Mark Laabs

Obituary of Mark Laabs

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Mark Joseph Laabs, 40, passed away on February 20, 2024 at his brother’s home in Durham, North Carolina. Throughout his all too short life, he was a brilliant champion for everything he believed in and deeply inspired those around him, touching countless hearts and minds globally.
Mark was raised in Memphis, Tennessee and became a year round swimmer at the age of 7 and earned the distinction of Eagle Scout by age 15. He was involved in Facing History and Ourselves, was Salutatorian of his high school graduating class and entered college with 60 Advanced Placement credit hours.
Mark attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University as a Robertson Scholar. He was active in Student Government, national Gold medal winning UNC Men’s Crew team, a member of the exclusive Order of the Golden Fleece and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a double major of International Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies.
Throughout his life, Mark served as a founder, partner, advisor and builder of a wide range of organizations that address critical social and environmental problems on five continents. Post-college he joined McKinsey & Company working in the US and UK, Mark then followed his passion for renewable energy through executive roles at Climate Bridge in London and Shangohai followed by the COO role at Soligent in Northern California.
In 2013 he co-founded Faro Energy in Brazil and in 2016 co-founded Modern Energy, a diversified clean energy company that launches, scales and operates energy transition businesses to help the world reach a net-zero carbon economy. Shortly after his cancer diagnosis, Mark founded the Rare Cancer Research Foundation (RCRF) to accelerate innovation in cancer research through the creation of fiercely patient-centric programs and shared infrastructure for all rare cancer patients and communities. He also served on a number of non-profit boards including Advanced Energy United, Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability and Robertson Scholars Leadership Program. Mark was an avid traveler, visiting at least 77 countries during his short life.
Mark survived uveal melanoma for 12 years, fighting through a metastatic recurrence in 2020. Mark assembled his “brain trust” dream team including renowned physicians from MD Anderson, Mass General, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Weill Cornell, Northwell, Duke, UNC, UVA and UCSD to guide him in pursuing potential therapeutic options. His family is very grateful to all who embraced Mark’s fighting spirit & understood his brilliance and passion not only to secure a positive outcome for himself, but also for current and future cancer patients across the world.
Mark is survived by his husband, Sobral Guerra, his parents, Meta & Albert Laabs, his brother Keith (Denise), 2 nephews, Tucker Joseph Laabs & Cooper Jude Laabs, and his aunt Barbara (Dave) Van Hare.
The world has lost an exceptional individual – an extraordinary leader, visionary, advocate, mentor, and friend. For those who had the privilege of knowing Mark, his absence leaves an immeasurable void. May all he touched find comfort in the lasting light of Mark's vision for a significantly better future for cancer patients through the work at the Rare Cancer Research Foundation and to provide affordable, reliable, sustainable energy for all through the work at Modern Energy.
A Celebration of Life event will be held at a future date.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Rare Cancer Research Foundation at who will utilize those funds towards achieving Mark’s vision and promise for a better future for those diagnosed with cancer.

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