Chief Mark W. Rapp Sr.
Indianapolis – Mark, or “Bum” as his fellow firefighters knew him, passed away on Friday
March 4, 2022 at the age of 66 after a courageous battle with lung cancer.
Mark was born June 15th, 1955 in Indianapolis attending Lawrence Township schools. In
high school, Mark’s love of cars, particularly fast cars, was evident. He could be found
working on cars or racing them down the country roads with his friends and brothers in his
spare time. He continued this passion by owning numerous cars and motorcycles
throughout his life and in his retirement acting as “Crew Chief” for his brother, Jeff,
restoring vintage cars that Jeff then raced.
Mark was best known for being a humble and honorable hard worker in every facet of his
life. Everyone he came in contact with will tell you how much he contributed positively to
their life. His work ethic was not fueled by ego or praise, if anything, it was fueled by Diet
Mountain Dew, which he referred to as, “the nectar of the Gods.”
Mark had an exemplary career as a firefighter lasting over 40 years. He started as a
volunteer firefighter in the City of Lawrence Fire Department and became a career
firefighter in 1979 with the Indianapolis Fire Department. Mark was promoted to
Lieutenant in 1987 and promoted to Captain in 2005. Mark finished his career as the
Battalion Chief of Training, retiring in 2017.
Mark received numerous awards during his career including the American Red Cross
Heroism award and Operations Firefighter of the Year. Mark also received the Medal of
Bravery for performing a high-stakes rescue of a small child from a dangerous apartment
fire in 1993. One of his most cherished accolades was the Peer Leadership Award.
Recipients are awarded for being an outstanding role model and exemplifying dependability,
loyalty, attitude, responsibility, initiative, and desire. While these honors and awards were
very special to him, they did not compare to how proud he was of the firefighters his sons
became. He had the opportunity to fight fires with both Mark and Greg and he was so
proud to see them in action and honored to work alongside them.
Teaching others how to do something the “right way,” and yes, there always was a right
way, was very important to him. He always spoke about the importance of “having options”
and tried to incorporate that mindset into his trainings. Mark spent 10 years as an FDIC
Hands-on Training (H.O.T.) instructor as well as performed training for many townships
throughout his career. Mark even created a custom forcible entry prop to assist with
training. Later in his career, Mark continued his advocacy for safe firefighting practices by
explaining the importance of using SCBAs and decontaminating after fires to new recruits.
Mark took great pride in running the IFD Clothe-A-Child program from 1999-2009. Clothe-
A-Child allows youth in the community who need assistance to experience a memorable shopping trip with firefighters and a visit from Santa Claus during Christmas time. The program also provided food baskets to the families and community centers.
Mark was a founding member of Indiana Task Force 1 (IN-TF1) in 1995 and was a member
until 2017. As the Task Force Leader, Mark was activated by FEMA and deployed to New
York City during the 9/11/2001 attacks at the World Trade Center. Upon arrival, Mark
was in charge of the IN-TF1 Search and Rescue Team, specifically assigned to the night operations during the 10-day deployment. He was also deployed to help with numerous natural disasters during his time on IN-TF1.
Despite working 2 to 3 jobs simultaneously his entire life, Mark was still very active as a
member of his family and community. Mark’s children all attended Lawrence Township
schools as well, so it was near and dear to his heart. He was always there cheering them on
at sporting events, helping at school events and even building a log cabin in the Outdoor
Lab at Indian Creek Elementary School. He also enjoyed working on the Lawrence North
High School Football chain gang for over 20 years.
Mark was an avid runner for many years, running with the IFD Badge team, completing
marathons, including Boston and Chicago and running countless half marathons. When
Mark found time to get away, you would find him enjoying the ocean and beach, a passion
he and Nancy shared. In addition to his numerous accomplishments within the Fire
Service, he also served many years as a rescue diver. His dive master certification carried
beyond the professional aspect as he also enjoyed performing numerous scuba dives in the
Caribbean, including several with his daughter, Kylie. Mark was at great ease in the ocean
and took such joy out of seeing the beauty beneath the surface.
Attending his grandchildren’s events and spending time with them brought him so much
happiness. He loved to be there to support and cheer them on and see them doing
something that made them happy. Whether it was attending sporting events, plays, or
hunting trips, he would always make time to spend with them.
Mark never once complained about having cancer and if you asked him if he would have
done anything different in his career, he would say, “Not a thing. I love what I do.”
Mark will be missed dearly and his hard-working and humble spirit will be carried forward
by his relatives, children and grandchildren.
Preceded in death by his sister, Suzy Rapp Hunter.
Survived by his wife, Nancy (married in 1986); three children – Mark Rapp (Danielle), Greg
Rapp (Stephanie), Kylie (Rapp) Pfeiffer (Chris); seven grandchildren – Trevor Rapp (Sydney),
Hailey Rapp, Chandler Rapp, Brenden Rapp, Evelyn Rapp, Easton Rapp and Eleanor Rapp;
his mother, Nancy Rapp; his father, William Rapp; and brothers Dave Rapp (Julie) and Jeff
Flowers are appreciated, but consider making a donation to one of these organizations in
Mark’s honor: IFD Clothe-a-child, Indiana 911 Memorial; IndyHumane or a local non-profit
animal organization of your choosing; Little Red Door Cancer Agency.
Please join us for a calling Thursday, March 10th from 4-8 PM, Friday, March 11th 11-2 or
3-6 PM with the memorial service following at 7 PM. The funeral procession and full honors
grave site service will be held Saturday, March 12th at 11 AM. The calling and services will
be held at Crown Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery, 700 38th St, Indianapolis, IN 46208.
For those unable to join in-person, the Friday memorial service will be live streamed via the
Crown Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery Facebook page at 7 PM.
Wake following the ceremonies on Saturday at the Local IFD 416 Union Hall, 748
Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204.