Mark V. Looper, RDI (1958 – 2017)
With great sadness, I report the passing of Mark Looper. He died Sunday, August 6 of complications following surgery. Mark joined the Institute (then the Institute of Store Planners) in 1996 through the New York Chapter. At that time Mark was a young architect working for Tiffany & Co. as group director of store design. He would later hold positions with Old Navy, director of store and fixture design, and with Polo Ralph Lauren as director of store life cycle planning. At the time of his passing, Mark was director of store design and construction at Payless ShoeSource. He was named to that position in January.
In 2006, Mark joined Collective Brands as director of store planning and design in Topeka, Kan., where he designed prototypes for Payless ShoeSource. In addition, he designed concepts for (then) sister brands Stride Rite, Sperry Top-Sider and Saucony and oversaw implementation. After the breakup of Collective Brands, Mark concentrated solely on Payless stores. He led a worldwide team through creativity, collaboration and empowerment. During his tenure with Payless, Mark adapted domestic prototypes for rollout in Central and South America as well as franchise concepts in more than a dozen other countries, which positioned Payless as a global leader.
Last year at Collaborate, Mark’s presentation traced the history of Payless and its future vision. His presentation was remarkable for the level of detail he shared with the audience, which was typical of Mark’s generous personality and give-back nature. He outlined retailer’s design process and its sourcing strategies with vendors. Mark’s many friends in the Institute describe how a once-professional acquaintanceship grew into long-term personal friendship. He shared his love of design with industry peers as a longtime member of design:retail magazine’s editorial advisory board.
Mark was born February 25, 1958 in Muskogee, Okla., to Charles and Billie Looper. He is survived by his loving husband, Joao Lacerda Jr., his mother Billie, his brothers, their spouses and children, and many, many friends. A celebration of his life was held August 9 in Lawrence, Kan. Contributions in Mark’s memory may be made to JDRF Kansas City Chapter. Donations can be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W 13th St, Lawrence, KS 66044. — Claudia Cerchiara, RDI, International President