark when I purchased his Aero last year.
    Life comes with it’s wonder and takes pieces back from time to time.
    This is a sorrow to learn of Mark’s passing. Just before I left the shop with the boat tied to the roof of my car I told Mark “I don’t know how many years I have left to sail”
    He smiled and said “You’ve got many more to go”.
    I believe he was a brave man.
    God bless you Mark, I know we will meet again.
    My heart goes out to those who were part of Mark’s life.

    Kellie Batko
  15. Fair winds Mark,,,really sorry to learn of this a year later,,,RIP

    Peter Crew

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