Mark Edward Eaton, 64, of Park City, Utah; beloved husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, friend, coach, and teammate; passed away on May 28, 2021 in Park City, Utah. He was born January 24, 1957 to Budd Edward and Dolores Pansegrau Eaton in Inglewood, California.
Mark had a personality and stature that were larger-than-life. He was a genuine, humble, and gentle man who had a zest for living life to the fullest. He had the incredible ability to make every person he met feel important, special, seen, and heard. Mark left his Mark on the hearts and minds of all who had the joy of being in his presence, listening to him speak, or watching him on the basketball court.
Mark was devoted to his family. Time with his wife, children, and grandkids was his number one priority and joy. As a dad, or Pops as we called him, he was silly (he loved puns), wise, and most of all, unconditionally loving, and supportive.
He was a kid at heart who loved parades, fireworks, puppies, and popsicles.
Mark had the ability to be a friend to thousands, close friend to many, and maintained lifelong friendships with his grade school buddies. He never met a person he didn’t like or find interesting. As someone with a unique life story himself, he took a strong interest in other people’s life tales. His library was filled with biographies and autobiographies, and his favorite stories were those he learned from talking to the people he met.
He loved the great outdoors, physical fitness, and animals. Depending on the season, he could be found skiing at Deer Valley, fishing, riding his Clydesdale Big Tim, going to Pilates, biking to Park City Coffee Roasters for coffee and conversation, or traveling with his lovely wife Teri.
Mark had a successful career as an award-winning motivational speaker, entrepreneur, best-selling author of The Four Commitments of a Winning Team, business consultant and coach, radio and television host, and managing partner of two award-winning restaurants; Tuscany and Franck’s in Holladay, Utah.
His speech, The Four Commitments of a Winning Team, earned him the CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation. He was featured as a team-building expert in several esteemed print and online publications.
In Mark’s 12 seasons with the Utah Jazz, he led the NBA in blocked shots for 4 of those seasons, was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team 5 times, was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2 times, and still holds 2 NBA records—most blocks in a single season (456) and career average blocked shots per game (3.5).
From an early age, Mark was eager to learn, grow, and serve humanity in impactful ways. He helped youth around the world and was the founder and chairman of the Mark Eaton Standing Tall for Youth Foundation, which provided sports and outdoor opportunities for at-risk children. He spent 30 years supporting the Jazz Bear Christmas Shop to provide Christmas for thousands of under-privileged children. Through his Eaton Foundation he held countless softball, baseball, and basketball youth camps and provided numerous scholarships to trade school attendees. He was a supporter of the Anasazi Foundation. He was a former president and board member of the Legends of Basketball or NBAPR, which supports the needs of retired NBA players.
His television and radio experience included eight years as host of Jazz Tonight on KJZZ-TV, host of Mark Eaton Outdoors on The Outdoor Channel, and three years as host of Sports Health Today, an internationally syndicated radio show. He attended Cypress College and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Mark is survived by his beloved wife, Teri; children, Doug Eaton, Nicholas Eaton, Whitnee Nixon (Shawn), Haylee Hunter, Courtney Hunter, and Shelbey Hunter; his grandchildren, Nora and Liam Nixon; father, Budd Eaton (Wendy) and sisters, Cheryl Sgroi (Paul) and Denise Pace (Mike) and his nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his mother Dolores Eaton and nephew Andrew Sgroi.
His life will be celebrated privately with family at this time. A public memorial has not been determined.
Life Story Info
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Mark. We hired him as a speaker for the Arkansas Bankers Association meeting in Branson in August 2018. He filled in for a speaker who had cancelled a few weeks prior, and what a delight it was to have him! He spent hours taking photos with our attendees, and was just so gracious and friendly. He was a joy to work with. We had banks who hired him to come in and work with their teams after that meeting. He truly touched everyone with his story and big personality. I pray that you all find peace in your memories of your loved one, and know that he touched people near and far.
I grew up watching Mark play for the Jazz. I have many fond memories of sitting with my grandparents and cheering after one of his many blocks. While I never met him in person I always enjoyed watching him play as well as his commentary. He is and always will be a beloved member of the Utah community. While we mourn his loss we are also grateful for having been blessed by having him as part of our community. My deepest condolences to his family.
I've know Mark since Sunday school at our church, Westminster Lutheran at that time. It is now called Hope Lutheran. He was in my conformation class at church. We play high school water polo against each other. Mark from Westminster High School and me from Marina High School. He was a goalie and he fill the goal. Mark played basketball at Westminster High School and was third string on his basketball team. He was first string varsity on his water polo team. After high school we both went together to Arizona Automotive Institute and shared an apartment during that time. Mark has been a long time friend of mine and I will miss him deeply.
We had the privilege of meeting Mark on several occasions; Jazz charitable benefit fundraisers and the Doug Miller tribute dinner. He truly was a gentleman’s gentleman. We will remember him as someone that cared deeply for everyone. A rare quality. Thank you for the memories. God Bless his family in this time of loss.
Respectfully, Ruth & Carroll Dolson