April 21, 2019

Mark Turenshine, NBA star, Life Alert general manager, 71

Mark Turenshine, a former NBA star who also was one of Israel’s top basketball players, died on Feb. 26.  He was 71.

A resident of Canoga Park, Turenshine was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1944. He began his athletic career at Sheepshead Bay High School, which inducted him into its hall of fame four years ago.

In 1967-68, Turenshine played alongside Wilt Chamberlain on the Philadelphia 76ers. In 1968, he made aliyah and joined the Israeli professional basketball team Hapoel Tel Aviv, where he remained until 1979. He also was a member of Israel’s national team, which participated in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics.   

Turenshine returned to the U.S. and became a successful businessman, rising to the position of general manager of the personal emergency services company Life Alert, where he was employed for the last 35 years.

Turenshine’s friend since 1974 and longtime Life Alert colleague Rami Gilboa of Encino eulogized the former athlete, calling him “one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, who knew everything about sports, politics and economics.” Gilboa added,  “At 6-feet, 5-inches, he was a big guy, and his heart was even bigger.”

Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino continued the theme, saying, “Mark lived big and loved big.”

Turenshine is survived by Cathy, his wife of nearly 30 years; their daughters Natalie and Daniella; son-in-law Jake; and his sister Harriet Gribben.

Funeral services and burial took place on March 1 at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Simi Valley.