Mark John Jurcisin, a professor of music composition and theory at Mercer County Community College, died March 7 in his longtime home of Plainsboro. He was 64.
Born in Passaic to John and Betty Jurcisin, he grew up in Wayne. His formative years in Wayne were spent making memories alongside his lifelong friends John Capella, Kevin Murphy, Mark Spina, and Bill Merritt. For decades, Mark shared stories of those times with his children.
While initially looking to pursue a career in technology, Mark ultimately chose to nurture his passion for music, going on to eventually earn a doctorate in musical arts (a degree that he lovingly referred to as his “Doesn’t Mean Anything” degree). Following this achievement, Mark spent a long and fulfilling career as a professor at Mercer County Community College, where he taught music theory, composition, and musicianship. He left his impact not only through his contribution to the Mercer County Community College jazz program, but also through his meaningful and long-lasting relationships with both colleagues and students. While he could be tough in the classroom, his devotion to his students’ education, as well as his passion for the music itself, were invaluable hallmarks of the college’s music program.
Mark was predeceased by his father, John Jurcisin, and his nephew, Jacob Brodsky.
He lived an incredibly quiet but overwhelmingly rich life, filled with individuals who thought the world of him. His loved ones said that to know Mark deeply was to absolutely adore him. Those who had the privilege of being prominent fixtures in his life included his best friend Bill Merrit, with whom he would celebrate any and every occasion with lemon drops, dancing to Peggy Lee’s “Lover”, and laughter; his mother, Betty Jurcisin, his sister Lynn Brodsky, niece Hannah, and nephew Ben, with whom he would enjoy red wine, Jarts, and game nights–the latter of which evolved into a mandatory part of every family gathering; and his two children Olivia and Christopher Jurcisin, who held the honor of growing up with a father who was unequivocally doting, hilarious, understanding, and deeply involved.
Mark filled his life doing things that brought him joy–frequently hiking with his brother-in-law and longtime friend, Greg Bonsignore, involuntarily collecting wine, and spending uninterrupted quality time with his loved ones. His friends and loved ones will remember him as the funniest person in the room.