Howard Turetsky, professor of business and accounting, whose struggle with stomach cancer drew an outpouring of support from family and friends on Facebook, died Tuesday.
A memorial service for him will be held today at 3 p.m. in the Spartan Memorial.
Turetsky’s Facebook page has been flooded with thoughts and prayers ever since his daughter-in-law, Maitri, posted a status update on his page Sunday telling everyone that Howard was in the hospital “peaceful and pain free” and that “he most likely only has a few hours left in this world.”
She announced his worsening condition on Facebook to notify loved ones and colleagues.
“He has had a good life with many people that love him," Maitri wrote. "He loved being a professor, loved his students and appreciated his friendships with his colleagues. Even in these last days of his life he has been talking about his students and worrying over their futures. A professor through and through.”
Upon hearing the sad news of Howard’s passing, students, past and present, posted their thoughts, prayers and appreciation of the professor on his Facebook.
“I am glad that I got the opportunity to meet you, Professor Turetsky,” Angelina Macedo wrote. "You have definitely made an everlasting impression in my life. I will never forget you.”
Even students who didn’t take a class with Turetsky were touched by his kindness.
“I never took any class with you, but you have influenced me with something way more important than any classes,” Christina Yuankun Zhang wrote. “You are such a great guy with a great heart…"
Turetsky was heavily involved in different accounting programs at SJSU such as the Master of Science in the accountancy program, Beta Alpha Psi and the Accounting Advisory Council.
Turetsky also helped set up the T. Kyle Williams Memorial Scholarship Award at SJSU, which was set up after the death of two accounting students on May 10, 2011 in the 10th Street garage.
According to the plaque in the business tower, the award is presented to those individuals who exemplify Williams' spirit.
Howard was also a part of the SJSU Salzburg Program
According to Diane Guerrazzi, assistant professor of journalism and a
Salzburg fellow who traveled with Turetsky in 2011, the program sends students (scholars) and faculty (fellows) from SJSU to Salzburg, Austria, “to meet with people from all over the world from different campuses and discuss globalizing SJSU.”
Turetsky became a fellow of the Salzburg program in 2011 and William Reckmeyer, the chair of the program and professor of leadership and systems at SJSU, said he was impressed by Turetsky for several reasons.
“I was impressed notably by his commitment to students, his love for his home field of accounting, and his interest in developing a more global emphasis in his teaching and advising,” Reckmeyer said. “I also remember how he repeatedly—and passionately—helped educate the rest of us in Salzburg about the role and importance of accounting in global citizenship, especially at the institutional level. This became one of the little themes for the week, because Howard saw connections that never occurred to the rest of us about his field.”
Guerazzi said she recalled his sense of humor during their time in Salzburg.
“… he wasn’t just a comedian, he really cared about people," Guerazzi said. "He would find out about you by asking you questions and try to understand your background. He was interested in people and people were interested in him. He was a personable, honest, sincere and brilliant man.”
Turetsky was born in New York City on Dec. 10, 1946 and has been a professor at SJSU since 2000.
Before teaching at SJSU, Howard was a professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield and Saint Mary’s College of California.
He received his B.S. in 1989 at the State University of New York at Binghamton, his M.A. at Nova Southeastern University and his Ph.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Howard is survived by his son Todd, daughter-in-law Maitri, granddaughters Jesse and Rachael, father Kolman, brother Bruce, sister-in-law Nancy, nephew Daniel and niece Emma and partner Cecily Fung.
"I hadn't realized how involved he was with the student accounting club at SJSU, but it was very clear that he affected a lot of students very powerfully to have elicited such an outpouring of heartfelt comments," Reckmeyer said. "Based on that alone, Howard was obviously an impressive professor and someone who will be really missed on campus — even by those who have known for a relatively short time."