DCTC Wood Finishers Honor Industry Legend

Students create wall sculpture to remember Alan “The Boss” Marriage

Working outside of class, 2007 graduates of the National Institute of Wood Finishing at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) completed a memorial to Alan Marriage, a renowned woodworker and sculptor from Mountain Home, Idaho.

A self-taught Webmaster with superb communication skills, Marriage found a way to bring together a global network of talented and informed craftsmen in the refinishing industry. In the spring of 1998, he founded the Professional Refinishers Group, better known to hundreds of woodworkers and furniture refinishers as “Groop.” As moderator of the Web-based discussion group, Marriage established a friendly and open environment where professionals in the industry could share their knowledge, experience, ideas, and expertise.

The forum flourished, leading Marriage to form a strong bond with Mitch Kohanek, the instructor at DCTC’s National Institute of Wood Finishing, the only certified wood finishing technology program in the U.S.

“Alan assembled the best and biggest resource of refinishing information in the world,” Kohanek said. “He considered Groop a well of knowledge, and he always said that the well was deep.”

A little more than five years after Groop began, Marriage perished in a car accident, leaving behind a legacy of wisdom and compassion that still echoes in the tight-knit community of furniture refinishers, restorers, and conservators.

Kohanek remembers Marriage as a true friend and mentor to himself, his students, and to the Wood Finishing Technology program at DCTC. “Alan made many wonderful friends,” he said. “One of his best is Mike Mascelli from New York. After Alan passed away, Mike filled in as Groop’s moderator until Alan’s son Austin was able to take over. From all of us in world of wood refinishing, Alan will be greatly missed.”

Crafted from fine woods and metal, the Alan Marriage Memorial is on display on the DCTC campus in the south hallway of the West Commons. The inscription reads:

Alan A. Marriage
Mountain Home, Idaho
Founder of the Professional Refinishers Group in May 1998

Friend to all in the world of refinishing, restoration and conservation.
Tireless architect of a dynamic worldwide network of men and women
sharing information using the technology of the Internet.
Mentor and Supporter to students of the DCTC Wood Finishing Technology program.

His spirit lives on in the community that he lovingly dubbed “Groop.”