With great sorrow, we announce the passing of Mark Chernoff who died two months short of his 50th birthday. Mark was all determination. He never failed to apply the best of himself to the task at hand, whether the task involved complex legal arguments or organizing camping equipment for a weekend away. He was also adventurous, had traveled extensively and had a vast vault of knowledge ranging from car mechanics to world affairs. But he was most sought-after at parties for his goofy jokes and unfailing conviction to just be himself.
Mark earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern California. After graduation from the University of Arizona Law School, Mark earned a master’s degree in public administration at Rutgers University. He then volunteered for the Peace Corps where he was assigned to the Republic of Moldova. In Moldova, he learned fluent Romanian, adequate Russian and organized the newly burgeoning free press to form an association to buy goods in bulk and share reporting resources. This is an organization that still exists today (APi – Asociatiei Presei Indepenedente).
In 1998, Mark returned to Arizona where he co-founded the law firm of LaVoy & Chernoff. Eventually, LaVoy & Chernoff merged with a larger firm. After a short stint, Mark opened the Chernoff Law Firm, which operated in two states. Mark was a lawyer you wanted on your side. He was well-informed, left no detail to chance and advocated strongly for his clients.
Mark married Sharon in 2006 and had two daughters, Natalie and Sophie. In all his accomplishments, he was most proud of his kids. His role as fierce protector of his family was only rivaled by his role as soft-hearted pushover. Mark was also an incredibly generous friend. He was always willing to volunteer his time and efforts whether it came in the form of legal advice or moving heavy boxes.
We will miss his gregarious personality, his creative intelligence, his skill for getting things done, his unfailing humor even in the face of insurmountable obstacles and his huge heart. Mark battled brain cancer with boundless courage and dignity.
He is survived by his bride Sharon, daughters Natalie (9) and Sophie (7), parents Earl and Lolly, and brother Michael (Kate). Mark’s funeral was held on Sept. 20, 2019, at Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach, California. Donations may be made in his honor to Tarbut V’Torah (tarbut.com/donate-now). JN