FRONTENAC  — According to Mark Coomes’ wife, “you won't find a more patient natured and calm guy that really just selflessly cares for others before himself.”

Mark met his wife, Gena, in 2001 at Pittsburg State University. Mark, a native of St. Paul, and Gena, of Frontenac, were in a class together and met through mutual friends.

It was an “instant connection,” Gena said.

At that time, Mark was studying biology and Gena was studying nursing.

The couple were married in 2006. They have three children: nine-year-old Kale and five-year-old twins Kyler and Korbin.

Sometime after graduation Mark became a science teacher at the Carl Junction, Missouri, School District. After completing a masters degree, Gena became a nursing teacher at PSU.

Wanting to further her education, Gena decided to go back to school to complete a doctorate in nursing. She made it into the doctoral program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, but there was a surprise awaiting her soon after.

She was pregnant. Once finding out, Gena said she originally wanted to quit school.
Approximately 20 weeks into her pregnancy the couple found out that she was pregnant with twins. Already a mother, she knew the hard work of having a baby around, let alone two.

Mark wasn’t going to let her give up her dream of completing her doctorate.
“He was adamant that I was not doing that and that I was going to do this degree,” Gena said. “He was going to do everything he could to make sure the kids were taken care of while mom finishes school.”

Gena worked full time teaching nursing at PSU and studied part time to earn a doctorate.
“Mark ultimately stepped up, with a lot of overtime as a dad on weekends and evenings when I was in school,” she said. “He’s a pretty amazing guy, you would never hear him complain — complain about me being gone, having to work in the evening and doing homework on the weekends.”

This past May, Gena completed her degree.
“When I graduated, I thought the degree should really go to Mark,” she said, “all of the hard work happened at home.”

On top of taking on much of the parenting duties while she studied, Mark continues to work full time as a science teacher in Carl Junction — and continues to be involved in his community.

He is a Frontenac School District board member, he is a Little League Baseball coach, serves on the Frontenac Recreation Board, a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Frontenac, an official of the Kansas State High Schools Activities Association, he’s a volunteer football coach, and referees high school basketball.

Outside of his community involvement Mark “absolutely loves to play golf,” fishing and working out, his wife said. Mark also has a “green thumb” and likes to do yard work.

Most of all, he’s a “patient natured and calm guy that really just selflessly cares for others before himself.”